Thursday, February 9, 2012

Need some unsolved problems? Try these!

As part of his "New Normal" series, Paul Hodges of ICIS has, over the past two years, consistently pushed for a refocusing of the efforts of the chemical industry. In a recent blog post, he says: 
Cost must be the key criteria when examining the opportunities for new product development and research. Chapter 8 of our free 'Boom, Gloom and the New Normal' ebook examines the application of this philosophy to the 4 megatrends that we have identified as being key to the future of the chemical industry: 
• Improving water availability
• Improving food production
• Increasing life expectancy
• Reducing carbon footprint 
It suggests that the key need is to be practical. Companies should focus:
• In the fields of water/food, on reducing the amount of waste, and the output that is lost when product is moving to market
• In developing new products and services for the over 55s, on core needs such as food, water, health, shelter and mobility
• In turn, this will enable them to 'do more with less'. Carbon footprint will be reduced, and products will be more affordable
I think it will be interesting to see the success of companies that deal with these issues; Nalco is one, Monsanto another. I don't think there are companies out there that are dedicated to reducing carbon footprint (i.e. selling technology that allows people to do so.)

It's apparent to me that higher-end pharma products don't really fit well into this viewpoint. Uh-oh. 


  1. There's a company in the Twins Cities area called Segetis that bills itselfs as a "sustainable chemistry solutions" company. They develop new alternatives for chemicals such as solvents and plasticizers from sustainable sources to sub for current fossil fuel-based chemicals.

  2. The dinasaurs were the worst polluters ever. Without their stupid decomposition, we wouldn't have all of this silly oil gumming up the world.