Chemical Portfolio Players Balancing the needs of today and tomorrow in difficult times

| August 21, 2017

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The recent recession has been difficult for most businesses, and the chemicals industry is no exception. But the downturn hasn’t affected every chemical company equally. Some have fared significantly better than others—and their experience offers some lessons as the industry moves forward.

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Haldor Topsoe A/S

Haldor Topsoe A/S (est. 1940) is a world leader in heterogeneous catalysis, which is key to the world’s industrial production. When a catalyst enters a chemical process, the chemical reaction is accelerated, reducing energy-consumption.

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THE BUSINESS CASE FOR SUSTAINABILITY IN THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY IN 2020 & BEYOND

Article | March 3, 2020

Sustainability fervor – which has been building in importance over the past few years – has reached a new height in 2020. Chemical industry leaders made lofty statements at the World Economic Forum in Davos about the importance of engaging in sustainable development. Despite that, the chemicals industry is big, conservative, and typically slow to move. This raises the question: "What factors will really force change in the chemicals industry, and what does that change look like?" In this blog, we examine three possible drivers of change – carbon taxes, investor pressure, and supply chain pressure – and discuss their possible implications. We specifically focus on chemical companies, as highly carbon-intensive industries like cement and steel face a very different picture with respect to sustainability challenges.

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Global polyethylene demand boom likely, increasing the sustainability challenge

Article | June 15, 2021

IT FEELS LIKE several lifetimes ago. If you recall, way back in November-December 2019 Asian variable cost integrated naphtha-based polyethylene (PE) margins turned negative because of the increase in US capacity. Then in January the following year, deep Asian and Middle East operating rate cuts returned some order to the market. Then, bang, as we all know, the pandemic arrived and turned everything on its head. The pandemic has, in my view, accentuated trends that were already well underway. I believe this means that the supply-driven downturn that started in late 2019 will not return.Long before coronavirus upended everyone’s lives, PE demand was becoming increasingly divorced from GDP growth because of the shifting nature of end-use demand. Booming internet sales was, I believe, a major factor behind the split between the growth of the overall economies in the developed world plus China and PE demand.The average product bought online is dropped 17 times because of the large number of people involved in the logistics chain, according to Forbes. This had led to a surge in demand for protective packaging made not from PE and other polymers such as polypropylene, expandable polystyrene and PET films (I will look at their demand growth prospects in later posts).Despite sustainability pressures, the scale of demand for stuff bought online translated to a lot more consumption of virgin polymers.

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Removal of non-industrial chemicals from the NICNAS Inventory

Article | March 23, 2020

The Australian Government announced its intention to implement reforms to the way in which industrial chemicals are regulated. The reforms are intended to streamline the process of assessing industrial chemicals to reduce the regulatory burden and to make regulatory effort more proportionate to risk. The Industrial Chemicals Act, which was passed by Parliament in February of 2019 and received Royal Assent in March of 2019, creates a new framework for the regulation of imported or manufactured industrial chemicals. The new scheme, referred to as the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme, or AICIS, will replace the current National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme, referred to as NICNAS.

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The pandemic, climate change, plastic waste and the great divide: the world in 2025

Article | June 13, 2021

NOBODY SHOULD be surprised that the developing world has fallen behind in the battle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as the region is a long way from recovering from the pandemic.Evidence to this effect emerged last week in comments made by Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA). “In many emerging and developing economies, emissions are heading upwards while clean energy investments are faltering, creating a dangerous fault line in global efforts to reach climate and sustainable energy goals,” said Birol. At the current rate, carbon dioxide emissions from developing countries largely in Asia, Africa and Latin America are set to increase by 5bn tonnes/year over the next two decades, according to the IEA, as access to power increases.At present, around 785m people worldwide have no access to electricity. There are also 2.6bn people without access to clean cooking options.

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Spotlight

Haldor Topsoe A/S

Haldor Topsoe A/S (est. 1940) is a world leader in heterogeneous catalysis, which is key to the world’s industrial production. When a catalyst enters a chemical process, the chemical reaction is accelerated, reducing energy-consumption.

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