“The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has given a very clear guidance, not only for citizens, but also for corporations on how the (sustainable) future should look like.”
Covestro’s plans to establish a circular economy business model throughout its company is going in the right direction, CEO Dr. Markus Steilemann told Bio Market Insights at the sidelines of the K 2019 plastics trade fair.
The Germany-based high-tech polymer manufacturer is exhibiting at the show, which is located in Dusseldorf, Germany, and is running from 16 October to 23 October.
Speaking directly to BMI, Steilemann (@MSteilemann ) said: “We are taking small steps to achieve circularity and we are going in the right direction.”
Steilemann went on to acknowledge that the transition to a linear model to a circular model would not happen “overnight”. He said the Industrial Revolution took a while to develop and it would take “a while for sustainable steps to develop”.
His comments follow a recent global circular economy launch by Covestro (@covestro) to promote the circular economy.
The materials manufacturer has already taken several steps to establish circularity throughout its business. For instance, it is currently capturing CO2 from the air and using a chemical process to convert it into new products like soft foam for mattresses, binders for professional sporting turfs and fibres for textiles.
The main aim of the company’s circular economy programme is to achieve what it describes as the greatest possible departure from fossil resources such as crude oil. It also wants to make sure that all used plastics are “recycled systematically and to the greatest possible extent”.
Speaking to journalists at a special media briefing at a pre-K 2019 event under the theme of ‘#pushing boundaries’, Steilemann said that it had developed its CO2 initiative from “the lab into commercial production” in the space of just ten years. According to Covestro, this process typically takes around 30 years.
Essentially, Covestro is aiming to run a circular programme that looks into each and every area of the company and each and every material that it is currently producing, “to make sure that we get circularity into our industry and our products”, Steilemann explained.
He also said that closing the cycle was on the “top” of the company’s agenda.
In a separate statement, Steilemann promoted the benefits of plastics and said: “Plastic waste in our oceans is essentially the result of inadequate waste management. Plastic in itself is not the problem and should not be prohibited. On the contrary, high-quality plastics are a problem solver and are urgently needed – for renewable energies, new forms of mobility and sustainable construction, for instance.”
Elsewhere, speaking at the same pre-K 2019 media event, Steilemann maintained that the two major topics of sustainability and digitialisation would help to shape Covestro’s world and the general polymer and chemical industry.
Under the umbrella of sustainability, he said the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) gave “very clear guidance, not only for citizens, but also for corporations on how the (sustainable) future should look like”. He said it asked questions like ‘what are the bearing points that will help us to guide our activities?’
In relation to digitialisation, Steilemann said it will help Covestro to bring production “to a new level” and “make better quality products”. He also said innovations like “tracking and tracing where a customer’s order was” could help provide new opportunities to the business. However, he also maintained that “humans will still be at the centre of all activities”, even though there was a push for digitialisation.