Clearwater Beach, Fla. — Plastics and chemicals firms are looking for ways to be sustainable while growing their businesses.
"Everyone wants to achieve sustainability goals and lower emissions," David Yankovitz said March 1 at the Plastics News Executive Forum in Clearwater Beach. "They're trying to figure out what part of the ecosystem they can control and what they can do to act on it."
Yankovitz is a principal and U.S. chemicals market leader with consulting firm Deloitte Consulting LLP. He was joined at the event by Deloitte specialist executive Robert Kumpf.
"Chemicals are on the pathway to decarbonize and reduce dependence on fossil fuels," Yankovitz said. "They're critical to build a sustainable economy and reduce carbon while fueling growth."
Kumpf cited market data that showed that consumer goods were the biggest end market for sustainable chemical solutions, with 31 percent of the market. Transportation was the second largest end market for those products at 21 percent, followed by construction at 15 percent.
"Suppliers need sustainable products and solutions in their portfolio," said Kumpf, whose industry experience includes more than 20 years with Bayer MaterialScience, now Covestro. "Sustainability is already affecting material selection."
He added that customers are looking at total emissions, recycling rates and how materials fit into the entire ecosystem. For example, in comparing polypropylene vs. polyurethane for rigid construction and insulation, PU performs better but under-performs in sustainability. As a result, suppliers have introduced new lower carbon PU grades and circular PP grades.
Kumpf also said that bio-based materials "are playing an increasing role" in sustainability and that, in some cases, they can be "the best fit" in engineering materials.