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Borouge commits to a sustainable future in challenging times
Source:Eddie Wang, Senior VP Asia North, Borouge    Editor:    Date:21.Oct.2020

The first half of 2020 was truly an “unprecedented time”. On a personal level, I entered the plastics industry and joined Borouge as an 18-year veteran from specialty chemicals. Supported by my colleagues, customers and industry partners, the journey has been exceptionally interesting. At the industry level, we experienced lower oil prices and a series of rollercoaster events caused by market volatility.

 

The uncertainty around us has triggered several shifts in the plastics industry, such as healthcare and hygiene related plastics experiencing an unprecedented surge in demand while the demand for durable goods has shrunk. In general, there is a more conservative view on future capacity planning in petroleum downstream given the lack of visibility. Some local governments are considering revoking their policy on “plastics ban” and “circular economy” topics have made way for more pressing topics. 


Eddie Wang - Senior Vice President, Borouge_web.jpg

Eddie Wang, Senior Vice President Asia North, Borouge.

 

Striving towards a positive impact on society

 

Amid the changing industry landscape, Borouge continues to strive to be the recognised leader in innovative plastics solutions that have a positive impact on society.

 

As the world battles COVID-19, there is escalating demand for medical and hygiene related polyolefins used in PPE (personal protective equipment) such as medical gowns and surgical masks, clinical supplies (syringes and IV bags), as well as medical equipment (ventilators). Plastics are also a key material used in the bottling and packaging of current daily necessities such as sanitisers, disinfectants and wipes. Throughout the pandemic, meeting customers’ needs of “battleground supplies” has remained the top priority for Borouge.

 

One of our customers in the packaging segment, a leading manufacturer for household disinfectants, reached out to Borouge for help. In early February, their major factory located in Hubei province was impacted by the national shutdown which disrupted their supply chain for packaging material. In the following days, the Borouge team overcame tremendous logistics challenges and successfully delivered our material to the customer. It was a proud moment for our team that our dedication could in turn contribute to the well-being of millions of people.

 

Driving a sustainable future

 

Beyond the pandemic, we face many challenges in safeguarding our environment and the overall health of the Earth. Rising world population coupled with fast urbanisation pace has taken a heavy toll on our planet’s limited resources.

 

Nine months ago, when my 13 year old son learned I was about to join a plastics company, his first reaction was: “Dad, can you do something about the plastics in the ocean?” This is indeed a tough question.

 

While the solution requires fundamental change across the value chain through joint efforts from governments, industries and consumers, waiting around for something to happen is clearly not an option. Contributing to a “circular economy” has always been top of mind for many industry stakeholders, including Borouge.

 

At Borouge, we deliver our sustainability commitment through developing advanced materials that are recyclable, have a longer life cycle for reduced wastage, enable energy conservation and reduce carbon footprint.

 

In infrastructure, our polyolefins extend the lifespan of pipes to 50 years or more without maintenance while improving drinking water quality and delivering gas to homes and businesses safely. During the 2008 earthquake in China’s Sichuan province, access to fresh drinking water was cut off for one of the villages. As part of our ‘Water for the World’ programme, Borouge helped to alleviate the situation in Sichuan by supplying the material for a 2km pipeline to transport drinking water to the village and a resettlement camp of 10,000 people.

 

In energy, our plastics solutions are used in high quality insulation material for wires and cables, to build strong networks of renewable energy.

 

In transportation, compounded plastics dramatically influence the design of automobiles in becoming safer, lightweight, high-performing and fuel efficient. Recently, Borouge has successfully used high performance PP compound to build automobile fenders, which are an exterior component traditionally made with metal. The compound’s high stiffness and energy absorption capability has tremendously improved pedestrian safety while reducing 40% of the component’s weight. Such innovation is especially important for the high growth electric vehicle market.


Borouge is committed to achieving a Zero Waste Plastics Circular Economy_web.jpg

Borouge is committed to achieving a Zero Waste Plastics Circular Economy.

 

Developing solutions for higher recyclability

 

Another area of focus is the recyclability of packaging. The industry faces various challenges such as how to ensure plastic products are recyclable, how to incorporate recyclates into packaging material without compromising performance and how to construct an eco-system encouraging consumers and companies alike to participate in recycling programmes.

 

At Borouge, we are consciously reviewing our packaging portfolio to ensure that it is “Fit for future” while working with industry partners on programmes to incorporate recyclates into packaging materials. The continuous development for disruptive mono-material packaging solutions will greater enhance the feasibility of product recycling. Recent success cases include durable and easily recyclable packaging for a leading Thai rice producer and fully recyclable pouch packaging solutions for chicken feed.

 

In China, we have been working with a leading courier company to explore solutions that can enable billions of plastic courier bags per year to have a second lease of life. Additionally, Borouge is a strategic partner of Project STOP in Asia, which uses a collaborative and holistic approach to stop plastic leakage at its source towards building a more circular economy.


None of these small efforts will single-handedly eliminate the “plastics belt” in the Pacific Ocean. However, if governments, companies and consumers make concerted efforts in the same direction, we can collaboratively find solutions for a more sustainable future.


Project STOP in Indonesia_web.jpg

Borouge is a strategic partner of Project STOP which designs, implements and scales circular economy solutions. 


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