GPCA '18: Circular economy could shape future of chems industry - Dow CEO

Source: ICIS News

2018/11/27

DUBAI (ICIS)--The circular economy is a key part of the sustainability discussion, and has the potential to shape the future of the chemicals industry as much as any other trend, the CEO of US chemical major Dow Chemical said on Tuesday.

“The fourth industrial revolution, digitalisation, continued merger and acquisition activity, are all converging at the same time as one of the big trends – a trend that is so big and has a lot of potential in creating a lot of winners and possibly a few losers,” said Jim Fitterling.

Dow's CEO was speaking to delegates at the 13th Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) Annual Forum.

The circular economy model typically refers to the optimisation of the consumption of finite resources, maximisation of product use, and the recovery of byproducts and waste.

“The circular economy is part of the greater sustainability discussion [that] will be shaping our future as much as any other,” Fitterling said.

“We could stick our heads in the sand and refuse to admit that we are part of the problem. Ignoring the environmental impact certainly won’t make it go away."

The CEO added that the chemicals industry would not like "more and more restrictive regulations", adding that policies put in place or being debated regarding plastics may not be adequate.

"What we have seen with the plastics debate, not all those will be sound policies or sound regulations,” said Fitterling, pictured.

However, he went on to say that the chemicals industry could be part of the solution to achieve a more sustainable economy.

“At the end of the day, that's the only way … Who else but this innovative, science-based industry knows how to craft solutions?" said Fitterling.

"And with our new digital tools, we are in a better position than any other industry to collaborate, cooperate and invent new products to make the world a better place to live, grow and prosper."

The GPCA Annual Forum runs on 26-28 November in Dubai.

Picture sources: REX/Shutterstock and Dow Chemical