A recent report from Deloitte Consulting LLP has put a spotlight on two forces shaping materials innovation: sustainability and consumer preferences.
"Innovation may be once again changing the game in the chemicals industry," officials with Deloitte said in the report, which then identified "a heightened focus on sustainability" and "changing customer preferences."
They added that this potential transformation "is taking place amid historic pressure on the industry. … Some companies are pursuing [research and development] and investments against short timelines … [and] these capital expenditure decisions, in some cases, must be made even before supply chains for new feedstocks have been secured."
In a recent interview with Plastics News, David Yankovitz, a principal and U.S. chemicals market leader with Deloitte, said that sustainability programs are faced with both challenges and opportunities, including finding ways to scale up to commercial production levels.
"Feedstocks are front and center, whether it's recycled or bio-based," Yankovitz said. "A lot of strategy revolves around feedstocks."
Specialist executive Robert Kumpf added that the scale of various sustainability approaches — including chemical recycling and depolymerization — "isn't at the scale of polymer production."