Strategy & Management

Expert Statement: Lucrèce Foufopoulos, Borealis

CO2-Neutral Chemical Industry - The Challenge of an Industry Transformation

10.03.2021 - The European Chemical Industry has set out on an ambitious path to become carbon neutral.

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?

Lucrèce Foufopoulos: Without any doubt, climate change is our biggest threat on a global scale. Therefore, we at Borealis see it as our responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint, as well as our products’ total life-cycle emissions. We firmly believe that climate protection and economic success must go hand in hand, to ensure that the innovations needed for global climate protection continue to be developed. We also believe that a real step change can only be achieved through intra- and cross-sectoral cooperation, as well as developing robust internal pricing that stimulates companies to permanently reduce CO2 emission.
Whilst it is essential to decrease emissions in our operations, we are also contributing to both avoiding and decreasing value chain emissions during the life cycle of the solutions we enable with our innovative and val­ue-add product portfolio.
We continue driving the circular economy, reducing end-of-life emissions from plastic waste by designing for recycling, increasing recycled content or using chemically recycled feedstock. We will also reduce total life cycle emissions by using renewable energy and feedstock.
We are committed to reducing the carbon footprint of our operations to ensure we are climate neutral by 2050 or sooner by sourci­ng renewable electricity to avoid emissions, by continuing to implement energy efficiency improvements and zero continuous flaring, to reduce emissions, and by driving innovation to find solutions for end-of-pipe CO2 emis­sions.
We have set the following goals in our journey towards climate neutrality by 2050, or sooner: Source 50% of electricity from renew­able sources by 2030, to reduce indirect (scope 2) emissions that are caused by electricity consumption. And implement energy efficiency improvements equal to 20% of the absolute energy consumption in 2015 by 2030.
To reach net zero for scope 1 and 2 emis­sions, Borealis will go beyond the targets set out above and is therefore exploring opportunities to handle emissions as they arise through carbon capture and utilisation projects.