November 8 was the blog’s one year anniversary and I am glad to say that within a year, the blog has been able to generate almost 500 posts (460 right now and counting) and almost 100 comments (1 million++ if you count junk comments)!
According to the higher beings who track the blog’s progress, the number of hits the blog had this year jumped from 155 total visits in January to 2,308 in October. The blog had total page views of 4,105 and total unique users of 2,064 last month compared to the meager 286 page views and 119 unique users in January.
Throughout the year of tracking and monitoring the chemical industry’s movements towards sustainability, corporate responsibility, environmental policies and adopting green principles, here are some of the blog’s highlights that might be of interest:
- A big chunk of the chemical industry’s R&D focus seems to be in alternative energy and clean technology such as second generation biofuels, photovoltaics (for solar), fuel cell (hybrids), and plastics (for more fuel-efficient automotives).
- R&D in carbon capture, storage and reuse is also a big focus for the chemical industry as carbon regulation is becoming to be a worldwide issue.
- The use of biotechnology to develop chemicals that are alternative to petroleum-based products continues to expand.
- Development of recycled plastics in industrial applications and bio-based plastics in consumer applications is also growing.
- Phase-out of chemicals such as PVC, phthalates, BPA, certain flame retardants, etc., that are perceived to be harmful to health and environment will intensify in the consumer products market worldwide.
- Improvement of more cost-efficient chemical processing continues such as less use of solvents and other chemical intermediates, and more energy and fuel-efficient processing. Reduction of carbon emission in chemical processing was also highlighted in several corporate sustainability reports this year.
- Chemical companies know and acknowledged that chemical regulations will continue to tighten. While their industries defend their products, companies at the same time are developing alternative chemicals that will replace those that are under regulatory scrutiny.
- Natural-based chemicals and products continue to become more popular especially in consumer markets.
- More research cooperation between traditional chemical companies, start-up ventures and R&D organizations (government, universities, chemical R&D organizations).
Sustainability is becoming a profitable venture for companies. There are some aspects to it, especially when it comes to mandatory regulations, that is a thorn on the chemical industry’s backside. Overall, however, it is a trend that seems to be helping companies not only in reducing operational costs but it is becoming a new source of profits and most of all it is enhancing the image of chemical companies.