Last week’s UN Conference confirmed that curbs on the production of virgin plastics are clearly on the way. Plastics companies have the technology and expertise needed to make advanced recycling of plastics a major success. They now need to accelerate their commitment if they want to remain a growth industry for the future.
Chemicals and the Economy
Plastics recycling is set to become a major new industry, based on the need to use renewable carbon. As the Nova Institute has shown, there is scope to expand production by 15x by 2050. And so if plastics companies don’t get to work now, new entrants will quickly emerge to replace them.
I worked for many years at a world-leading chemical company, ICI. But sadly, it lost its way as senior management began to focus more on financial metrics than market developments. In 2007, it disappeared. Today, other companies including the once-mighty ExxonMobil risk making similar mistakes: EM was the world’s most valuable company just 9 years ago It […]
Plastics producers have had a great run over the past 60 years, as demand took off for their products. But now globalisation is being replaced by sustainability. Sadly, therefore, they risk being left with an out-of-date business model, and falling revenues. Upstream, refinery closures are gathering pace as electric vehicle sales accelerate Downstream, brand owners […]
150 businesses representing over 20% of the global plastic packaging market have now agreed to start building a circular economy for plastics with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. As a first step, Coca-Cola has revealed that it produced 3MT of plastic packaging in 2017 – equivalent to 200k bottles/minute, around 20% of the 500bn PET bottles used every […]
Sadly, my July forecast that US-China tariffs could lead to a global polyethylene price war seems to be coming true. As I have argued since March 2014 (US boom is a dangerous game), it was always going to be difficult for US producers to sell their vastly increased output. The expansions were of course delayed […]
The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. Similarly, coal is being left in the ground because we no longer need it any more. And the same is happening to oil, as Saudi Arabia recognised last year in its Vision 2030: “Within 20 years, we will be an economy that doesn’t depend mainly […]
Wall Street’s post-election rally suggests that many investors currently have the wrong idea about Donald Trump. They have decided he is a new Ronald Reagan, with policies that will deliver a major bull market. But those promoting this narrative have forgotten their history. Both men certainly share a link with the entertainment industry. But Reagan […]
The unseen costs of the proposed Dow-DuPont merger are certain to be much larger than those we can currently describe. Both companies will effectively be more reactive to external developments, rather than pro-active, due to the internal focus that will be required to develop and implement the merger and divestment processes. This cost could well […]
All the evidence suggests that most mergers fail to deliver the promised value. So those who propose them, especially when they involve such critical companies for the US and global economy as Dow Chemical and DuPont, must expect some hard questions to be asked. Here are my 5 top questions in logical order – Why?, […]