Genomatica Reveals Advances & Concerns for Sustainability & Renewable Chemicals

SpecialChem - December 13th, 2017
Genomatica has announced publication of the results of a major survey of sustainability issues in the mainstream chemical industry. The survey was conducted together with ICIS, the world’s largest petrochemical market information provider.

Sustainability & Renewable Chemicals

The survey, fourth in a series it has conducted since 2009, revealed substantial advances for sustainability and renewable chemicals in general, for chemical producers, users (companies making products from basic and intermediate chemicals) and distributors.

The survey covered topics with regards to sustainable chemicals:

  • Overall strategy and actions; 
  • Current and planned use; 
  • Commitment levels; 
  • Customer interest; 
  • Primary adoption factors; 
  • Predictions of future adoption and use; 
  • And perceptions of industry leaders

Complete findings and analysis are available via an ICIS article; commentary on key results from Genomatica’s CEO, Christophe Schilling; a complete set of 36 slides; and the 2014 survey results for comparison.

High Interest and High Optimism for Renewables

Producers report that 65% of their customers are interested in sustainably-produced chemicals. And 63% report a higher level of interest from their customers than three years ago; only 36% responded this way to a similar question in the 2014 survey. This near-doubling of increasing interest includes a sizable 17% showing much greater interest.

That interest is reflected in producer and user attitudes and plans:


  • 87% of producers believe it’s important to be a leader in sustainable chemicals, with 46% rating it very important; 61% of producers and 47% of users are highly committed to offering or using sustainable chemicals;
  • they are increasingly offering and planning to offer sustainable chemicals, with almost four out of five producers expecting to offer more sustainable chemicals within the next few years;
  • they are adopting a multi-pronged strategy on renewables, with 32% of producers and 22% of users already investing in R&D, and large numbers committed to, using or planning to use renewables.

Additionally, more than half of all producers now believe there is long-term economic advantage in switching some of their feedstocks to renewables (54% in 2017 compared to 43% in 2014); an additional 28% aren’t sure yet.

For the first time, we asked respondents their opinions about long-term adoption of renewables, as a type of “Renewables Confidence Index.” A remarkable 71% of mainstream chemical industry respondents believe renewable chemicals will be in common use in five years.

Perceptions for Sustainability Technology

As with previous surveys, respondents had to list the companies, unprompted, that they think of as technology leaders for sustainable chemicals and as producers. And they were asked them to rate several specific companies with regard to sustainability technology. Genomatica was rated #1, with Novozymes and BASF following in total positive responses.

Genomatica’s rating, up from third place in 2014, benefits from continued commercialization and innovation results, for both bio-butanediol and bio-butylene glycol, recently recognized with the ICIS Innovation Award.

Supporting Quotes

ICIS global editor and organizer of the survey, John Baker said:

“This latest survey clearly shows that the mainstream chemical industry is continuing to learn, plan and act with regards to sustainability. We saw notable indicators on numerous topics, reflecting greater understanding of biotech’s potential role.”

CEO of Genomatica, Christophe Schilling said:

“This survey provides hard data to confirm the transition toward greater sustainability in the mainstream chemical industry. Chemical producers and downstream firms are increasingly seeing that biotech can deliver, with commercial-scale plants and solid economics. We will continue to push out innovations and deliver technologies to make this transition even more advantageous.”

Source: Genomatica
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