The journey towards the future A sustainability lens on the product portfolio
Clariant’s approach to its product portfolio and sustainability performance is built upon external and internal collaborations, careful screening processes based on clear criteria, as well as a drive to continuously improve and promote sustainability excellence solutions. As an example, GlucoPure® SUN showcases how these important processes are used in practice.
A simple, mild, high-performing, and renewable-based detergent. This was the vision when Clariant came up with its EcoTain®-labeled GlucoPure SUN®, a sugar-based surfactant with a chemical foundation made from sunflower oil. Capable of tackling dirty jobs while remaining gentle for both humans and the environment, this foamy detergent was synthesized through Clariant’s dedication to sustainable innovation and efficiency. However, the steps involved in developing this product – upstream in collaboration with suppliers, during production at Clariant, and downstream in its use by clients and end consumers – are much less simple than this detergent description suggests. In fact, when developing products, Clariant considers how all necessary pieces fit together – both with regard to how a product is used and how its performance, safety, and sustainability features co-mingle across the life cycle of the product. As an example, GlucoPure SUN® offers a clean, helping hand in understanding how Clariant approaches the screening and development of its products and product portfolio on the basis of sustainability.
A cohesive framework: The Portfolio Value Program
Inspiration for the Portfolio Value Program
The Portfolio Value Program (PVP) is inspired by Clariant’s ambition to steer its product portfolio toward solutions that add value through sustainability for customers and society while ensuring long-term growth for it’s business and performance leadership.
Investigating the challenges and issues and mapping them across the overall life cycle of a product like GlucoPure SUN® is key to effective product development – especially in determining and maintaining a product’s properties as they relate to sustainability and efficiency. To assess, map, and label its product portfolio, Clariant developed the Portfolio Value Program (PVP) in 2012 in cooperation with the internationally renowned Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), a non-profit organization and »think and do tank« founded by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the Wuppertal Institute. The program is based on a thorough analysis of sustainability trends and needs, as well as on the input and views of external stakeholders, including experts, policy makers, businesses, NGOs, trade union organizations, and customers. The PVP provides the overarching framework for the company’s approach in developing its product portfolio towards more innovative and sustainable products and sales methods, enhancing also the company’s sustainability performance as a whole.
The PVP is inspired by Clariant’s ambition to steer the product portfolio toward solutions that add value through sustainability for customers and society while ensuring long-term growth for its business and performance leadership. Clariant continues to be inspired by the opportunities to raise the bar in sustainability that are brought about by societal changes, market trends, existing and future regulations, customer preferences, and stakeholder expectations.
Through a cohesive interplay of collaborative assessments, evaluations using clear criteria, and sustainability labeling, the PVP backs Clariant’s systematically screened, sustainable, and innovative product portfolio.
Strong basis underpinned by external and internal collaborations
The PVP is based on a collaborative and forward-looking approach. In the different development phases of Clariant’s PVP, several discussions where held with internal and external stakeholders. This collaboration and dialog process ensures an outside-in perspective and that the PVP system meets stakeholder expectations. The development of the PVP methodology and criteria are based on the external collaboration process.
To use the PVP system and screen the product portfolio, varied and extensive expertise is needed given the wide-ranging needs and impacts to be assessed. Working in conjunction with leaders in Clariant’s core team of corporate and business sustainability experts, product managers, marketing managers, as well as product stewardship and supply chain specialists are involved in the PVP screenings. The PVP’s screening process is based on the utilization of 36 criteria that reflect sustainability needs and opportunities across the life cycle.
Evaluation by 36 criteria
The flagship label for sustainable products
At the end of 2016 more than 140 of Clariant’s products carried the EcoTain® label for sustainability excellence. clariant.com/ecotain
The PVP’s 36 criteria are grouped into six categories. These categories revolve around the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of a product, representing Clariant’s three pillars of sustainability: performance, people, and planet. These criteria also ensure that proper consideration is given to impacts across the life cycle of a product or solution, covering upstream, production, use, and end-of-life phases.
Screened products are ultimately divided into three broad categories:
Products standing out for their sustainability excellence performance, which can be distinguished by Clariant’s hallmark EcoTain® label.
Products representing a standard that is considered by Clariant an acceptable level of sustainability (which, however, goes beyond the regulatory requirements).
Products falling below the Clariant sustainability standards, which will be part of an »Improvement Roadmap« and particularly checked for opportunities for improvement, replacement, or even discontinuation.
For GlucoPure SUN® and all other products, the PVP approach incorporates general elements of ensuring a proper analysis and screening for the different upstream, production, and downstream life cycle phases of a product.
