The EU chemical industry at the forefront of the transition towards a low-carbon, circular and more digital economy

“The chemical industry is committed to playing a leading role in the transition to a true Circular Economy model”.

This was the message Cefic President and CEO of Versalis (Eni) Daniele Ferrari conveyed to the audience of more than 1,500 people at the annual IHS World Petrochemical Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

In his speech Ferrari said the EU chemical industry has the technological background to lead the transformation towards a more sustainable society and to stay competitive within a challenging scenario, shaped by major changes such as the increase in the world population and demand for consumer goods.

Yet this growth needs to take into account the scarcity of natural resources and waste issue. The EU chemical companies are now globally in the avant-garde of this new circular thinking, as more of them are developing innovative solutions led by sustainability and circular economy principles, and further efficiency opportunities deriving from digitisation.

For example, a large proportion of waste can be recovered in order to obtain new raw materials for polymers by developing chemical recycling. This represents one of the most ambitious targets for many players in the chemical industry sector, as it is fundamental to overcome the efficiency limits of mechanical recycling.

Fully embracing new technologies and embedding circularity in whole products’ life cycle — from production processes to end of life — is a challenging task, and the chemical industry must be at the forefront of this transformation. But there is no doubt that the future industry growth in Europe will be driven by low-carbon and circular solutions. Achieving such ambitious goals requires the commitment of citizens, institutions and associations and powerful industry chain alliances, concluded Ferrari.