Strategy & Management

Expert Statement: Tatsuhiko Tokunaga, Asahi Kasei

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?


Tatsuhiko Tokunaga: Asahi Kasei is working toward the realization of a carbon-neutral and sustainable society based on the „Care for Earth“ policy anchored in our current mid-term plan. Regarding CO2 reduction, we are taking a two-pronged approach of reducing emissions from our business activities and providing materials and technologies that allow for reducing CO2 in society. As society progresses to decarbonization, we believe that accelerat­ing decarbonization of our products will lead to our business growth. Because of the unique portfolio, Asahi Kasei is able to work on a carbon-neutral and sustainable society from various perspectives, not only in regard to basic chemicals but also by leveraging our expertise in the fields of housing, healthcare, electronics, hydrogen, as well as for materials for next-generation batteries and automotive in general. We believe that this approach allows for synergies that will profoundly contribute to a sustainable society.
Encouraging companies to invest in carbon neutral technologies is the right approach. Carbon neutrality is obviously a big challenge for all companies and society in general. We believe that this can be achieved by the effort of each single company, supported by encouraging policies and regulations that support these activities and pave the way for social systems harmonizing with decarbonization.
Achieving CO2 neutrality requires global companies to take global efforts. With R&D laboratories in Japan and Germany and Corporate Venture Capital offices in the United States, Germany and China, we are in close contact with partners, suppliers and start-up companies around the globe, aiming at incorporating the most advanced technologies to support our efforts.