milestone for European chemical industry
The European Commission has presented an EU transition path for the chemical industry. The Royal Association of the Dutch Chemical Industry (VNCI) is pleased with this step-by-step plan that provides European industry with a roadmap for achieving the EU’s Green Deal objectives.
The European chemical industry has long been asking for a specific roadmap to support the biggest transformation in its history. By 2050, the EU chemical sector must become climate neutral and circular, digitize processes and switch to safe and sustainable chemicals. All these measures require tens of billions of additional investments between now and 2050. And all this must be done in a very tense geopolitical environment.
Photo: Thresher ship Rotterdam Pernis, by Steven Lek on Creative Commons.
Transition pathway for the chemical industry
Cefic President Martin Brudermüller: “An important milestone has been reached on the exciting yet challenging path our industry has to take to meet the European Green Deal targets. The EU chemical industry is already undergoing its transformation, but we need clarity , perspectives and direction on how to get there. The transition path will provide our industry with greater clarity on ’the how’ and ’the what’. Its successful implementation will help define the future of our industry in Europe for decades to come and we stand ready to do our part together with the European Commission, the governments of the Member States and the European Parliament to make this a reality.”
In the Netherlands, too, we can work on the national implementation so that a favorable business climate is created for a clean and safe industry. VNCI Program Lead Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability Rosienne Steensma is enthusiastic: “With the arrival of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS), the chemical industry faces a major challenge to make chemistry even more sustainable and safer for people and the environment. With this support from the Commission, we can now ensure that the CSS becomes a true European growth and innovation strategy.”
VNCI has been emphasizing for some time that an integrated approach is necessary to make the transition to a climate-neutral, circular, transparent, clean and safe industry. In the transition path now presented, all puzzle pieces are together for the first time. The step-by-step plan contains almost two hundred actions. This shows how complex and comprehensive the assignment is. For many actions, industry is at the forefront in collaboration with national policy makers.
Fortunately, many initiatives are already underway. Think of FutureCarbonNL, where CO2 and CO are used as a circular raw material. But also electrification, the use of hydrogen with a low CO2 footprint and the availability of alternative carbon sources such as biomass and recyclate are activities that VNCI is already busy with in the Netherlands.
Based on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS), the devising of a framework for safe and sustainable by design fabrics and materials has started. The transition path also pays special attention to the smaller (SME) players in the chain. A number of actions even concern the availability of well-trained personnel. This has also been a point of attention at the VNCI for some time. “It is fantastic that this foundation has been laid by the EU,” says Rosienne Steensma. In the coming period, the VNCI will consult with policymakers at EZK, I&W, VWS and SZW, among others, to arrive at a national interpretation of the transition path.