Perspectives: From the Editor

Sustainability Sustains Momentum

Drivers for use of renewable materials differ markedly between producers and users

By MARK ROSENZWEIG, Editor in Chief

The quest to improve the sustainability of chemical manufacturing takes many forms. Indeed, our recent cover story “Sustainability Gets the Spotlight[http://goo.gl/J1HnmZ],” highlighted some novel approaches. Now, a new survey underscores that chemical makers and their customers continue to move toward more sustainable products. Among its key findings: 72% of manufacturers already offer more sustainable versions of chemicals or plan to do so within two years; 80% of their customers show the same or higher interest in sustainable chemicals compared to a year ago; and 75% of chemicals users have started to market products made with more sustainable chemicals or expect to within two years. Commissioned by Genomatica, San Diego, a company that develops and licenses bio-based processes to produce chemicals, and conducted by ICIS, London, the survey, published in September, is the third such one since 2009. It drew 958 responses, the largest number ever — in fact, 30% more than the last survey, in 2012. Inputs came both from chemical manufacturers and their customers. More than half of the respondents (53%) held senior positions such as CEO, vice president or general manager. Europe accounted for 24% of respondents and North America 22%, compared to 40% and 27%, respectively, in the last survey. In contrast, a higher level of respondents came from South East Asia (17% versus 10% in 2012) and the Middle East (10% versus 5%).

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