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Report: Green chemistry could save companies $65.5B

Slowly but surely, the industry is embracing renewable feedstocks to replace at least some petroleum-derived processes. Those companies that don't will be at a competitive disadvantage.
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Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

New data from Pike Research suggests that not only is green chemistry better for the planet, it could help save the industry more than $65.5 billion by the end of the decade.

Green chemistry refers to the process of using renewable feedstocks for chemical processes, rather than choosing petroleum alternatives. The feedstocks might include cellulosic materials such as wood, agricultural waste, or non-food plants such as switchgrass.

The Pike Research report, aptly called "Green Chemistry," details the cost savings that can be gleaned by switching to green alternatives both in terms of direct savings and in terms of environmental and social impacts. Those savings could reach $65.5 billion by 2020, according to Pike.

The firm's senior analyst Mackinnon Lawrence noted:

"The worldwide chemical industry is valued at around $4 trillion, so even small improvements in efficiency can have very large impacts. Just by bringing laggard companies up to the baseline standard of the industry as a whole, it's possible to capture more than $40 billion in cost savings and avoided liabilities."

Not to mention the fact that it is more sustainable in the long-term to switch to renewable feedstocks and reduce a company's dependence on petroleum-derived processes. The movement isn't just being pushed by environmentalists, which to me suggests that it is more of a long-term shift in doing business.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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