Downstream needs must drive chemical sector innovation – consultant

25 May 2012 11:40  [Source: ICIS news]

HELSINKI (ICIS)--The chemical industry has struggled with innovation and must be driven by the needs of downstream industries to improve, chemicals consultant Wim Jetten said on Friday.

Speaking at the fourth Helsinki Chemicals Forum, Jetten said innovation has been a difficult area for chemical companies to implement alone, and firms continue to need partners to drive innovation – despite the constraints of working with others.

“It’s difficult for chemical companies to drive innovation because working with downstream partners can make it a time-intensive process,” said Jetten.

He added that for the industry to effectively improve innovation, sufficient time must be available for companies to go through the regulation process.

“However, the chemical industry has successfully contributed to innovation even with regulatory requirements,” he added.

Jetten said the chemical industry is an “enabling industry”, and downstream industries are key to innovation in the sector.

The consultant added that regulation can also act as a “scarcity driver” for innovation and limit the number of choices for developing products – hampering the release of new products and processes.

He added that regulation and innovation need to work in sync to keep innovation in the market moving forward.

“There are other important drivers of innovation such as the difference between regulation and company policy. Where regulation typically comes after the innovation process, it requires policy to drive innovation and implementation [of a product],” said Jetten.

If growth and innovation stimulates policy – and chemical innovation is driven by the needs of downstream industries, along with competitiveness and sustainability – innovation can be achieved and can even meet or expand regulatory expectations, Jetten added.

The Helsinki Chemicals Forum is being taking place on 24–25 May.

By: Leigh Stringer
+44 208 652 3214

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