Expert Statement: Delf Bintakies, Bayer
CO2-Neutral Chemical Industry - The Challenge of an Industry Transformation
Germany, as one of the major chemical manufacturing nations, has committed to achieve this goal by 2050. But companies need to translate this industry vision into their specific context.
System changes of the scale of CO2 neutrality for a whole industry sector require a new mindset. Major transformations command long lead times and require consistent and persistent follow-through. It is all but clear whether enough value is created to justify the huge investments and how new value generated is distributed among critical players and investors.
CHEManager asked executives and industry experts to share their opinions on this industry transformation, which is a multi-stakeholder challenge and comprises economical, technical, societal and political aspects. We proposed to discuss the following aspects:
- What is your strategy / timeline to become carbon neutral and what are the key challenges on the path to achieve this goal?
- What political / regulatory measures are needed to encourage companies to invest in carbon neutral technologies?
- What economical / societal benefits do you expect or hope for by decarbonizing your business?
- How do you plan to involve external stakeholders critical for achieving CO2 neutrality?
Delf Bintakies: Our sustainability strategy aims to help more people thrive and to decrease the ecological footprint — according to Bayer’s vision: “Health for all, Hunger for none.”
Regarding the ecological footprint, we aim to be climate neutral in our own operations by 2030. Therefore, we will reduce our emissions by 42% through energy efficiency measures and converting 100% of the purchased electricity to renewables. The remaining emissions will be offset by purchasing certificates from climate protection projects with recognized quality standards. Our targets are in line with the Paris Agreement‘s goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Additionally, we will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in our value chain (scope 3) by 12%. These targets have been approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative. Until 2050 we have committed to being Net Zero along our entire value chain.
To achieve these targets, we need stable and predictable access to large amounts of renewable energy and raw materials with a low CO2 footprint at competitive pricing. Reduction in the value chain will only be successful through broad collaboration and advancements in calculation methods and transparency. Bayer drives these efforts through the sustainability initiative of the chemical industry, Together for Sustainability, TFS.
Beyond our industrial footprint, Bayer will work with farmers to reduce the ecological footprint of agriculture, which currently accounts for about 25% of GHG emissions worldwide. We want to help reduce GHG emissions by 30% per kilogram of crop yield in major agricultural markets where Bayer is active by 2030.
Politicians must set the right incentives for climate-friendly agriculture, especially in the downstream supply chains, to support this. Uniform certification must be supported and promoted to raise the GHG reduction potential in the agricultural sector and give farmers planning security for participation in voluntary carbon markets.