Most surfactants used in dishwashers cause irritation to human skin. Customers are seeking products that are mild yet still performing. At the same time, environmentally compatible, renewable sources are coming into focus. Clariant uses renewable alternatives: sugar and sunflowers. With a 95% renewable feedstock and a mild but effective performance when used in detergent, these ingredients seemed like a winning combination and a basis for GlucoPure SUN®. Downstream, it is evident to Clariant that detergents have the potential to harm habitats and ecosystem services. This issue served as another driver in GlucoPure SUN®’s development.
For the GlucoPure SUN® assessment, the screening team included sustainability experts, experts from the Global Application Development and EMEA Technical Application teams as their joint efforts were crucial in developing the formulations and ensuring the product’s performance and mildness in various application scenarios.
The GlucoPure SUN® screening outcome shows benefits across all three sustainability pillars and in the six groups of the criteria catalog: best-in-class performance and multi-functionality, reducing the use of components such as VOC solvents and stabilizers. Besides this, it presents 95% of renewable carbon index, enables Nordic Swan and EU EcoLabel, allows milder detergents without an irritant label and delivers the same cleaning performance of traditional non-green formulations while also helping to adjust the formulation’s viscosity and appearance.
Branding sustainability excellence
Building upon the PVP’s comprehensive sustainability screening, Clariant further clarifies sustainability performance features of its product portfolio using a distinguishing label: EcoTain®. Products awarded the EcoTain® label must have best-in-class sustainability performance in at least one of the 36 criteria, offer benefits in several product life cycle phases, and not have any adverse environmental or social impacts. A corporate panel of experts reviews and awards flagship products with the EcoTain® label. By the end of 2016, more than 140 products from all Business Units were awarded the EcoTain® label.
GlucoPure SUN® fell into this privileged group, receiving an EcoTain® label for its efficacy and sustainability: GlucoPure SUN® is made of renewable sunflower oil and sugar, is biodegradable, and is still gentle on skin and effective on dirty dishes.
»Steering our portfolio towards sustainability creates long-term value for Clariant and for our customers and stakeholders.«
Lynette Chung Head of Sustainability Strategy & Advocacy
Delivering on sustainability ambitions
Together, the EcoTain® label and the PVP form a very important step in delivering on Clariant’s sustainability ambitions. Reviewing its product portfolio from a sustainability perspective, thereby highlighting products such as GlucoPure SUN® and taking actions for steering its product portfolio towards sustainability and increasing performance requires consistent commitment and efforts across the company. This needs a gradual approach, transparency, and understanding of the portfolio’s sustainability performance in order to define roadmaps and action plans. This ensures the long-term value not only for Clariant, but for Clariant’s customers and stakeholders as well.
EcoTain® product highlights
Licocene® for hotmelt adhesives
Used for hotmelt adhesives in furniture, automotive, floor-covering and packaging industries:
Increases water and energy savings due to the elimination of a drying process for furniture applications
A sustainable greensand casting additive:
Lowers organic pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions
Lowers amounts of waste sand by higher efficiency additives
Helps improve the health and safety of foundry operators, the environment, and neighbors
Ceridust® 8090 and 8091
A 100% bio-based, sustainable additive for wood coatings:
Made of renewable raw materials
Hostavin® 3330 Disp and 3070 Disp
Water-based UV absorber and light stabilizer dispersions for coatings:
Contains less hazardous components than competitive systems
Easy dispersion enables reduction of energy consumption
Life cycle integration Contributing to low-carbon and circular economy
By marrying steel production emissions to chemical production, the industry takes life cycle thinking to a new level of innovation: Carbon2Chem.
A cross-industry venture sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Carbon2Chem is a project that reduces industrial carbon dioxide emissions from steel production (1) by converting smelting gases (2) into valuable chemicals. Smelting gases are currently used for power generation (3) in the steel plants. The objective of the Carbon2Chem project is to go one step further and develop a solution for using the smelting gases (mainly CO, CO2, H2) for the production of materials (4). Demonstrating Clariant’s dedication to deliver solutions to address life cycle impacts across different value chains, Clariant provides methanol catalysts and the necessary application expertise to evaluate the catalysts’ suitability. Clariant also participates in the upstream processing of the smelting gases, as methanol can only be acquired from smelting gases in purified form. For the gas purification, Clariant contributes sorbents, catalysts, and expert know-how on their application. To sustainably improve the ecological performance of steel production, Clariant considers it an important step to capture and convert components of the smelting gases, which contain considerable amounts of syngas (carbon monoxide together with hydrogen) that can form the basis for chemicals.