Cefic has just published a report outlining a plausible path toward a prosperous, more sustainable Europe in the year 2050. The ‘Molecule Managers: A journey into the Future of Europe with the European Chemical Industry’ document outlines a vision of the chemical industry as a central enabler of this transition and issues an invitation to discuss the urgent decisions required to achieve a world that is cleaner, healthier and more inclusive, where the transition to climate neutrality has been socially fair, and in which Europe maintains its global relevance.
Cefic believes that the chemical industry can thrive as it helps Europe define its global advantage in a rapidly changing international landscape, by doing things ‘the European way’. This means inspiring innovation to enable circular business models, to lead on sustainability and to be at the forefront of developing and deploying new sustainable technologies. It also means integrating more closely with sectors outside the chemical industry and expanding beyond internationally. And it means to be seen by customers and consumers as leading the way.
The chemical industry can play an important role as the producer of the building blocks on which modern society is built and be a crucial solution provider for a fully circular and carbon neutral society. This is a vision that SusChem clearly supports and is already working to achieve.
The Molecule Managers report offers the following eight-point vision for 2050:
- Geopolitics – the world has become more prosperous and more complex, with a fragmented and volatile geopolitical environment.
- Economics – the EU has developed its own different, but competitive place in the global economy.
- Circularity - the European economy is circular, recycling all molecules into new raw materials.
- Climate - climate change continues to transform our planet.
- Environment - protection of human health and the environment are central to the European political agenda.
- Industry - European industry is more integrated and collaborative in an EU-wide network of power, fuels, steel, chemicals and waste recycling sectors.
- Digitalisation – has enabled a radical change to the way we work, communicate, innovate, produce and consume and brought unprecedented transparency to value chains.
- UN SDGs (and their successors) – are at the heart of European business models.
The report development process was launched by Cefic in October 2017 with wide-ranging research and analysis. A portfolio of high-level assumptions most likely to impact the chemical industry were developed and tested through a Delphi study. Based on this work a realistic and actionable vision statement was developed as a starting point for wider dialogue on the European chemical industry and its socio-political environment through to 2050.
The European chemical industry will be at the heart of the circular and net carbon neutral economy, but this is a society-wide challenge. The Molecule Managers report is an invitation from the chemical sector to start the discussion needed to jointly develop now the solutions our society needs for the future.