“With its primary products, the chemical industry encroaches upon broad areas of the manufacturing industry and consumer goods industry,” explains Christian Rammer, researcher at ZEW Mannheim. “The leverage effect of innovations to have a positive impact on climate change mitigation and sustainable development is therefore very large in the chemical industry.” The chemical industry is also able to make a significant contribution to climate protection through adjustments to its own processes.
One in four companies engaged in research developed innovative solutions in the areas “Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development” in 2017. That is the second highest value after mechanical engineering (29 per cent). Gerd Romanowski, director of “Science, Technology and Environment” at VCI, adds: “For generations, the chemical industry has helped to resolve problems which were urgent at the time. Today, climate change mitigation is a main concern of the industry. Research and development (R&D) are the determining factors for further progress.”
Patent development also shows that the significance of concerns regarding climate change mitigation in chemical research has grown: For instance, the share of registered climate change mitigation patents in the German chemical industry virtually doubled between 2005 and 2016, from 7.4 to 13.5 per cent.
A trend is also emerging among business start-ups with regard to climate change mitigation and sustainable development. Out of a total of 308 active chemical start-ups, 72 of these start-ups provide relevant products and services. Most of these businesses were founded in the last six years.
The researchers examined indicators in the areas R&D, patent applications, product and process innovations, investments and chemistry start-ups in their meta-analysis. The research team drew upon its own data as well as external sources of information in order to establish as much of a detailed picture as possible.