The chemical industry is a robust sector in Europe, in terms of productivity and employment, but it is also at the root of all other industries.
Innovation in the chemicals sector not only provides Europe with raw materials and consumer products, it also leads to the development of advanced materials (such as hybrid and lightweight materials, materials for tissue engineering, self-cleaning surfaces, and energy recovery and storage), and advanced process technologies that enable more flexible production with more efficient use of energy, feedstock and water. Furthermore, it contributes to improving recyclability and increases the use of renewable feedstock.
Tomorrow starts with chemistry
The European chemical industry has a pivotal role to play in making Europe 2020 happen and is working in close collaboration with the EU institutions on the best ways to address the present and future challenges.
The chemicals sector – one of the few European industries that still retains world leadership, stands ready to play a leading role in the development and implementation of major EU innovation programmes such as:
- Sustainable Process Industries for Resource & Energy efficiency (SPIRE)
- European Innovation Partnership on raw materials
- European Innovation Partnership on water
- EU High Level Group on key enabling technologies
To ensure the success of these initiatives of key importance to Europe’s competitiveness, industry offers to put to use the proven track record of SusChem, the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry.
A paradigm shift to speed up innovation
Traditionally, societal challenges were tackled by working up along the value chain, starting from the providers of final consumer products, who are publicly visible as market leaders and innovators. Such a linear approach, although safe and conventional, has not delivered on its expectations in the past. To speed up innovation in Europe, this traditional method of working needs to be complemented with an approach that brings together and stimulates innovation at key stages of the value chain simultaneously, in order to create competition and breakthrough to comprehensive solutions.
What we have ahead of us requires a speed change and a paradigm shift for public and private actors alike, in order to turn the vision of a sustainable, smart and inclusive Europe into reality.