Mainstream Chemical Industry Embraces Renewables

Nov. 27, 2017
Genomatica releases the results of a survey of sustainability issues in the mainstream chemical industry.

Genomatica releases the results of a survey of sustainability issues in the mainstream chemical industry conducted together with ICIS, the petrochemical market information provider. The survey, fourth in a series the companies have conducted since 2009, reportedly reveals substantial advances for sustainability and renewable chemicals in general, for chemical producers, users (companies making products from basic and intermediate chemicals) and distributors. The survey covered topics including overall strategy and actions with regards to sustainable chemicals; current and planned use; commitment levels; customer interest; primary adoption factors; predictions of future adoption and use; and perceptions of industry leaders.

Producers report that 65% of their customers are interested in sustainably-produced chemicals, according to Genomatica, and 63% report a higher level of interest from their customers than three years ago. Only 36% responded this way to a similar question in the 2014 survey. This near-doubling of increasing interest includes a sizable 17% showing much greater interest.

That interest is reflected in producer and user attitudes and plans:

  • 87% of producers believe it’s important to be a leader in sustainable chemicals, with 46% rating it very important.
  • 61% of producers and 47% of users are highly committed to offering or using sustainable chemicals.
  • They are increasingly offering and planning to offer sustainable chemicals, with almost four out of five producers expecting to offer more sustainable chemicals within the next few years.
  • They are adopting a multi-pronged strategy on renewables, with 32% of producers and 22% of users already investing in R&D, and large numbers committed to, using or planning to use renewables.
  • Additionally, more than half of all producers now believe there is long-term economic advantage in switching some of their feedstocks to renewables (54% in 2017 compared to 43% in 2014; an additional 28% aren’t sure yet.

For the first time, respondents were asked their opinions about long-term adoption of renewables, as a type of “Renewables Confidence Index.” Some 71% of mainstream chemical industry respondents believe renewable chemicals will be in common use in five years.

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