New initiative to replace fossil with renewable carbon wants to change the foundation of the chemical industry
Eleven leading companies from six countries founded the Renewable Carbon Initiative (RCI) in September 2020 under the leadership of nova-Institute (Germany). The aim of the initiative is to support and speed up the transition from fossil carbon to renewable carbon for all organic chemicals and materials. More than 100 well-known experts support the initiative personally. Companies, start-ups and institutes are welcome to join the initiative as a member.
The first eleven pioneer companies to become a member of the RCI and form the Core Advisory Board are: Beiersdorf (Germany), Cosun Beet Company (The Netherlands), Covestro (Germany), Henkel (Germany), Lanza Tech (USA), Lenzing (Austria), Neste (Finland), SHV Energy (The Netherlands), Stahl (The Netherlands), Unilever (UK) and UPM (Finland). The initiative addresses the core problem of climate change, which is largely related to extracting and using additional fossil carbon from the ground.
The vision is stated clearly: By 2050, fossil carbon shall be completely substituted by renewable carbon, which is carbon from alternative sources: biomass, direct CO2 utilisation and recycling. The founders are convinced that this is the only way for chemicals, plastics and other organic materials to become more sustainable, more climate-friendly and part of the circular economy – part of the future.
The new initiative urges the industry to go beyond just using renewable energy. All fossil carbon use has to end, as the carbon contained in the molecules of organic chemicals and materials is prone to end up in the atmosphere sooner or later. Only a full phase-out of fossil carbon will help to prevent a further increase in CO2 concentrations. Consequently, companies are encouraged to focus on phasing out fossil resources and to use renewable carbon instead. The members of the RCI share and support this vision and will work together on this goal. The initiative will drive this message, initiating further actions by bringing stakeholders together, providing information and shaping policy to strive for a climate-neutral circular economy.
Michael Carus, CEO of nova-Institute and head of the Renewable Carbon Initiative: “This is about a fundamental change in the chemical industry. Just as the energy industry is being converted to renewable energies, so renewable carbon will become the new foundation of the future chemical and material industry. The initiative starts today and will be visibly present from now on. We want to accelerate the change.”
Three main avenues to change
Over the next couple weeks, the initiative will publish more information on its aims and benefits via a wide range of social media activities. This includes a website and social media presence, a poster, cartoons and video-clips to educate companies and end users about sustainable options and support action. The main avenues on which the initiative wants to deliver change are threefold.
1// The initiative strives to create cross-industry platforms that will demonstrate feasibility of renewable carbon in tangible activities.
2// One main target will be to advocate for legislation, taxation and regulation changes to give renewable carbon a level commercial playing field to play on.
3// Create a wider pull for sustainable options by raising awareness and understanding of renewable carbon level amongst the business community and the wider public.
Companies looking for sustainable chemical and material solutions are welcome to join and profit from the support of the initiative. Special conditions for SMEs, start-ups, research institutes and individual consultants are available. Applications can be submitted on the website