At the time of this report’s publication, we find ourselves at a pivotal point in history. While many have long recognized the need to take action to address some of society’s greatest challenges, the global pandemic, extreme weather events and issues of economic and racial divide have further emphasized that this is the time for action.
Three years ago, our company began a journey that significantly increased our focus and attention on sustainability issues across the enterprise. While there certainly is more to do, I am very proud to report that with focus and hard work, our dedicated team has made significant progress in a short period of time.
In the pages that follow, you will read how we have developed our sustainability strategy in the past year. We have an even deeper understanding of the business risks and opportunities of transitioning to a low-carbon, circular economy and have identified actions we will take to help tackle three global challenges society faces during this decade of action:
- Eliminating plastic waste
- Addressing climate change
- Supporting a thriving society
As part of our focus on longer-term priorities, LyondellBasell has been taking substantive action to advance our sustainability goals. For instance, to help address our three priority areas we have:
- Added mechanically recycled and renewable feedstock-based polymers to our product offerings;
- Invested in molecular recycling (also called chemical or advanced recycling) with the goal to bring this potentially game-changing technology to commercial scale;
- Played a leading role in establishing the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), the first global, cross value chain organization to address this major issue;
- Developed a roadmap to reduce our carbon footprint; and
- Appointed the company’s first Chief Talent & Diversity Officer and are working to further emphasize diversity and inclusion in our cultural and talent management programs.
By 2030, our ambition is to produce and market two million metric tons of recycled and renewable-based polymers annually.
Advancing the circular economy
LyondellBasell aspires to be an industry leader in the production and marketing of recycled and renewable-based polymers. By 2030, our ambition is to produce and market two million metric tons of recycled and renewable-based polymers annually. This is a major commitment which will enable our customers and value chain partners, in turn, to transform their businesses. Achieving this ambitious goal will require collaboration with our customers, suppliers, brandowners, industry associations and governments to:
- Increase waste management systems and recycling infrastructure across the globe. Our mechanical and molecular recycling technologies depend on a sufficient stream of plastic waste to serve as feedstock.
- Develop uniform standards for recycling, including a mass balance approach in order to make molecular recycling work at scale. Once plastic waste is broken down into its component molecules for use as feedstock, traceability of recycled content is critical for packaging companies and brands to communicate the use of recycled content to customers, ultimately creating more demand for recycled plastics. This same approach is applied today to paper and renewable energy.
- Expand tax incentives to encourage the rapid growth of research and development in next generation recycling technologies, as well as the development of alternative feedstocks from renewable sources.
Our response to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us how critical plastics are to nearly every sector of the economy, especially healthcare. For example, the polypropylene resins produced by LyondellBasell are used to produce melt-blown fibers that provide filtration in facemasks; masterbatch products are used in breathable films for protective suits; and, polypropylene, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide are used to make medical syringes, medical test kits, soaps, disinfectants and many other products.
As the impacts of the pandemic intensified, and given the critical nature of these materials to combatting this global crisis, I am proud of the way our team quickly adapted to a new way of working, ensuring operations at our manufacturing sites and other business functions continued in order to meet customer demand while adhering to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
A renewed focus on diversity and inclusion
As a global company with a diverse workforce, we have always aspired to create a culture of inclusion where diverse ideas, experiences and perspectives are valued. The events of 2020, however, caused all of us to stop and ask ourselves if we are doing enough to combat issues of race and discrimination.
In July 2020, we accelerated our efforts in the area of diversity and inclusion with the appointment of a Chief Talent & Diversity Officer and the establishment of an employee Diversity Council. We have asked this group, in addition to external experts, to help us evaluate our policies, talent practices and other programs to ensure every employee can achieve his or her full potential.
It is my expectation that diversity and inclusion will be a purposeful, measurable and sustainable part of LyondellBasell’s culture, similar to how we view safety, where we strive to consistently be an industry leader.
These complex, global and systemic issues we are facing cannot be solved by one company or even one industry alone. As we enter our decade of action, I look forward to sharing progress on the ambitious goals we’ve set. We do not claim to have all the answers, and I invite you to join us as we form new partnerships and collaborations that will help us all reach the scale and impact needed to make a difference and Advance what is Possible.