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Nuno Bacharel
Nuno Bacharel

Hi guys,

This weekend will take place the UN Sustainable Summit where the UN member states will be expected to adopt the new 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Exciting!

These goals will have a big impact on our future and they will shape the agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. This ambitious agenda for all of humanity will not only shape political agendas but will also guide the way how we are doing Chemistry today!

Chemistry will definitely play an essential role as one of the largest and most diversified industries shaping economic activities, in both traditional and technologically advanced industries, and acting as an important engine for innovation in other sectors.


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Find out what progress the European chemical industry has made on some of the goals

Ensuring everyone can access sufficient, safe, nutritious and affordable food is a key global priority for the European chemical industry. With a world population projected to grow to nine billion by 2050, global food production should be 60% higher than that of 2005/2007.

Food presents many global challenges: we must produce more food in the next 50 years than we have during the last 10,000 years, and we must adopt more efficient and sustainable production methods.

How is the EU chemical industry contributing?

  • Food enzymes (Dupont) can prolong the freshness of bakery products by 50%. Read more
  • The food fortification initiative (including as partners AkzoNobel, DSM and BASF) is contributing to the development of fortified rice, premix, and fortified wheat. Each year of flour fortification is associated with a 2.4% decrease in anaemia prevalence among non-pregnant women. Read more
  • Production of the molecule Ferrazone (AkzoNobel) is a source of iron to combat iron deficiency anaemia. It has been recommended by the WHO as the preferred iron fortificant for wheat and maize flour. Read more

Major progress has been made by the EU chemical Industry on developing solutions for tropical diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and Chagas disease.  Malaria death rates have plunged by 60% since 2000, translating into 6.2 million lives saved, the vast majority of them children, but many more efforts are needed to fully eradicate a wide range of diseases. With effective strategies, excellent collaboration, smart research and adequate resources, the European chemical industry will rapidly progress and save more lives.

How is the EU chemical industry contributing?

  • Interceptor Mosquito Nets (BASF) contribute to saving  lives (recommended by WHO). 165 million mosquito nets (produced by different suppliers) were  supplied to malaria zones in 2010. Read more
  • The fight against Chagas disease project (Bayer HealthCare) is supported by WHO.  Since 2004, Bayer HealthCare has been  providing WHO with drugs and financial assistance for logistics and distribution. In 2011, the agreement was renewed, doubling the number of tablets provided to 1 million per year. Read more
  • Malaria Initiative (Novartis):  since 2001, working with a range of organisations, Novartis has provided more than 600 million treatments for adults and children, without profit, to more than 60 malaria-endemic countries, contributing to a dramatic reduction of the malaria burden in Africa. Read more

Water is a most precious resource: although water covers 70% of the planet, less than 1% is available for use as fresh water. Both worldwide and in the EU, supplies are under mounting pressure from growing domestic demand, economic activities, urban development and climate change with related social and environmental consequences.

The EU chemical industry is working on important technological developments for purification of water and reduction of energy consumption using advanced materials, bio-reactor technologies and nanotechnology.

How is the EU chemical industry contributing?

  • Saving water through symbiosis (Solvay – Responsible Care Award 2014 winner):   Recycling wastewater has allowed Solvay to save 33 cubic metres of water every hour (Belgium, Antwerpen). Read more
  • -25% Water consumption by 2020 vs 2010: A water management approach (Sanofi). Read more
  • Children’s Safe Drinking Water Programme (Procter & Gamble) has provided, since 2014, 7 billion litres of clean drinking water, helping to save an estimated 42,000 lives in the developing world. Read more

Europe has less than 1% of the known global reserves of oil, less than 1% of gas and less than 7% of coal reserves. The combustion of fossil fuels is one of the main sources of CO2 emissions and a major culprit for climate change.

The EU chemical industry has made significant efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  In 2010, the products manufactured by the European chemical industry were estimated to contribute over 1.5 billion tonnes of avoided GHG emissions during their use. That is equivalent to roughly 30% of total European GHG emissions in 2010.

