Expert Statement: Walmir Soller, Braskem
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?
Walmir Soller: The race to zero emissions is on — and Europe has firmly set its eyes on becoming the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050. All of us in the chemical industry, in Europe and globally, do have big a role to play as we share a responsibility for our planet. The scale of the risks from climate change, deforestation and water scarcity for the economy is huge — however, we also know that the opportunities for action by far exceed the risks of inaction. The private sector‘s leadership will create a ‚cycle of ambitions‘ for greater government action and will ensure that global intentions for a sustainable net-zero economy become a reality.
Braskem has been committed to sustainability since our creation in 2002, and we consider ourselves to be a pioneer in the production of biopolymers. During ten years of growing sales, for example, the materials from our ‘I’m green portfolio’, which comprises products focusing on the circular economy, have helped avoid the emission of 5.54 million tons of CO2-equivalent alone. And in November 2020, Braskem has announced an expansion in its efforts to become carbon neutral by 2050. To achieve this ambitious target, we will launch material initiatives for carbon reduction, offsetting and capture, expand our ‘I‘m green portfolio’, and ensure the proper disposal of 1.5 million tons of plastic waste. And we will continue working on chemical recycling to provide the missing link for a circular plastic chain.
Due to our efforts, Braskem again was selected as a leading company on the Climate List for the sixth year in a row by the non-profit Carbon Disclosure Program (CDP) in 2020, underscoring our engagement and positive impact on our way towards a circular economy in the chemical industry. We all still have some way to go, but we are ready to play our part together with our partners in the industry. Our initiatives for the coming decades are aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda, its 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement to control impacts from climate change.