Plastic Sustainability Needs Innovation…But It Can Also Drive It

No one I know wants waste plastic in the environment, and everyone I know wants to find a solution to this problem. The good news is LyondellBasell is working in earnest to accelerate the circular economy, create innovative chemical recycling processes, and develop new business models like our mechanical recycling QCP joint venture. Even during this challenging period of COVID-19, our company remains committed to our sustainability strategy and related actions. 

Around the world, I think most of humanity sees the importance of sustainability to our communities and our planet. Population and consumption are increasing, resources are finite and we risk polluting our air, our seas and our environment. We must maintain the economic development that brings people out of poverty, but business as usual will not be enough. So how do we contribute to prosperity while leaving our planet a better place for future generations?

As the world struggles with the repercussions of the COVID-19 virus, we should be proud of the vital role that many of our products play in facing up to that challenge. Our company, and our industry, are made up of great people making products that society needs. At this very moment, LyondellBasell team members are hard at work keeping our plants running safely and reliably, ensuring that our products are available to make medical devices, protective equipment, cleaning products and pharmaceutical applications.

Companies such as ours, are no longer thinking about sustainability solely in terms of reputation, risk management and resource efficiency. We are creating new business models that address these challenges while delivering the products that benefit society. In doing so, we connect with our customer’s and consumer’s values as well as their functional needs.

Over the past few months, the coronavirus outbreak has caused the world to reconsider and reevaluate many things that might have otherwise been taken for granted. As our communities, individuals and families are impacted, our society is considering many issues in a new light. In the lead up to 2020, critics of our industry had been particularly active in seeking to shape a negative public opinion about our products. While the past several weeks have brought the importance of our products into extremely sharp focus we know that the issue of plastic waste must be addressed, and we are committed to being part of that solution.

Bold innovation means imagining a future different than today. By collaborating with stakeholders beyond direct customers, including brand owners, legislators, and even startup companies, LyondellBasell is working to position our products and services for that future. This means challenging the way we think as well as the things that we make – perhaps the toughest part of any successful innovation.

LyondellBasell’s rich history in innovation shows that, together, we can do this.

Jim Seward, SVP, Research & Development, Technology & Sustainability