Submitted by The Chemours Company
When I think about this year’s Earth Month theme – Invest in Our Planet – I immediately view it through the lens of ESG investing and how sustainability is the biggest lever we have as a society to create lasting value. Sustainability trumps them all because, for the first time in human history, we have an opportunity, and some would say an obligation, to change everything.
It calls on us to look at everything we make and everything we do and improve it for the long-term benefit of humankind.
We need to make products and technologies last longer, we need to make them more circular, we need to reduce our carbon footprint, and we need to learn to manufacture and grow everything in the most responsible way possible. And if we can make things better, cheaper, faster, and maybe even “cooler” in the process, we can create new markets for sustainable products.
The World Economic Forum has done fundamental research into sizing the transition opportunity. They split the work into eight categories, including circularity, renewable power and heat, and switching our fuels. And these market opportunities here are gigantic—so much so that they’re not measured in billions but in trillions.
In fact, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum, the opportunity is worth more than $25 trillion.1 To put that in perspective, that is more than 25% of the current global gross domestic product.
Sustainability is a transformative opportunity, and our planet needs investment now. But where does a chemistry company like Chemours fit in here?
To answer that question, I'd like to underscore chemistry's fundamental role in reaching a sustainable future. Changing everything – moving to lower carbon fuels, decarbonizing our built environment, enabling the green technology innovations of the future – is impossible without innovations in chemistry, material science, or process engineering.
This work can’t be done from Silicon Valley or Wall Street. It’s happening in American cities like Corpus Christi, Texas, Fayetteville, North Carolina, and New Johnsonville, Tennessee. And in Altamira, Mexico, Villers-Saint-Paul, France, Dordrecht in The Netherlands, and other corners of the world.
These are places where the best chemists, operators, and engineers in the world are rolling up their sleeves to seize and drive opportunities that have sustainability as a core tenet.
They’ve brought Opteon™ low global warming potential refrigerants and thermal management solutions to our homes, cars, and the cold chain that keeps food fresh and medicine safe. And they’re driving the hydrogen economy forward with Nafion™ ion exchange membranes that enable the energy transition with the production of green hydrogen. And with Ti-Pure™ titanium dioxide pigment, they’re showing the industry what having the ambition to be the most sustainable titanium dioxide enterprise means for our manufacturing sites, customers, and communities.
We’re not just talking about sustainability; we’re doing something about it. We’re investing both in new product developments and technologies to help manufacture those products more responsibly. In Fayetteville, NC, we’ve invested in technologies that have decreased overall emissions of fluorinated organic compounds by 97% on our path to a greater than 99% reduction, and the site has dramatically reduced its carbon emissions as well.
And Chemours’ has made substantial progress against our 2030 goal to generate more than 50% of our revenue from products that contribute to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Today, greater than 47% of our revenue makes a specific contribution to the UN SDGs, and we have a clear pathway to achieving our goal well inside the target date of the end of this decade.
But we have more work to do, and the natural question is, where do we go from here?
I believe that we have the obligation – to ourselves, each other, our families, and society – to help drive the sustainability revolution. We are responsible for looking at everything we do, every product we make, and thinking about how it can contribute to a more sustainable future. Because it all starts with us, it all starts with chemistry, and it’s further enabled by partnerships.
We need everyone’s help – public and private, industry and academia – because we all have a role. Working together, we can help maximize our impact on the world and prove how sustainability is our biggest tailwind as a society.
Jonathan Lock is Chemours’ Chief Development Officer and helps to chart the company’s growth trajectory, including leading Chemours’ sustainability efforts. Interacting with Chemours’ shareholders, Jonathan offers a transparent view into the company’s current and future growth plans. Read more about our Corporate Responsibility Commitment here.
1 Boston Consulting Group Climate & Sustainability Perspective September 2022: The 25+ trillion Greentech prize
About The Chemours Company
The Chemours Company (NYSE: CC) is a global leader in Titanium Technologies, Thermal & Specialized Solutions, and Advanced Performance Materials providing its customers
with solutions in a wide range of industries with market-defining products, application expertise and chemistry-based innovations. We deliver customized solutions with a wide range of industrial and specialty chemicals products for markets, including coatings, plastics, refrigeration and air conditioning, transportation, semiconductor and consumer electronics, general industrial, and oil and gas. Our flagship products are sold under prominent brands such as Ti-Pure™, Opteon™, Freon™, Teflon™, Viton™, Nafion™, and Krytox™. The company has approximately 6,600 employees and 29 manufacturing sites serving approximately 2,900 customers in approximately 120 countries. Chemours is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware and is listed on the NYSE under the symbol CC.
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