We have a clear responsibility to use resources carefully and ensure we are always mindful of the impact of our production processes. Preserving the planet encompasses:
Many of today's consumer goods are still reliant on fossil fuels and limited natural resources. As well as taking a toll on the environment going into a supply chain, they often cause contamination during production or after use. These contaminants are frequently found in surface water, causing concern about aquatic life. But our solutions for home and personal care, for instance, are biodegradable and safe for both the user and the environment.
Ground-breaking technology enables us to replace some of the products and technologies that take the biggest toll on our planet. Plastics are among them. With high carbon footprints in production, incongruous recyclability, and the attention of consumers worldwide, traditional plastics need an overhaul. PLA bioplastics are 100% biobased and have a low – and falling – carbon footprint.
To be truly circular, Corbion has pioneered the development of a lactic acid production process which improves by-product reuse and recycling. In this new process, almost all chemicals are recycled, resource efficiency is optimized, and by-products are eliminated. We have now scaled this up to demonstration scale, giving us confidence that the process will prove viable on an industrial scale.
Sugar-based feedstocks, which Corbion uses, are among the most efficient and sustainable crops. But we continue to develop new processes that enable the production of biochemicals and bioplastics using alternative feedstocks. These include non-food biomass crops, agricultural by-products and waste streams – often called "lignocellulosic" or "second-generation" feedstocks. Depending on how those are processed, they can be converted into lactic acid in an existing Corbion facility or a new fermentation strain, a new production process, and a new production plant are needed. We have invested significantly in both routes. In 2015, we became the first company to successfully produce the bioplastic poly-lactic acid (PLA) from alternative feedstocks on lab scale.
In the same way we set standards for ourselves, so we do for the suppliers of our raw materials. All potential suppliers are rigorously checked to ensure they share and adhere to our values and requirements. For high-risk raw materials, we go beyond "security-of-supply" risk assessments, supplier codes, and self-assessment questionnaires, and use third party processes too, such as the SEDEX Member Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA).
With 2016 as our base year, we have committed to cutting CO2 emissions related to energy, key raw materials and transport by 33% per ton of product by 2030. We achieved over one third of that reduction in the first three years alone.