GPCA ‘11: ExxonMobil says sustainability awareness on the rise

14 December 2011 09:43  [Source: ICIS news]

DUBAI (ICIS)--Sustainability awareness is on the rise, ExxonMobil president Stephen Pryor said on Wednesday, calling on the industry to increasingly focus on improving the carbon footprint of its products.

“Sustainability may sound like a buzzword, but it is a driving force of the chemical industry,” Pryor said during a speech at the sixth annual GPCA (Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association) conference.

Energy sources will become less carbon intensive in the coming years, he said, adding that by 2040 fuel economy in new cars will be 75% better than it is today.

He cited Apple and Walmart among the companies downstream that are promoting the sustainability of the products they make and sell.

Pryor said the petrochemical industry can remain competitive while improving sustainability, but added that investments in technology would be needed.

ExxonMobil has focused on the sustainability of its entire commodity portfolio, he said, citing improvements in polyethylene (PE) that have allowed for the production of lighter and thinner bags downstream.

The improvements in PE have allowed the production of bags thinner by 2%/year for 20 years, he said.

“This is a sustainability story…. the lighter bags have helped reduce shipping costs”.

ExxonMobil is meeting this responsibility, he told delegates, adding that its sites are held accountable for multi-year energy consumption and emissions objectives.

Pryor warned that the failure to pursue a more sustainable path would invite increased regulation that could affect the petrochemical industry.

He also said customers are interested in sustainable products.

The company focuses down the chain and consumers look up the chain to see how the products they are buying are being made, Pryor said.

It is a two-way street, he added.

“Sustainability is a good business,” Pryor said.

By: William Lemos
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