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Sustainability in Chemicals: No Politics, Just Reality

Aug. 1, 2023
The old saying that "knowledge is power" holds true when it comes to environmental regulations. That's why we write about it.

Is the topic of sustainability too political for this publication? The question has arisen on a few occasions after several recent articles addressing chemical safety and emissions. Our May/June cover story focused on the challenges chemical manufacturers face addressing Scope 3 emissions.

It’s a major hurdle when you think about what’s involved. As CP Editor-at-Large Seán Ottewell explained in his article, manufacturers must gather data from upstream value chains and figure out the best way to calculate greenhouse gas emissions. This month, our cover story explored a type of mass-balance sustainability certification called ISCC Plus. Many chemical companies have pursued this recognition as part of their environmental, social and corporate governance programs.

Nearly every manufacturer we cover has implemented some type of sustainability program. And we need to inform the industry on how their efforts are progressing. We understand that sustainability programs have their detractors. Some people view them as unfortunate byproducts of overregulation. Others see environmental initiatives as a form of corporate greenwashing.

But we're far from the only industry publication bringing these issues to the forefront. For example, ICIS, a market intelligence service for the chemical industry, recently announced a podcast entitled "Chemical industry must wake up to climate emergency." Interestingly, ICIS includes a disclaimer in the promo stating that the podcast is an opinion piece. I'm guessing they have similar concerns about the way their audience perceives their coverage of this topic. 

Whatever position you take on sustainability, it’s a reality of modern manufacturing, and we can't hide from it. That also means presenting different perspectives from industry, law, academia and, yes, even activists. 

We also understand the chemical industry isn’t a singular entity. We have large, small, midsize processors. We have established companies like Lyondell Bassell, BASF, Evonik, Sabic, Air Liquide and many others reducing emissions or developing materials from more sustainable sources.

We also have newer companies, such as Origin Materials, developing products using bio-based feedstocks. We tell their stories because sustainability is ingrained in their business models. It’s also becoming less of an option for manufacturers as global leaders push for carbon neutrality and waste-reduction pacts

You may not agree with these regulations or corporate sustainability strategies.  However, we must tell these stories to keep you, our readers, well-informed about their impact on your business. This knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions regarding how to respond and implement strategies within your own organizations, enabling you to stay competitive and meet the demands of your markets effectively.  

About the Author

Jonathan Katz | Executive Editor

Jonathan Katz, executive editor, brings nearly two decades of experience as a B2B journalist to Chemical Processing magazine. He has expertise on a wide range of industrial topics. Jon previously served as the managing editor for IndustryWeek magazine and, most recently, as a freelance writer specializing in content marketing for the manufacturing sector.

His knowledge areas include industrial safety, environmental compliance/sustainability, lean manufacturing/continuous improvement, Industry 4.0/automation and many other topics of interest to the Chemical Processing audience.

When he’s not working, Jon enjoys fishing, hiking and music, including a small but growing vinyl collection.

Jon resides in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

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