The very fact that you’re reading these words depends on chemistry. The fact that you may be doing so in a comfortable room, no matter the weather outside, depends on that same science. Chemistry has enabled modern society to advance, and it has been such a succession of life-improving wonders that for a long time, few have paid much attention to how progress has impacted the world.
We are now. From its earliest days, Chemours set out to be a different kind of chemistry company, one that combines an essential portfolio of products with an unwavering commitment to safety, responsibility and diversity & inclusion. In the next normal, we achieve that by embracing and leading responsible chemistry: an ethic that drives what Chemours does, from the products we make and the processes we use to the things we touch and the people who make up our workforce. Responsible chemistry combines the societal progress chemistry is responsible for with the responsibilities chemistry carries. Through it, we can continue to contribute to advancements like 5G communications, the future of electric vehicles, and a revolution in renewable energy envisioned by the hydrogen economy, all while reducing our impact on our shared planet.
We are responsible for making products that improve lives, and we carry the responsibility to do that inclusively and sustainably. As our world moves towards a new concept of what constitutes normal, that’s what investors (through their Environmental, Social, and Governance, or ESG, guidelines), customers (through their own corporate social responsibility goals), society (through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals), and communities (through local politics, advocacy, and protests) expect of us. And it’s what the population at large demands of the companies they support. We feel the same way. After all, responsibility is coded into our corporate values and purpose.
Meeting the Demand for Responsible Solutions
That commitment led us to codify just what we had in mind, setting goals for producing a portfolio of offerings that meet the growing, changing needs of the world but that do so responsibly. By looking from end-to-end on every product, we are able to improve performance and sustainability throughout their lifecycles. We’re devoted to solving tomorrow’s problems, just as much as we are today’s, and so we focus our research and development on sustainable, responsible solutions that satisfy human demands, power progress, and improve lives, while reducing their impact on the planet.
That devotion led us to reimagine our portfolio, and our new refrigerant solutions are a powerful example. Refrigeration is a transformative technology. It improved the lives of uncounted billions by taking the sting out of hot summer days and dangerous heat waves. It built a cold chain that enabled perishable goods to travel to market and opened up vast new frontiers in medicine. It is an essential part of delivering vaccines to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. But we understand that we carry the responsibility for creating refrigeration that has a lower environmental impact, and that’s where Opteon™ low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants, foams, and fluids come in. Opteon™ refrigerants are transforming the transportation market, changing the way we cool large spaces, and helping people all along the cold chain meet environmental regulations with no decline in performance.
Breaking Free of Carbon
Responsible chemistry is also an essential ingredient in a new, hydrogen-based renewable energy economy, which is being enabled by Nafion™ membranes and dispersions. And responsible chemistry is driving a revolution on the roads, too. Teflon™ fluoropolymers and Nafion™ proton exchange membranes and dispersions make electric, hydrogen, and fuel-cell vehicles possible.
Jump-starting the hydrogen economy is urgent, and is key to the planet-wide effort to decarbonize the industrial and energy sectors. The role Nafion™ plays in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels dovetails with the enduring effect responsible refrigerants like Opteon™ have on reducing greenhouse gasses. Chemours is setting an example for the industry in responsible manufacturing, undertaking significant capital investments to minimize our environmental impact and committing to sharply reduce our carbon footprint.
Innovation Born of Diversity
To build this different kind of chemistry company—one that’s geared to answer the challenges of the future—we need a more diverse, inclusive workforce. Studies show companies with above-average levels of diversity perform better and are more innovative1,2. It takes a diverse group of inspired people to generate responsible chemistry. To create more breakthrough ideas to bring about the next normal, we must make chemistry a more diverse, inclusive industry, one that works for all people, because they’re represented within it. That’s not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing, too. After all, an inclusive and diverse workforce, enhances our innovation and customer experience, and strengthens our understanding of the communities we serve. We are the only publicly traded company in our industry committed to building a global workforce that is 50% women. And we intend to do that by 2030.
We need to do more than open our doors to all; we need to make sure that anyone who wants to can pursue a career in chemistry, or any science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) discipline. The chemical industry has a poor record for diversity, and one of the ways to solve that is to provide the educational opportunities that make science-based industries an option for more people, which we are doing with scholarship programs.
At Chemours, we carry our responsibilities with pride and with real optimism for the future. Human progress in the next normal depends on chemistry and responsibility coming together for a better world.