Country for PR: United Kingdom
Contributor: PR Newswire Europe
Tuesday, September 13 2022 - 09:01
Ground-breaking report warns chemicals industry must dramatically transform operations to avoid 4°C of global warming
LONDON, September 13, 2022 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/--

- Ground-breaking study sets out credible pathways for the industry to become 
an enabler of a sustainable global economy, double in size and create 29 
million new jobs
- The industry can reinvent itself as a climate solution - becoming carbon 
negative by early 2040s and acting as a carbon sink by 2050
- Without dramatic and urgent change, the industry aligns with 4 degrees of 
global warming by 2050 with catastrophic consequences for the planet
- Building a circular, net zero chemical system will require capital 
expenditure of over $3 trillion by 2050

The global chemical industry accounts for around 4% of global greenhouse gas 
emissions. It must end its fossil dependency and become a planet-positive force 
by embracing a more circular, low emissions operating model, according to a 
major new report [] from 
Systemiq [], the system change company, and the 
Center for Global Commons [] at the University 
of Tokyo. Without urgent action, the industry faces reputational and regulatory 
risk and may lose its social license to operate, the report warns.

The Planet Positive Chemicals report (Systemiq 
[], UTokyo 
[]) provides 
an unprecedented blueprint for the future of the chemical industry, which is 
worth $4.7 trillion dollars in annual revenues(1) and provides the chemicals 
that are essential to all sectors of the economy from packaging and consumer 
goods to construction and fertilisers. It says the industry currently has 
multiple harmful impacts on our planet, including high carbon emissions and 
pollution, and its action on climate is currently lagging behind other sectors. 

The report identifies the need for radical interventions on both supply and 
demand sides for the industry to operate within planetary boundaries 
[]. Its 
findings include:

- Chemical products are used across all downstream industries - other sectors 
of the economy cannot reach net zero without mitigating the climate impacts of 
the chemicals value chain
- Chemical production would need to double by 2050 to enable a sustainable 
global economy, with rapid growth in ammonia (around 440%) mainly for use as a 
sustainable shipping fuel and methanol (330%) to create plastic without using 
fossil sources
- Expected growth means net zero will be dependent on the maximum scaling of a 
few key abatement technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS) - without 
which the chemicals industry becomes a major climate risk
- Up to 640 million tonnes of CCS capacity will be needed every year by 2050 if 
the industry does not move away from fossil feedstocks  
- Circular approaches can reduce total demand for chemicals by up to 31% by 
2050 - with industry reusing and recycling chemicals, or switching certain 
chemicals for lower-emissions alternatives
- Supply transition requires a shift away from fossil fuels and feedstocks and 
scaling of CCS to capture residual emission from production processes and end 
of life chemicals
- Replacing fossil feedstocks will make the industry the largest global 
consumer of green hydrogen (up to half of all demand by 2050), driving scale-up 
of this critical enabler of the energy transition
- This creates economic opportunities as the site of primary chemical 
production for developing countries that have abundant, affordable renewable 
energy sources to make low-cost green hydrogen
- The industry could become carbon negative by the early 2040s and a carbon 
sink by 2050, using CO2 from the air and biomass to make plastic and storing 
carbon underground at end-of-life
- The transition can create 29 million jobs in upstream production, circular 
chemicals and waste management - but the chemical industry needs to reposition 
itself in order to attract highly-skilled workers who often seek environmental 
and social purpose
- Retrofitting of legacy production and new greenfield chemical production 
infrastructure will require capex expenditure of over $3 trillion 

The Planet-Positive Chemicals report aims to help the industry and policy 
makers unite around a common view of the path ahead and accelerate the 
transition to a sustainable model of operation. It suggests ten key actions 
[] that could transform the 
system including establishing a global charter of transition principles and a 
first-movers coalition to seed markets for net zero chemicals. The report 
authors have made all their modelling and analysis publicly available. They 
will host a virtual discussion 
ve-chemicals-discussion-tickets-412873484707] on 10 October 2022 to explore 
what's needed from the industry, its customers, policymakers and the investment 
community to make the transition happen.

Chad Holliday, former CEO of the global chemical company DuPont and former 
Chairman of Shell, said: "We need realistic and immediate action from industry 
on the climate goals agreed at an international level. We want to see ambitious 
companies grabbing the opportunities represented by the global net zero 
transition, and as the former CEO of a chemicals company, I firmly believe a 
planet positive chemicals industry IS possible and this is a pivotal moment for 
the industry to redefine its future."

Naoko Ishii, Executive Vice President, Director for the Center for Global 
Commons at the University of Tokyo, said: "To avoid the collapse of the complex 
and interdependent Earth systems on which humanity, including our economic 
prosperity depends, we need to transform our social and economic systems and 
our lifestyles. The chemical industry has an outsized role to play, with its 
products used across many sectors and ubiquitous in modern life. The 
opportunity is clear: to bring the system back within the planetary boundaries, 
including net zero GHG and become a contributor to the Global Commons. We hope 
this report will open the debate about how the chemical industry can transform 
itself to grasp that opportunity."

Business leader and campaigner Paul Polman, who served as CEO of Unilever and 
helped design the SDGs, said: "Transformational leadership is critical to the 
delivery of our global sustainability goals. We urgently need courageous 
business leaders who profit by fixing the world's problems rather than creating 
them - and this report is a clarion call to the chemical industry to do just 
that. It sets out tangible pathways for the sector to become the enabler of a 
sustainable economy, a climate solution and a planet-positive system - but in 
order to access the growth and value associated with this future path, the 
industry must decouple itself from the fossil fuel dependence of the past. This 
marks the beginning of an urgent and business-critical conversation for the 
industry and its value chain."

Guido Schmidt-Traub, Managing Partner of Systemiq, says: "The chemical industry 
underpins every modern economy, but it must change profoundly across its entire 
value chain to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Importantly, these 
changes are eminently feasible using proven technologies outlined in this 
report. The recommendations for policymakers, the industry, and the investment 
community are practical and actionable. Systemiq and our partners stand ready 
to support discussions about how the chemical industry can become a driver of a 
net-zero and nature-positive economy."    



The full report is available at or at

You can sign up for the Planet Positive Chemicals discussion event at

Photo -

Source: Systemiq