“This survey provides hard data to confirm the transition toward greater sustainability in the mainstream chemical industry.”
Bio-engineering leaders Genomatica have announced the results of a major survey, the fourth since 2009, on sustainability issues in the mainstream chemical industry. Conducted together with ICIS it revealed substantial advances for sustainability and renewable chemicals in general, for chemical producers, users (companies making products from basic and intermediate chemicals) and distributors. The headline is positive, producers, users and distributors of chemicals are all taking an increasingly active interest and role in the introduction of bio-based materials made from renewable feedstocks, driven by consumer demands. The primary challenges to its further growth relate to setting up new supply chains and customer adoption the survey says.
“This survey provides hard data to confirm the transition toward greater sustainability in the mainstream chemical industry,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. “Chemical producers and downstream firms are increasingly seeing that biotech can deliver, with commercial-scale plants and solid economics. We will continue to push out innovations and deliver technologies to make this transition even more advantageous.”
Producers report that 65% of their customers are interested in sustainably-produced chemicals And 63% report a higher level of interest from their customers than three years ago; only 36% responded this way to a similar question in the 2014 survey. This near-doubling of increasing interest includes a sizable 17% showing much greater
That interest is reflected in producer and user attitudes and plans:
- 87% of producers believe it’s important to be a leader in sustainable chemicals, with 46% rating it very important
- 61% of producers and 47% of users are highly committed to offering or using sustainable chemicals
- They are increasingly offering and planning to offer sustainable chemicals, with almost four out of five producers expecting to offer more sustainable chemicals within the next few years
- ·They are adopting a multi-pronged strategy on renewables, with 32% of producers and 22% of users already investing in R&D, and large numbers committed to, using or planning to use renewables
Additionally, more than half of all producers now believe there is long-term economic advantage in switching some of their feedstocks to renewables (54% in 2017 compared to 43% in 2014); an additional 28% aren’t sure yet.
For the first time, we asked respondents their opinions about long-term adoption of renewables, as a type of “Renewables Confidence Index. - A remarkable 71% of mainstream chemical industry respondents believe renewable chemicals will be in common use in five years
As with previous surveys, respondents were asked to list the companies, unprompted, that they think of as technology leaders for sustainable chemicals and as producers. Genomatica ( @Genomatica ) was rated #1, with Novozymes and BASF taking the other podium positions.
“This latest survey clearly shows that the mainstream chemical industry is continuing to learn, plan and act with regards to sustainability,” said John Baker, ICIS global editor and organizer of the survey. “We saw notable indicators on numerous topics, reflecting greater understanding of biotech’s potential role.”
Read the full report here.
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