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CIEX day 1: Plotting a course for the future

Industry 4.0

On the 9th and 10th of October innovation experts and practitioners from the consumer, industrial and speciality chemical sectors gathered at the CIEX 2019 (Chemical Innovation Exchange) conference which was held in Frankfurt Germany. Delegates gained a deeper understanding of the many possibilities open to industry through technology, collaboration and innovation. During the first day delegates heard about the move towards the collaborative business model.

21 October 2019

A successful and sustainable Europe

William Garcia, Executive Director Cefic began the event; reminding delegates of how important, and indispensable, the chemical sector is to modern life. With this in mind; Garcia said that the chemical sector could lead the way in Europe, making the region’s economy both successful and sustainable. However changing demographics, geopolitical shifts and the pace at which technology is developing mean the sector must very quickly adapt to a landscape that is altering at an unprecedented pace. As part of this process Garcia highlighted the work done by the Cefic board which sets out a vision for the chemical sector in Europe. The work began in 2017 and most recently, setting out a vision for the sector to 2050, Cefic published a report, Molecule Managers: A Journey into the Future of Europe with the European Chemical Industry. The report states that ‘This is our commitment in the journey ahead: Cleaner, safer, more circular. Producing more with less. Increasing fairness. Going digital. Dynamic resiliency.’ But Garcia said that this vision would only be possible if the sector took immediate action and that policy makers created a supportive framework, along with society joining to create a successful and sustainable Europe in 2050, and beyond.

Investing in innovation

Building on the theme of the chemical industry of the future. Paolo Bavaj; Head of Corporate ring, Adhesive Technologies Henkel shared how large companies could collaborate with start-ups so that both would benefit. He explained that for both parties there would be access new markets, technology integration and the opportunity to create new business models. Sharing Henkel’s approach Bavaj explained that Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) is an established innovation tool that the company uses along with Merger and Acquisition (M&A). As Bavaj pointed out ‘CVC provides early access to new and evolving technologies and enables M&A at the right time.’ He added that partnering with start-ups not only helped them to successfully develop their innovative ideas, but Henkel could offer a deep understanding of customers and consumers worldwide, a portfolio of leading brands along with strong expertise in bringing innovate and new technologies to market. Most recently Henkel has invested in recycling specialist Saperatec. The start-up company has developed an innovative, patented technology that, among other things, allows the separation and recycling of flexible packaging that contains aluminium foil. The two companies have been in a technical collaboration for more than two years.

Green chemistry to sustainable chemistry

Professor Klaus Kümmerer, Professor of Sustainable Chemistry and Resources, Director Research & Education at the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) explained the importance of looking at the bigger picture in moving from green chemistry to sustainable chemistry. Instead of producing material for value creation, the sector needs to utilise knowledge for value creation. Needing to take a broader view Kümmerer said ‘Just delivering (new) chemicals, materials and products or becoming greener will not be enough for a sustainable future – neither for the chemical science nor the chemical industries nor for human kind.’

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