It's the new rock and roll. It's the new black. Sustainability is trendy, and t just among hipsters and pop stars. The uncool chemical sector helped pioneer it, and today, companies inside and outside the sector have embraced it. But what have they embraced? Surely t the Brundtland definition of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability describes a change in the chemical industry's approach to the external world: to regulators, to greens, to neighbors, to investors and to the general public. Displacing the adversarialism of the 1970s-80s, sustainability is a new approach to social/political conflict, and an attempt to rebuild the industry's long-suffering public image. In practice, it consists of: A 'stakeholder' approach to communications and external relations A rebranding of regulatory compliance and risk management, with the emphasis on their benefits to stakeholders Recognition (and even celebration) of the opportunities, t just the costs, of environmental and social protection The core of this book is a survey of the world's 29 largest chemical companies: how they put sustainability into action (six of the 29 do t), and the six 'sustainability brands' they have created. It begins with a history of stakeholders conflict, before looking at various definitions of sustainability - by academics, by the public and by investors. After the survey and analysis, the book covers sustainability and 'greenwash' plus the ROI of sustainability, and it gives five recommendations.
Eric Johnson, a chemist, has for most of his career worked in and around the chemical and energy industries. He is Managing Director of Atlantic Consulting, Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Impact Assessment Review, a Director of the NGO Green Cross and a Technical Advisor to the Blacksmith Institute. Formerly he was an editor at Chemical Engineering and Chemical Week, a correspondent for McGraw-Hill World News and a bureau manager for what is now Thompson Reuters.