Commentary: Sustainability takes firm root

21 January 2013 12:00  [Source: ICB]

Chemical producers, both large and small, are increasingly building sustainability into their operations. Many are demanding information from their suppliers on the environmental impacts of their products and operations, and an increasing number are working with suppliers and customers to develop sustainable products and processes.

This activity has accelerated over the past three years, as shown by the latest reader research on ­sustainability and green chemistry, carried out by ICIS in association with US bio-based technology ­developer Genomatica.

An analysis of the survey findings can be found on page 27 of this issue of ICIS Chemical Business. The full set of results can be viewed at

One key finding of the survey is that sustainability is no longer viewed as needing to justify itself in terms of a price premium on green products - rather it is seen as a way to cut costs, in terms of reduced energy and raw materials consumption and through lower environmental impact and better safety performance. Also seen as vital is that bio-based chemicals can be substituted for petrochemical-derived ones without adjusting product formulation or process equipment. It's a tall order, but one which technology developers such as Genomatica are addressing.

By: Joseph Chang
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