The process and chemical industry is the backbone of the European economy and has enormous potential. As the population increases and wealth grows on other continents, the production of bulk chemicals is shifting to Asia, Africa, South America and Middle East. In Europe the focus is on improving production efficiency within existing industrial assets, applying eco design systems, producing specialty chemicals and implementing new, and possibly disruptive, technologies and markets.

The key objectives of all these trends are licence to operate, operational excellence and eco effectiveness. The way to achieve these objectives is different within mature and growing markets.   As a global player, we can help you to meet these challenges. With our knowledge of the industry we can ‘enhance society together’.

As society becomes more aware of environmental, social, technical and legal risks for industry, and the cost and scarcity of natural resources, chemical companies are striving to be part of the ‘Green Economy’: responsible and sustainable growth in a circular rather than a linear system.

Occupying a strategic position in the supply chain between material resources and society, the process and chemical industry can make a valuable contribution to a greener economy. These companies also have the unique potential to improve both their own and other industries by introducing more sustainable products and optimising usage to achieve a circular economy.

License to operate is a prerequisite for business continuity, and companies in the chemical and process industry have worked hard to comply with laws and regulations. However, society is focusing increasingly on prevention and reduction of potential risks, resulting in a zero-tolerance for incidents. Governments respond to this global trend by drafting and enforcing stricter regulations, with companies expected to comply fully and communicate openly about their performance. As society is the ultimate stakeholder, the question is not so much how to keep up with changing regulations but how to anticipate to them.

Operational excellence is a well-known route to competitiveness in a mature but stable market. Efficient use of energy, materials, water, assets and financial and human resources increasingly goes beyond the factory walls and more collaboration between companies is the next step to improving efficiency.  Redefining the supply chain requires a critical and perhaps disruptive view on current assets and relations. Initiatives for such industrial symbiosis which focus on the valorisation of energy and materials, such as waste or side streams, are mainly seen in the mature markets of Europe, US and Japan.  

Eco effectiveness indicates the final step in development of the chemical industry to play its part in the green economy. Eco Effectiveness is becoming a driver in mature markets, with disruptive innovation key to the transformation from efficiency to effectiveness: a sustainable way of doing business. Regulations such as REACH and CARS21 encourage the use of substitutes for traditional hazardous substances and recycling materials. The use of certain chemical substances will diminish or be restricted, while the outlook for long term continuity is new biobased substances. The incentive to reuse materials will lead to both new assembly techniques and new processes, such as process intensification.