By embracing sustainability, the chemical industry is innovating new products that meet customer demands to minimize environmental impact. As a new kind of chemistry company, we are called on to answer these demands, balancing the essential with the responsible along the way.
Chemistry and sustainability join forces.
In developed and emerging markets alike, humans today live markedly better lives than our ancestors did. One big reason? Chemistry.
The global chemical industry plays a major role in innovating and producing a wide range of products that help make modern life possible. From a water-repellent sports jersey to the detergent that cleans it. And from all types of industrial oils and greases to LAN cables and antennas that power smartphones and intelligent appliances. These modern essentials are all based on chemistry.
And now that sustainability is interwoven with modern life, today’s chemical industry has been impacted when it comes to product innovations and enhancements. Evolving science and new technologies enable efficient use of energy and resources, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, recycling of waste, and the development of sustainable materials and business practices.
Our customers, as well as end consumers, demand more sustainable practices—and they’re following through with their consumption behavior and practices. For example, more than 50% of global consumers say they would pay more for responsibly sourced clothing. Similarly, a leading global automotive original equipment manufacturer is shifting to build relationships with more environmentally friendly suppliers by giving sustainability ratings.*
At Chemours, we understand how vital it is to be mindful of how we make what we make, in a way that helps enable a more sustainable future. However, we also recognize that we can and must achieve this without sacrificing performance—as consumers will always demand more reliable, more durable, and overall better-performing products. So, taking this as evergreen truth, we are continuing to push our chemistry to offer innovative solutions that meet the best of both worlds—sustainability and performance.
On the road: A smaller carbon footprint during a longer trip.
Global environmental regulations have become more stringent in the automotive industry. At the same time, global consumers increasingly demand more reliable yet more compact downsized cars that will allow more practicality. In China, for example, 9 out of the 10 best-selling car models of 2016 were compact vehicles, as younger, first-time automotive buyers searched for easier mobility solutions.**
CChemours enables these demands to come to life through a wide range of products for the automotive manufacturing industry. From our Opteon™ line of low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants to our Viton™ fluoroelastomers that can withstand the hotter, harsher environment in the engines of smaller cars, we are at the forefront of offering chemistry that plays roles in decreasing environmental impact and still helps enable consumers enjoy safe, reliable, and longer-lasting trips on the road.
That balance between sustainability and performance is something we take seriously. “We believe, and now we know, that it’s imminently doable,” says Bob Buck, Ph.D. and Technical Fellow at Chemours. In fact, he adds, “We can actually improve upon performance while innovating and inventing sustainable solutions, and that’s what we’re focused on.”
On the slopes: Water simply beads up and rolls off.
From hiking on rainy trails to skiing down snowy slopes, water repellency is at the core of these types of activities. Consumers look for reliable clothing that they can wear and not have to worry about staying dry—all while enjoying maximum comfort. They look for fabrics that will have minimum wear and tear from multiple washings.
The perfect example that ladders up to these consumer needs, while bearing in mind the impact that fabric protectors have on the planet, is our Teflon EcoElite™ finish. This non-fluorinated finish contains 60% renewably sourced materials and maintains high performance standards. And unlike previous non-fluorinated finishes, Teflon EcoElite™ continues to repel water and water-based stains after 30 or more washings—three times the durability of other non-fluorinated repellants. From enjoying outdoor activities to lounging on fabric sofas, consumers are able to focus on the things they love with smaller carbon footprints, all because of Teflon EcoElite™.
Changing with the planet.
As humans, we are always consuming things—food, electricity, plastics, and cotton—just to name a few. And as our consumption behaviors continue to evolve towards solutions that offer better quality of life, the future of our planet will change accordingly.
AAnd with chemistry as the source that powers so many modern essentials, it is incumbent upon us—and the chemical industry as whole—to provide innovative solutions that have a larger positive impact on people’s lives, all with a smaller environmental footprint. That’s a challenge we accept.
At Chemours, automotive air conditioning with 99% lower GWP and naturally sourced fabric protectors are only the beginning. We continue to progress step by step in our sustainability journey by pushing the boundaries of the molecule that will help bring forth a more colorful, capable, and cleaner tomorrow.
Our Expert Corner
Hear more from Ph.D. and Technical Fellow Bob Buck, as he looks at chemistry’s role for a more sustainable world.
Our Lens into the Future of Chemistry
Explore more topics and insights about how the power of chemistry can shape future markets and improve the quality of life.
Ph.D., Technical Fellow
*Source: “Audi warns of spot-checks on suppliers as it introduces new sustainability ratings system.” Automotive Logistics. May 3, 2017.
**Source: “Compact sales boom as demands shift.” China Daily. February 6, 2017.