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DuPont urges customers to consider sustainability

By: Frank Esposito

April 4, 2012

ORLANDO, FLA. (April 4, 7:10 p.m. ET) — DuPont Co. (Booth 35013) is broadening its approach to sustainability by encouraging its customers to look beyond their material use.

“The first step is to get your house in order,” global sustainability director Shanna Moore said in an interview at NPE2012. Moore was going to deliver a paper on the topic at the ANTEC technical conference during the event.

“You can look at your energy usage, emissions, water and waste,” she said. “These are simple things any company can do.”

Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont – a global leader in engineering resins and related products – “is taking a holistic view” of sustainability, including looking at ways to reduce carbon footprints at their own facilities and those of their customers. Internally, DuPont is recycling its own Fusebond-brand ethylene copolymers into products such as pipes and bottles.

The firm’s Building Innovations unit also has completely eliminated its landfill waste. DuPont also has found success with its Biomax Strong-brand additive, which improves processing of PLA bioplastics and reduces energy use by 30 percent.

Next, the firm will work more closely with its customers.

Some of our customers are very sophisticated when it comes to sustainability,” Moore said. “Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Coca-Cola all do excellent jobs. But we also have some customers who don’t know the basics and don’t know where to start.”

In some cases, Moore said this lack of a sustainability program might be a function of company size. “We’ve been tracking our own data for years, but others might not have the resources to do so,” she said.

DuPont also recently endorsed a recent presidential directive and proposed legislation that supports the growth of biobased products made from agricultural ingredients as good for the U.S. economy and the environment.

DuPont’s BioPreferred-certified products include Susterra Propanediol, which is certified 100-percent Biobased by USDA. This product is a specialty glycol that offers a non-petroleum alternative for products such as polyurethanes and aviation de-icing fluids. DuPont’s biobased products also include DuPont Hytrel RS Thermoplastic Polyester Elastomer, a renewably sourced polyol used to make hoses and tubing for automotive and industrial uses.

The firm’s Performance Materials unit – including nylon and other engineering resins – saw sales grow 8 percent to $6.8 billion in 2011. Based on sales, Performance Materials ranked third among DuPont’s eight operating units in 2011, bringing in about 18 percent of sales.