We also contribute solutions to the renewable energy and energy storage markets and are continually looking to improve the energy efficiency of our own operations.

How is the EU chemical industry contributing?

  • EnerLogic® window film (Eastman) adds up to 92% more insulating power to existing windows – improving energy efficiency in every season. Read more
  • Carbon Fibre: A New Material For A Low Carbon World (Ineos). When carbon fibre is used in the manufacture of aircraft, fuel efficiency can be improved by as much as 30%, without compromising safety. Read more
  • Cefic is a key partner of the Sectoral Platform in Chemicals for Energy Efficiency Excellence (SPiCE³), co-funded by the European Commission, aimed at boosting energy efficiency across the European chemical industry, particularly in small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs). The chemical industry  slashed energy intensity by 47% between 1990 and 2012. Read more

Around 75% of Europe’s population lives in cities, a figure predicted to rise to 80 % by 2030, and urbanisation is a global issue – especially in emerging economies. Over the two decades to 2010, the final energy consumption of households in Europe rose  by more than 12%, according to The European Environment (International Energy Agency publication).

From the construction to the transport sector, the  EU chemical industry provides a toolbox of key innovations that enable energy efficiency and mobility in our future cities.

Housing, transport and energy issues affect every EU citizen and pressure is  growing as more people live in urban environments. This trend is set to continue, making the need for energy efficiency in buildings and transport powered by alternative fuels even more important.

How is the EU chemical industry contributing?

  • Development of BETAMATE, a structural adhesive reducing vehicle weight and enhancing durability (Dow Chemical). Since 1999, thanks to BETAMATE, 23 million of tons of CO2 have not been released in the atmosphere. Read more
  • Suschem and SPIRE – Innovation for growth – Housing Solutions (in partnership with Cefic ): Cool roofs built with highly reflective and emissive materials can be 20 degrees cooler in the summer than conventional roofs, allowing substantial energy saving. Read more
  • Suschem and SPIRE – Innovation for growth – housing Solutions (in partnership with Cefic) : High performance insulation foams and vacuum insulation panels can reduce energy heating costs from 30% up to 80%.Read more

With the global population expected to reach 8 billion by 2025, the European  chemicals sector recognises  that a viable, sustainable future for all will depend on our ability to meet growing demand by more efficient use, and reuse of resources.

The European chemical industry has a long history of investing to improve resource and energy efficiency along the whole value chain. Many of these improvements, from industrial symbiosis, vertical integration in clusters, zero waste initiatives, and closed loop processes, through to cooperation along the value chain and the development of innovative products and processes, already contribute to the development of a circular economy.

How is the EU chemical industry contributing?

  • 25% of all raw materials used are recycled or industrial by-products from external partners (Kemira). Read more
  • The sustainability commitment of the PVC industry: VinylPlus  (Cefic’s flagship initiative):  481,018 tonnes of PVC waste recycled in 2014, compared to virtually 0 in 2001 as part of a voluntary commitment. Read more

A transition to a reliable, sustainable and competitive energy system implies an increased share for renewable energy.

The European chemical industry has an essential role in the development of advanced materials and effective technologies for thermal storage, electricity storage, and chemical storage of energy. Clever chemistry can improve the performance and safety of batteries. Using CO2 emissions from industry as feedstock, developing new catalysts and advanced process technologies can enable the chemical storage of energy as liquid fuels or methane.

How is the EU chemical industry contributing?

  • Between 2008 and 2014: a 24% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions at Total’s operated sites (Total) Read more
  • Greener Steam allowed an annual reduction of CO of  25, 000 tonnes (Emerald Kalama Chemical – Responsible Care Award 2014 – Energy Efficiency winner) Using the steam coming from an incineration plant, Emerald Kalama has avoided building  a new gas-fired boiler. Read more


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