Edison Terra VP Olefins and Polyolefins - South America, BRASKEM
"Braskem’s circular economy targets include selling 300,000 metric tons of products with recycled content by 2025, and 1 million metric tons by 2030."
How has Braskem’s business evolved from a sustainability and recycling standpoint?
Since its creation 20 years ago, Braskem’s milestones include the launch of green polyethylene in 2010, producing ethylene from dehydrating sugarcane ethanol. We have the target to reach 1 million tons of green ethylene and polyethylene by 2030. At the same time, we are developing other products from renewable source, such as our partnership with Topsoe on green energy.
In 2017, we defined that the circular economy should be part of the strategy of Braskem’s plastics and chemicals business. Since then, we have been working on increasing our participation in the mechanical recycling market, first with small partnerships with recyclers where we would design the solution looking for residues and the recyclers were producing for us. In 2022, we inaugurated our own state of the art mechanical recycling facility in Indaiatuba, operated by Valoren, to create opportunities for a high-value mechanical recycled resins that can be used in sophisticated applications. We will improve the quality of the residue received, improve the screening process, and improve the washing line to remove impurities. We also acquired 61,1% of the capital of Wise Plastics, a leading company in mechanical recycling and expect to capture synergies among all our operations.
What are the company’s circular economy targets and initiatives to advance this area?
Braskem’s circular economy targets include selling 300,000 metric tons of products with recycled content by 2025, and 1 million metric tons by 2030.
We are aware that mechanical recycling only will not solve the problem of residues, and we need to also foster advanced/chemical recycling where you have the opportunity to bring residues back as feedstock. As advanced recycling technologies mature, we will be able to recycle things that are not able to be recycled mechanically and which can be put back into the chain as a feedstock.
Circular economy starts with consumption awareness and a change of behavior. Braskem has invested in education initiatives and is part of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. In August 2022, we launched an innovation hub called Cazoolo with the idea to partner with brand owners, academia, associations, and other innovation hubs in order to foster the development of sustainable packaging.
What does the Braskem 360 platform aim to achieve?
In 2021, the company initiated Braskem Week, providing an opportunity for virtual meetings, presentations, and discussions with customer, suppliers and partners over three days. The idea for Braskem 360° is to create a single virtual environment where you can visualize all of our initiatives, such as a simulation of our plant in Indaiatuba and Cazoolo facility. Braskem 360°can also be used as a live interaction platform for meetings and visual presentations.
Can you elaborate on Braskem’s investment with EDF Reweables into renewable energy sources in Brazil?
We have several initiatives in terms of having a more sustainable energy matrix, where we expect to cut approximately 1.5 million tons of CO2 emissions. We have established long term energy agreements and today already have 100 megawatts (MW) of solar and wind energy in our mix. We have two contracts with EDF Renewables, the first being an agreement to purchase the electricity generated by the Folha Larga Norte in Bahia state. This was a US$1.5 billion investment with a total installed capacity of 244 MW, and with this partnership, we expect to reduce 280,000 tons of CO2 during the 20 year contract. Secondly, Braskem recently signed a wind power purchase contract with EDF Renewables which will enable the construction of a wind complex in Bahia state and will allow us to obtain energy for 20 years, starting in 2024. With this contract, we expect emissions reductions of another 700,000 tons of CO2 equivalent.
What are the predominant themes you see impacting the petrochemical market in 2023?
In 2023, considering new capacities against demand growth, we will probably see a period in time where the margins will be lower than in previous years, but at the same time, I think that there are many aspects in the market which will lead to innovation and opportunities.