The bio-based industry is still impacted by many uncertainties across the value chain affecting both the consumer and the producer. Whilst many chemicals can be detected as either fossil feedstock or bio-based raw materials, it is difficult to verify how much of each has been used. One new technology hoping to change this is an online tool which can track the use and the amount of bio-based raw materials. It will be the first of its kind to apply e-certification to track bio-based content along the value chain. Currently in its pilot stage, the idea has been formed by AkzoNobel, ABT and EY to encourage more transparent, sustainable chemistry. This could allow producers and consumers to choose more sustainable products helping to drive the circular economy forwards.
AkzoNobel ( @AkzoNobel ) is a Dutch chemical company specialising in the commercialisation of bio-based polymers, and ABT are the producers of Epicerol which will be the first chemical to be tracked throughout the supply chain experiment. EY’s ( @EYnews ) unique partnership with the two bio-based companies fulfils their long term goals to create sustainable growth. “The tool works like a virtual marketplace for the industry,” said Roel Drost, Senior Manager Climate Change & Sustainability at EY. “Companies can sign up and exchange different types of bio-based material certificates, ranging from base ingredients to finished products. This has enabled us to turn the complexity of the chemical industry into an easy and cost-effective tool for bio-based products. Hence, we want to quickly make it available to other supply chains to get value across the industry.”
Bio-based raw materials are certified at the start of the supply chain. Companies can then transfer these via an online platform, which automatically keeps track of the bio-based content of any products made from them. This approach negates the need for separate, external certification further down the supply chain, giving producers quick insight into the bio-based content of their products.
“Chemicals are the building blocks of essential products in our everyday lives,” explained Peter Nieuwenhuizen, RD&I Director of Specialty Chemicals at AkzoNobel. “Yet despite the growing attention for sustainability, we still cannot easily track bio-based raw materials. This innovative approach will enable us to further pursue our goal of making the chemical industry more sustainable.”
The bio-based epichlorohydrin (ECH) is produced by ABT and is already used in AkzoNobel’s sustainable epoxy coatings. ABT produces Epicerol is based on natural, renewable glycerine and is the most sustainable ECH on the market.
“This application will increase transparency and encourage companies to use more sustainable raw materials,” said Thibaud Caulier, Business Manager at ABT. “Customers can demonstrate a positive impact by monitoring their consumption of Epicerol, showing that they are using the most sustainable epichlorohydrin on the market.”
Following the pilot phase, the partners are looking to expand the tool to other chemicals, such as dimethylether, which is used as a propellant in deodorant cans. The system provides sufficient flexibility so that it can be used by the industry across a wide range of products. Partners involved believe this platform provides a robust and reliable answer to certification and assurance for bio-based content, as it enables transparency and reliability across the value chain by means of a robust audit trail.
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