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Braskem demonstrates its pioneering efforts in the Circular Economy at K Fair

The Brazilian petrochemical leader will highlight its solutions to the most important opportunity facing the industry

During this year's K Fair, Braskem is highlighting its efforts to develop a Circular Economy in plastics and chemicals. Braskem engaged in the Circular Economy long before the concept was popularized. Since 2002, Braskem has committed to the principles of sustainable development, dramatically improving its own ecoefficiency and working with its suppliers, clients and others stakeholders to strengthen the value chain's contribution to sustainable development. In 2009, Braskem issued a public commitment to seek innovative and sustainable solutions that contribute to a reduction of CO2 emissions. The Bio-based plastic produced by Braskem is part of the pioneerism towards the low carbon and circular economies that Braskem has lead. Some 17 years after its foundation, Braskem has an annual capacity of 200kt of bio-based polyethylene and it is the global leader in biopolymers production. 

"Sustainability has always been in Braskem's DNA. From the very start, we looked at how we can make a positive contribution to our environment, both on the social and the environmental side," said Marco Jansen, Director of Circular Economy at Braskem in Europe and Asia. "Way before the circular economy started to become a hot topic in the sector, we were already focusing on recycling, waste reduction, and investing in bio-based resins."

In 2018, Braskem made a public announcement which embeds the circular economy into its core business strategy. The company has committed that it will work to develop partnerships to expand and facilitate recycling and the reuse of plastic; increase its investments in the use and research of renewable feedstocks, such as bio-based EVA made from sugarcane; engage consumers through education programs that promote conscious consumerism; support initiatives that aim to prevent ocean debris; and finally, support new business models, new technologies , and waste reduction initiatives such as material collection, sorting, mechanical and chemical recycling, and recovery systems.

New Products, Future Possibilities and Consumer Engagment

Braskem is always focused on developing new technologies and products that align with the objectives of the Circular Economy. In addition to its suite of bio-based products, Braskem will showcase at K Fair  new recycled plastics solutions, including its mixed bio-based and recycled resins products and its new recycled hexane solvent that it is developing in South America, North America, and Europe. Furthermore, Braskem is conducting trials at its commercial plant of converting feedstock derived from Chemical Recycling of waste plastics, back into chemicals and plastics. The trials may be complete until the end of 2019. The company will still boost its investment and trials in the field of chemical recycling, as well as the development of new recycled resins,  renewable polypropylene, and the proposed expansion of its bio-based plastic capacity in Triunfo - RS, Brazil, where the resins derived from sugarcane ethanol are made.

Braskem has been actively engaging with consumers to promote a mindset change around plastic products with actions in South and North America, focused on developing new technologies, business models and systems for improving the recycling chain and recovering the material, with examples including: 

  • SER+, a program that aims to increase the recycling of post-consumer waste in Brazil in a collaborative manner and improving the lives and working conditions of more than 8,700 waste pickers;
  • Plastianguis, a partnership with ANIQ - Asociación Nacional de la Industria Química, in Mexico, to increase awareness in the local population of Nanchital, Veracruz, of the value of post-consumer plastic. The program has already involved more than 4,000 people from the local community and collected and recovered more than 61 tons of plastic waste; 
  • Since 2013, Braskem is part of Edukatu, the Akatu Institute's online learning platform. Through the tool, over five years, more than 43,000 teachers and students of primary education in Brazil were given access to vital information in how to exercise conscious consumption on a daily basis; 
  • In the U.S., Braskem has a multi-year partnership with the Philadelphia Eagles, the American Football team and 2018 Super Bowl champions, to collect and recycle plastic bottle caps and other plastic materials used at Lincoln Financial Field and at the team's training center in Pennsylvania. It also includes an educational project aimed at regional public schools to promote career opportunities in STEM. During this first-year partnership, more than 550,000 bottle caps were recycled and 3,000 students participated in the project.  

The petrochemical company also undestands that the Circular Economy challenge can't be overcome alone. This is why Braskem supports many business organizations like the Alliance to End Plastics Waste and the Operation Clean Sweep, to enhance the joint effort for developing innovative and sustainable solutions based on plastic. Braskem integrates the alliance, which is a non-profit organization that encompasses the entire plastics value chain: companies that produce, use, sell, process, collect and recycle plastics. Operation Clean Sweep is an international initiative of the plastics industry to reduce the quantity of plastic pellets lost in the environment. By joining the program, Braskem committed to adhere to best practices for pellet control in all regions that the company has operation. 

Gaining recognition in Sustainable Development

With these and more initiatives designed to promote a more sustainable industry, Braskem's leadership in sustainable development has been acknowledged by multiple third party stakeholders who are experts in the space. Braskem is part of the United Nations Global Compact Lead Companies (2012-2019), a select group of companies leading the application of the United Nations Global Compact universal principles in business. In 2019 Braskem was included on the triple A List of CDP Climate, CDP Water and CDP Supply Chain., making it one of only 16 companies listed in both the Climate and Water indices among 7,000 participants. Braskem is also ranked in the Yearbook RobecoSAM for the 6th consecutive year (2014-2019) as one of the most Sustainable companies in the world and was certified by the Ecovadis Platform (2016-2018), an international supplier monitoring system that evaluates the environmental, social, governance and compliance practices adopted by companies in their operations and supplier management.