Investing in the Earth
Sustainable Solutions through Chemistry
Sustainability is a moving target. But getting ahead gives our industry the opportunity to protect the environment while offering customers high-performance products.
Chemistry and Sustainability Join Forces
In developed and emerging markets alike, humans today live markedly better lives than our ancestors did. One big reason? Chemistry.
The global chemical industry plays a major role in innovating and producing a wide range of products that help make modern life possible—from a water-repellent sports jersey to the detergent that cleans it—and from all types of industrial oils and greases to LAN cables and antennas that power smartphones and intelligent appliances. It’s all based on chemistry.
Because sustainability and modern life are interwoven, product innovations and enhancements depend on today's chemical industry. Evolving science and new technologies enable:
- Efficient use of energy and resources
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
- Recycling of waste
- Development of sustainable materials and business practices.
Our customers and end consumers' consumption behavior and practices show a commitment to sustainability. For example, more than 50% of global consumers say they would pay more for responsibly sourced clothing. Similarly, a leading global automotive original equipment manufacturer is shifting to build relationships with more environmentally friendly suppliers by giving sustainability ratings.¹
At Chemours, we understand the vital necessity of making and producing what we do in ways that help enable a more sustainable future. However, we also recognize that we can and must achieve this future without sacrificing performance—as consumers will always demand more reliable, more durable, and overall better-performing products. So, taking consumer demands as evergreen truth, we are continuing to push our chemistry to offer innovative solutions that meet the best of both worlds—sustainability and performance.
On the Road: A Smaller Carbon Footprint During a Longer Trip
Global environmental regulations have become more stringent in the automotive industry. At the same time, global consumers increasingly demand more reliable yet more compact downsized cars that will allow more practicality. In China, for example, 9 out of the 10 best-selling car models of 2016 were compact vehicles, as younger, first-time automotive buyers searched for easier mobility solutions.²
Chemours enables these demands to come to life through a wide range of products for the automotive manufacturing industry. From our Opteon™ line of low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants to our Viton™ fluoroelastomers that can withstand the hotter, harsher environment in the engines of smaller cars, we are at the forefront of offering chemistry that plays roles in decreasing environmental impact. Our chemistry helps ensure that consumers enjoy safe, reliable, and longer-lasting trips on the road.
That balance between sustainability and performance is something we take seriously. “We believe, and now we know, that it’s imminently doable,” says Bob Buck, Ph.D. and Technical Fellow at Chemours. In fact, he adds, “We can actually improve upon performance while innovating and inventing sustainable solutions, and that’s what we’re focused on.”
On the Slopes: Water Simply Beads Up and Rolls Off
From hiking on rainy trails to skiing down snowy slopes, water repellency is at the core of these types of activities. Consumers look for reliable clothing that they can wear and not have to worry about staying dry—all while enjoying maximum comfort. They look for fabrics that will have minimum wear and tear from multiple washings.
The perfect example that accommodates consumer needs while addressing the impact of fabric protectors on the planet is our Teflon EcoElite™ finish. This non-fluorinated finish contains 60% renewably sourced materials and maintains high performance standards. And unlike previous non-fluorinated finishes, Teflon EcoElite™ continues to repel water and water-based stains after 30 or more washings—three times the durability of other non-fluorinated repellants. Consumers can enjoy the things they love—from outdoor activities to lounging on fabric sofas—and leave a smaller carbon footprint thanks to Teflon EcoElite™.
Changing With the Planet
As humans, we are always consuming things—food, electricity, plastics, and cotton—just to name a few. And as our consumption behaviors continue to evolve towards solutions that offer better quality of life, the future of our planet will change accordingly.
And with chemistry as the source that powers so many modern conveniences, it is incumbent upon us—and the chemical industry as a whole—to provide innovative solutions that have a larger positive impact on people’s lives, all with a smaller environmental footprint.
At Chemours, automotive air conditioning with 99% lower GWP and naturally sourced fabric protectors are only the beginning. We continue to progress step by step in our sustainability journey by pushing the boundaries of the molecule that will help bring forth a more colorful, more capable, and cleaner tomorrow.
Discover more with C&EN about how the chemical industry is turning to sustainable solutions.
Bob Buck, Ph.D.
Sustainability is a journey, not a destination. Our planet is not a static place. We have to change and evolve with it.