Advanced Materials Forum Europe 2021 recap

Innovation & advancements in sustainability

The second annual Advanced Materials Forum (AMF) Europe, a 100% online forum about materials solutions, held on Tuesday, May 18, featured a full day of presentations and panel discussions from industry experts. Manufacturing leaders—particularly in electrification and automotive, powertrain, gears, water and food contact, and medical applications—attended sessions covering the latest  advancements in sustainability, plus innovations in material science and application development. 

Sustainability innovations in material solutions

Attendees had the opportunity to attend three Sustainability sessions. In the first session, Sustainability @ Envalior, Kim van Neer, Sustainability Program Manager, discussed how Envalior works with customers to support them on their own sustainable journey via Envalior’s four-pillar approach, which builds the foundation for our sustainability strategy—Brighter Living Solutions, Product Stewardship and Safety, Carbon Footprint and Circular Economy.

When looking at sustainability from a global perspective, climate change, accumulating plastic waste and depleting resources are extremely relevant to Envalior, its customers and society at large.

“As a company we believe we have a responsibility, and we are looking into how we can decrease greenhouse gas emissions of our products to battle climate change; how plastic waste can be used as a feedstock to produce new plastics again instead of the accumulating plastics ending up in landfills; and using bio-based materials to enable transition from fossil based feedstock to a renewable based industry,” explained van Neer. “With these solutions we believe we can not only support our customers making sustainable choices, but we contribute to a better and more sustainable future for all.”   

Envalior has a strong track record of sustainable innovations in engineering plastics—from developing the bio-based EcoPaXX® and Arnitel® Eco to driving an initiative that upcycles discarded fishing nets to create Akulon® RePurposed; followed by mass balancing routes either based on biomass waste or chemical recycling of plastic waste.

“There are many industry players that have circular ambitions now with a strong drive to move away from fossil based energy sources and look at recycled or renewable feedstock instead,” said van Neer. “At Envalior we share that ambition, and by 2030 we want to have bio- and or recycled based alternatives for our entire portfolio. Products will have the same properties and performance as current fossil based materials, which means no requalification is needed and no compromises are made on performance.”

Global climate challenges are sustainable opportunities 

During the session Accelerating the Transition Towards a Circular Bio-Economy, Mercedes Alonso, Executive Vice President for Renewable Polymers and Chemicals at Neste , discussed how Neste's decades-long commitment to sustainability has enabled the company to transform itself from a regional oil refining company towards a global leader in renewable solutions.

Neste refines waste, residues and raw materials into renewable fuels and sustainable feedstock for plastics and other materials. The company’s key target is helping customers and partners reach their sustainability targets.

“We are committed to reaching carbon neutrality in our production by 2035,” said Alonso. “This is an enormous undertaking, one which will require new ways of thinking, innovation and plenty of cooperation. We will help our customers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 million tons annually by 2035.” 

Neste also works closely with value chain partners to close the plastic loop towards circularity and a bioeconomy. “We work together to reduce fossil oil dependency and climate emissions and rethink the end-of-life circulatory,” explained Alonso. “No one can address this problem by themselves, which is why we believe collaboration is key. We must work together towards a circular economy and accelerate the speed at which we are reducing our reliance on fossil oil, not only in energy, but in materials too.”

Alonso also discussed Neste RE—an innovative, 100% renewable and recycled raw material for plastics and chemicals production. The renewable component of Neste RE is produced from bio-based raw materials, such as waste and residue fats and oils. The recycled component of Neste RE consists of chemically recycled waste plastics, such as colored multilayered or multi material packaging and films. Renewable and recycled components can be used either separately or as a mix.

During the session, Sustainability & the Environment at Continental, Thomas Sewald, Head of Group Environmental & Climate Protection for Continental and Steffen Schwarz-Höfler, Head of Group Sustainability for Continental shared how Continental’s approach is part of the solution for the global sustainability challenges regarding climate.

“Sustainability is at the heart of our business and in the hearts of our people,” said Schwarz-Höfler. “Future business is sustainable business, and if we want to overcome these current challenges we find opportunity in Carbon neutrality, emission-free mobility and industry, the circular economy and a responsible value chain.” 

This May, Continental introduced a pioneering contribution for carbon neutrality and emission-free mobility across its entire value change. Starting in 2022, Continental will target Carbon neutrality for emission-free vehicles, thus, neutralize the CO2 backpack related to Continental’s Zero Tailpipe Emission Vehicles (ZTEV) Business. The first step is for the emissions from the CO2 backpack—raw materials, production, logistics and utilization at the end of product life—to be neutralized by generating negative emissions of the same magnitude.

“Emission-free mobility and carbon neutrality along our entire value chain are indispensably interlinked challenges,”” explained Schwarz-Höfler. “Without solutions for mobility there is no global carbon neutrality, and if we go towards carbon neutrality goals, it means there can be emission free mobility.” 

To learn more about the presentations or connect with one of our subject matter experts, please contact us.

Candace Roulo

Global Manager of Messaging and Content Development

Published on

28 May 2021


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Candace Roulo

Global Manager of Messaging and Content Development

Candace Roulo is Global Manager of Messaging and Content Development for Envalior. Based in Troy, Michigan, she specializes in writing blogs and articles about advanced materials solutions. Prior to joining Envalior, Candace served in editorial roles at SME and Penton Media. Candace earned her bachelor’s degree in communication, specializing in public relations, at Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

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