The specialty chemicals industry is present in many major sectors across the global economy—automotive, aeronautics, electronics, and more—making it acutely positioned to have a significant sustainability impact.
Organizations within the European sector are already playing a crucial role in EU sustainability efforts, collaborating on policy decisions, and supporting the EU framework for specialty chemicals. But further focus is needed in the EU and across the globe to meet the urgency around protecting human and planetary health.
Industry-wide sustainability commitments and efforts are in place for the top players within the specialty chemicals industry and have made significant progress in their ongoing reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Progress can still be made particularly for the rest of the market with a stronger focus on green feedstock, clean thermal energy, sustainable sourcing and circular economy initiatives, and product innovation.
Production processes rely on carbon-based feedstock which cannot be easily replaced even if energy consumption is switched to renewable sources.
With supply and value chains increasing in complexity and globalization, and specialty chemicals playing such a key role in many other economic sectors, organizations adopting bold sustainability programs can have an even greater global impact.
Companies are faced with increasing carbon prices, key stakeholder pressure and complexity in an inherently energy-intensive industry. Clean industry transition requires a fundamental shift towards a strategic adoption of emerging technologies, new collaborative processes and digital enablers. The scale and complexity of the infrastructure are so significant that the sector usually needs a trusted partner to implement the transformation.
Many plants in the specialty chemical industry are run on thermal rather than electric energy creating substantial opportunities to decarbonize these thermal needs. The panel of clean solutions is more limited than for decarbonizing power but green thermal solutions exist.
Renewable feedstocks are bound to gradually replace sources of fossil origin (oil, gas and coal), both as fuel and as raw materials for the chemical industry.
The specialty chemicals industry is made up of an array of market-oriented and functional products that can benefit from sustainable sourcing practices and a circular mindset. This includes a high volume of plastic waste, which is a key contributor to scope 1 and 2 emissions.
Finding innovative ways to lessen the environmental impact of products can benefit the entire supply chain. Chemicals with a low-carbon footprint—green chemicals—are a key area for growth in the specialty chemicals industry.
Talk to our experts about the unique decarbonization needs of the specialty chemical industry.