InterviewMore R&D for chems to beat global warming - Rhodia CEO

02 October 2009 16:43  [Source: ICIS news]

By Lucy Craymer

LISBON (ICIS news)--More money must be spent on the research and development of carbon dioxide (CO2) as a feedstock if the chemical industry wants to help reduce global warming, Rhodia’s CEO Jean-Pierre Clamadieu said on Friday.

“We are far from having a solution [on how to use the gas as a raw material] and we need to increase the amount of resources being used to find it,” Clamadieu said on the sidelines of the Global Chemical Industry European Convention.

He added that companies and governments should be investing in research and development in this area.

“It is hard to say what is the right level of research and development,” he said.

But either way Clamadieu is convinced that the chemical industry is part of the solution to issues relating to sustainability.

“I believe we are part of the solution but I think we need to believe we are part of the solution,” he said.

Clamadieu said French specialty chemicals firm Rhodia was one of the first to recognise this and as a result now has the knowledge to make money from it.

“30% of Rhodia’s products are linked to sustainable developments and I see this percentage increasing,” he said.

And even with the economic downturn putting pressure on companies, Clamadieu said he did not think this would result in chemical companies pulling back from sustainable policies.

He argued that companies like his had spent the last five years pushing policies of sustainability and if this stopped executives and staff would ask questions.

Clamadieu pointed out that often plants which emited less CO2 were also those that were more efficient, with lower energy and raw material requirements and therefore were attractive to companies.

With the idea of sustainability becoming more appealing to end users, companies needed to be working this into their strategy, he added, before saying he believed that those with a greener profile would be the ones who would benefit as the economy began to recover.

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By: Lucy Craymer
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