The German chemicals industry takes a positive stance on the European Green Deal and expects its own competitiveness to be strengthened by it. However, the challenges are considerable: The focus on short-term corporate success endangers the long-term Green Deal strategy, and the objectives urgently need firming up. Investment in renewable energies and the allocation of funding for research are seen as critical to the success of the Green Deal.
These are the findings of the 36th CHEMonitor trend barometer, for which Innofact, on behalf of CAMELOT Management Consultants and the trade journal CHEManager, surveyed top managers in the German chemicals industry in February and March 2021. With the European Green Deal the European Commission aims to reduce net greenhouse emissions to zero by 2050 and thus become the first climate neutral continent. The measures represent a sea change in the EU economy and will have a massive impact on the chemicals industry. Nevertheless, more than 80 % of chemicals managers tend to expect the Green Deal to have a positive effect on the competitiveness of the German chemicals industry.
Dr. Josef Packowski, Managing Partner at CAMELOT, comments: “Significantly higher sales and earnings expectations unleash potential for the realization of Green Deal sustainability targets. However, there are challenging tasks ahead. These include primarily the concretization of objectives and the resolution of conflicting goals that arise from the parallel focus on short-term corporate success.” For example, more than half (56 %) of chemicals managers surveyed, expect the focus on short term corporate success to hinder the long-term success of the Green Deal strategy. 98 % of survey respondents called for more specific guidance on implementing the Green Deal.
Opportunity for technological leadership
More than three quarters (77 %) of the CHEMonitor survey participants believe that the chemicals industry is making an active and above-average contribution to the Green Deal through investment in new, environmental technologies. “The Green Deal is a great opportunity to become the technological leader in important fields of the future. To achieve this, however, the chemicals industry must shift its focus much more strongly towards the development of new processes and models for the circular economy, hydrogen economy and CO2 neutral production,” comments Dr. Jörg Schmid, head of the CHEMonitor study at CAMELOT, on the survey results. In fact, when asked what climate protection measures they were planning in their company, around nine out of ten managers came back with increasing energy efficiency (87 %) and optimizing existing production processes (86 %).
Prerequisites for success
Despite the potential opportunities of the Green Deal for the German chemicals industry, the CHEMonitor survey reveals an ambivalent picture with regard to the impact of climate protection on individual companies: While 39 % of respondents expect the Green Deal climate protection measures to have a positive impact on their company, a quarter of them expect a negative impact. Companies are particularly concerned about the availability of electricity from renewable energies at economical prices. Overall, 86 % of those surveyed consider the provision of funding for research and investment as critical in implementing the Green Deal.
The full report on the results of the CHEMonitor survey is available as a free download at www.camelot-mc.com.