Cefic President inspiring the (chemical) world at Achema 2022

Inspiring Sustainable Connections” is the slogan of this year’s edition of ACHEMA, a global conference for chemical engineering, process engineering and biotechnology. In his keynote address Cefic President and CEO of BASF Dr. Martin Brudermüller presented his vision on the unprecedented transformation that the chemical industry is facing and the moment and how to undergo this transition.

Looking at the future with optimism

We need scientists, engineers, and optimists. We need people like you, who look into the future with a passion to create new solutions.

Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Cefic President and CEO of BASF

While several challenges are ahead of us, from sky-rocketing energy prices to a real risk of serious gas supply shortages, we need to move forward and accelerate the societal transition. 

The chemical sector employs 1.2 million workers. And these people are the “resource” we need: they are scientists and engineers that driven by a passion for innovation, who are empowered to question and to go beyond the normal way of doing things, and who can help us develop the solutions we will need in the short and in the long term. 

Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Cefic President of CEO of BASF, speaking at the opening of ACHEMA 2022

From semiconductors to innovative batteries for electric vehicles; from insulation for our buildings to materials for solar panels and wind turbines, chemistry and chemists hold the key to a more sustainable society.

Picture source: DECHEMA e.V. / Pietro Sutera


On our way to a more sustainable, carbon-neutral future, chemistry plays THE decisive and indispensable role.

Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Cefic President and CEO of BASF

The chemical sector is the “industry of industries:” almost all essential sectors of our modern life depend on the molecules that we create. And, just as our elements are the pivotal for so many sectors, the decarbonisation of our industry is crucial to achieve decarbonisation downstream.  

The European chemical industry shares the EU’s ambition of a climate neutral 2050, yet our sector is facing a quadruple challenge: in addition to climate neutrality and digitalization, we must also factor in circularity objectives and implementation of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability – all happening at the same time.

There will be no low-carbon future without chemistry.”

Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Cefic President and CEO of BASF

So, what should we expect and how should we prepare?  

What we need is continuous innovation, coupled with a major shift in our production processes and sourcing of energy and raw materials.  

When it comes to energy needs, our sector will need to move towards electrification. However, while electrification can help us reduce our carbon footprint, it also means that our electricity demand will grow exponentially. So, to be successful, we will need to have in place more green electricity capacity and more infrastructure.  

When we consider other key raw material, carbon will always remain an essential element of many chemicals. To reduce our dependency on carbon from fossil sources, we will need to secure sufficient quantities of the carbon from other sources. To this end, circular economy, and restoration of sustainable carbon cycles will be key.  

Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Cefic President of CEO of BASF, speaking at the opening of ACHEMA 2022
Picture Source: DECHEMA e.V./M. Püttmann

Finally, another lever in the transformation of the chemical industry, is the development of new low-emission technologies and processes. However, while we are working on developing a broad technology portfolio with many different solutions that can help us forward, we cannot work in isolation. Throughout the industry, we need partnerships across value chains, sectors and skills if we want to reach the 2050 goals.


Innovation is in our lifeblood as chemical industry. Process development is in the middle of this. But so is forming strong connections and new partnerships.

Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Cefic President and CEO of BASF

Our sector has the knowledge, the drive and the commitment to achieve the transformation towards net zero, but cooperation is needed: politicians, industry and society must work as one. 

New low-carbon technologies will only become economically feasible with an enabling political framework that incentivises change.  At the same time, we need new alliances and stable cooperation with different industrial actors, as well as with countries within and outside of Europe. It is only through cooperation that we will be able to have a strong and resilient European economy and society, able to face the challenges ahead in a pragmatic way.

Source of the banner picture: DECHEMA e.V. / Pietro Sutera