High Performance Polymers - Sustainable Solutions
We engage to address UN sustainable development goals
The High Performance Polymers sustainability offer addresses 10 of the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations Global Compact. Our "Big Three" relate to (1) Climate Action, (2) Sustainable Cities and Communities, and (3) Responsible Consumption and Production.
These are complemented by our activity in Affordable and Clean Energy markets, our commitment to Environmental Stewardship (Improved Life On Land and Below Water), and our Health and Well-Being enhancing involvement in health and sports markets.
Our 6 Main Sustainability Themes
The six main themes of our sustainability offer are:
- Bio-based - we are global leaders in high performance polymers derived from sustainable castor oil
- Durability in Use - our polyamide, polyketone, and fluoropolymer families are generally highly durable in their intended applications; Unlike disposable plastics, our High Performance Polymers generally offer very long lives in their specified applications
- Lightweight - this is particularly true of our specialty polyamide grades; Lighter materials can save tremendously in vehicle fuel consumption
- Recyclability - virtually all of our polymers are recyclable and reusable
- Sustainable Markets - our polymers play enabling roles in many applications that are key to global sustainability - such as, water filtration, solar energy, electric vehicle batteries, cool roofing, life-saving medical catheters, and sports technology that encourages healthy lifestyles for all
- Responsible Stewardship - for example, many of our emulsion-process fluoropolymers are uniquely produced without the use of fluorinated surfactants
The Sustainable Castor Initiative Project
Arkema is a founding member of Pragati, the sustainable castor initiative. The goals of Pragati are to enhance castor productivity in India, where the majority of the world's supply originates.
This is accomplished by training farmers to build capacity, improve yields, and reduce environmental impacts, thus helping them to cultivate castor beans effectively and ecologically. The initiative also provides educational materials to improve the skills and knowledge of the local farmers, to improve their income, and to ensure better health and living conditions.
The 4 member organizations in the Pragati initiative are Arkema, BASF, Jayant Agro-Organics, and Solidaridad, an international civil society organization.
Pragati means 'progress' in Hindi.
Download The sustainable Castor Initiative Brochure
Key project accomplishments
Some of the key accomplishments of the Pragati initiative to date, are:
- Over 6,200 farmers have been educated (involving more than 8,000 hours of classroom training)
- Over 6,000 hectares are now being regularly farmed in accordance with the SuCCESS® sustainable castor code (see www.castorsuccess.org) – more than 19,000 hectares cumulatively;
- Over 50,000 tons of certified castor seed have been cultivated
Year 6 yield is 22% higher than the yield published by the local government for this region
- Approx. 6,300 safety kits and crop protection product boxes have been distributed free of charge
- Water consumption has been lowered by approx. 30% in the demo plots where accurate measurement and control is in place
- Farmers from more than 80 villages in North Gujarat now participate in the program
- In 2022, more than 260 individual training sessions were held with farmers
Key project features
Some of the key features inherent in the castor crop as a favored renewable feedstock for polymers:
The castor crop is:
- Naturally drought resistant
- Does not cause deforestation in India
- Not in competition with human or animal food chains
- Resistant to many insects
- Considered to be a profitable crop with low inputs and high returns
- Harvested 4-6 months after planting
- Grown mainly in India (75% of the world's supply) - Primarily in the state of Gujurat
- Grown by approximately 700,000 farmers in India alone!
- Also used to make ingredients for lubricants, coatings, pharmaceuticals
Some of the first wave of farmers to receive their sustainability certificates.
Arkema was one of three suppliers chosen by BMW to receive a 2018 Supplier Innovation Award in the field of sustainability. BMW specifically applauded Arkema for their work in renewable castor farming and bio-based polymers.
Durability In Use = Making Things That Endure = Responsible Use
A common theme across the High Performance Polymers' product range is durability in use. Simply put, they are specified in extreme applications requiring longevity of service. They are generally not employed in disposable systems that quickly end up in the waste stream.
There are many examples.
Kynar® fluoropolymers are frequently specified in the following:
- Industrial piping systems that are resistant to extreme chemicals
- Fire resistant cables and wires that save human lives by preventing flame and smoke spread during catastrophic building events
- Long life solar panels that resist the harsh weather environments of deserts for several decades
- Water filtration membranes that endure harsh chemical cleaning and sanitizing without the need to be scrapped and disposed of
- Factory-applied paints and coatings for buildings (including IR reflective 'cool building' paints) that endure for many decades, without the need for re-coating
- Field-applied building paints and cool roof coatings that protect underlying substrates from weather-related failure, thus dramatically lengthening their service life and delaying their entry into municipal waste streams. Their extreme durability also allows tremendously longer re-coat intervals, thereby lowering VOC emissions
- High density lithium ion batteries that enable electric vehicles to thrive (replace internal combustion alternatives)
Arkema specialty polyamides, in addition to often being bio-based, also offer the following:
Typically much more durable than traditional short chain polyamides (nylon) - far greater hydrolysis and chemical resistance i.e. long life hydraulic tubing
- Typically 20% lighter than traditional polymers, allowing substantial weight reduction in vehicles, particularly when replacing metals; also, lighter weight generally means lower consumption, lower usage rates
Pebax® elastomers enable athletes and their sports shoes to perform at a higher level (many world records and gold medals so far); Arkema's Pebax Powered® consumer branding program encourages everyday athletes to embrace a healthy lifestyle
Pebax® elastomers also enable life-saving heart surgeries (angioplasty) to millions of people across the globe. Once considered a highly invasive procedure available mainly to wealthy individuals, angioplasty is now frequently performed on an outpatient basis at much lower financial cost, and with spectacularly high success rates