ICIS and Genomatica survey: sustainability enters mainstream of chemical industry

SAN DIEGO, January 21, 2013

Genomatica today announced the results of the 2012 reader’s survey that it conducted with ICIS, the world’s largest petrochemical market information provider (see slides with results, article with detailed discussion). The survey revealed that the chemical industry is increasingly focusing on sustainability; 71% of the over 700 participants indicate that they have a sustainability strategy in place or under development. Almost half of producers (44%) said it was ‘very important’ that they are a front-runner in sustainable chemicals and 72% of producers said their customers have expressed interest in sustainable chemicals. Both producers and users are incorporating sustainability in their current practices and renewable materials have become increasingly important.

One of the most important factors for users is minimal impact on product performance or characteristics; similarly, for producers it is minimal impact on downstream products and customers. Most companies reported that they are taking a pragmatic approach and looking for drop-in or near-drop-in bio-based alternatives to petroleum products in an attempt to minimize development time and costs associated with reformulation and re-equipping production facilities.

“We’ve seen a big shift from several years ago, when increasing sustainability was viewed more as a cost than a benefit,” said John Baker, global editor of ICIS, and organizer of this survey. “A majority of companies in the chemical industry have now incorporated sustainability into business practices and are looking to it as a way not only to reduce environmental impact but also to lower costs and meet customer requirements. These are all strong drivers toward more sustainable everyday products being made from renewable-based chemicals.”

“The survey shows that sustainability – and the use of renewable-based chemicals – is part of the mainstream of thinking and action for both chemical producers and chemical users,” said Genomatica’s CEO Christophe Schilling. “We are also encouraged to see the sea-change in the industry’s optimism about commercial-readiness and the potential for cost savings using renewables technology. We expect to see great progress in the industry delivering on that promise.”

The Genomatica and ICIS survey was completed by over 700 ICIS Chemical Business readers working globally in the petrochemicals, speciality chemicals, and polymers segments of the chemical industry. The respondents were generally senior executives (27% board level and 24% general manager) and worked mainly in the specialty (22%) and commodity/polymers (30%) sectors, with a further 12% in chemical distribution. This Genomatica and ICIS survey is a follow-up and extension of a research project between the two companies from mid-2009 on sustainability practices.

About Genomatica

Genomatica is a widely-acknowledged technology leader for the chemical industry. It delivers new manufacturing processes that enable its partners to produce high-volume intermediate and basic chemicals from renewable feedstocks. Genomatica’s processes are designed to achieve better economics with enhanced sustainability and a smaller environmental footprint than petroleum-based manufacturing processes. Genomatica is developing a pipeline of manufacturing processes for the production of these chemicals, and expects commercial-scale production of BDO using its process in 2013. Genomatica’s accomplishments have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation award, ICIS Top 40 ‘Ones to Watch’, the EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, voted #1 Hottest two years in a row by Biofuels Digest, and being named a Best Place to Work by The Scientist.

About ICIS

ICIS is the world's largest petrochemical market information provider, and has fast-growing energy and fertilizer divisions. Our aim is to give companies in global commodities markets a competitive advantage by delivering trusted pricing data, high-value news, analysis and independent consulting, enabling them to make better-informed trading and planning decisions.

With a global staff of more than 700, ICIS has people based in Houston, Washington, New York, London, Montpellier, Dusseldorf, Milan, Mumbai, Singapore, Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Yantai, Tokyo and Perth. The team covers over 180 commodity markets, and has in-depth knowledge across markets in upstream and downstream.

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