Can you provide an overview of LyondellBasell’s presence in Latin America, and how the pandemic has impacted the company’s activities in the region?
Within the Latam region LyondellBasell has approximately 700 employees. We hold assets related to compounding activities in both thermoplastics and thermosets for the automotive, packaging, agriculture, personal care, and medical markets. LyondellBasell already has six plants in Latin America, but has the aim to expand its coverage and footprint in Latin America in the coming years, both organically and inorganically.
We are fortunate that many markets in which LyondellBasell participates have been very resilient throughout the pandemic so we were able to maintain operations and volumes. In the segments related to packaging and personal care demand even increased. In addition to the way the pandemic has impacted economies, supply chain constraints have also caused challenges. Despite this, the recovery has been strong and LyondellBasell’s results have been much better in 2021 than in 2020.
Which Latin American countries have performed well for LyondellBasell in 2021?
Mexico’s economy has been sturdy in the markets we participate in. The volumes are at a very reasonable level, with the economy continuing to improve as we emerge from the pandemic and vaccination programs are being rolled out.
With regard to Brazil, LyondellBasell is a strong player in the flexible packaging industry and we have seen a good level of activity within this space. The automotive industry in Brazil was heavily impacted, but we are now seeing demand increase again.
In countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Peru, lockdowns have been tight, and we have not seen the level of economic recovery within these countries that we hoped to. Nevertheless, the global companies we supply to in these countries have maintained reasonable levels of activity, which we expect to grow as vaccine rollout ramps up.
What would you say are currently the main challenges for chemical producers in the Latam region?
Supply chain disruptions and the lack of availability of certain raw materials, products and components has been a huge challenge. LyondellBasell does, however, have close relationships with suppliers which has helped us tremendously in mitigating these challenges. Another main concern is the speed in which economic activity will come back to pre-pandemic levels, and how sustainable that will be. Many of our customer are currently still very uncertain, particularly those who were heavily impacted such as the automotive industry.
Can you tell us about LyondellBasell’s approach to sustainability?
Sustainability is at the core of LyondellBasell’s activities, and we are working diligently to advance our goals of ending plastic waste in the environment and helping to address climate change. We have prioritized efforts to advance a circular economy and have established an ambition to produce and market 2 million metric tons of recycled and renewable-based polymers annually by 2030 through mechanical recycling, advanced/molecular recycling, and the increased use of renewable feedstocks. On a global level, LyondellBasell is a founding member of Cyclyx International, whose mission is to increase the recycling rate of plastic from 10% to 90%.
LyondellBasell is also focused on doing its part to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We have invested in energy efficiency to reduce emissions from our manufacturing sites and are incorporating clean renewable energy into our long-term strategy. We are also expanding our incorporation of recycled and renewable-based feedstocks and evaluating new and emerging carbon-reduction technologies for use in the company’s manufacturing processes.
What initiatives is the company involved in to attract and retain a more diverse workforce?
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are part of our company culture, including the appointment of a Chief Talent and DEI Officer. We also have a DEI Leadership Council made up of employees to accelerate enhancements to our workplace and culture. We are currently working on implementing even more policies, procedures, and methodologies which give us the certainty that in all our processes of recruiting, hiring, retaining, and promoting, we have DEI in mind. We believe that opportunity and success will come from having different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences as part of our LyondellBasell team.