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Driving Sustainable Futures

April 06, 2021

Driving Sustainable Synthetic Rubber Innovation with Global Policy

By Juha Jokinen, Sales and Marketing Director, Synthetic Rubber

The global changes required to have a definitive impact on climate change are only possible with legislative backing and global alignment. In recent years, this has come into the forefront, most notably with the Paris agreement, which aims to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. This policy spans the world and industries, and serves as the backbone for sustainability efforts and establishing a circular economy. Augmenting this foundation of environmental reform are various regional and country-based strategies to drive toward a greener future, including the European Green Deal, Japan’s and the U.S.’s 2050 carbon neutral goals, and China’s 2060 carbon neutral goal.

Roadblocks to Sustainability in Automotive and Tire

These legislative efforts are coalescing and speeding up the development of innovative sustainable solutions, including in the automotive and tire industries. But despite the significant inroads being made with global policies, there remain roadblocks to adoption, which can slow progress.

Among these are fears that the end consumer will be unwilling to pay the higher price that is often associated with more sustainable products when compared to their fossil-based counterparts. And as long as fossil-based materials remain more economical, this will be a challenge to overcome with consumers, many of whom will need to undergo a mindset change to prioritize sustainable solutions and invest accordingly. At Trinseo, we’re taking steps to help overcome these roadblocks with our sustainable synthetic rubber formulations created through innovation and technology partnerships.

Sustainable Raw Material Sourcing

Another key consideration is sourcing of sustainable raw materials. At Trinseo, we integrate sustainable raw materials – including those that are bio-based or derived from other circular solutions – into our synthetic rubber formulations to replace fossil-based materials, with the goal of continuously increasing this ratio. However, availability of these sustainable raw materials is limited and unable to sustain large-scale production in the face of growing demand.

In addition to implementing solutions for reducing our fossil-based raw materials footprint, Trinseo has partnered with Tyre Recycling Solutions, to develop new ways to allow end-of-life tires to be recycled back into new tires and other rubber applications, thus reducing waste, landfill use, and pollution.

Innovative Industry Partnerships

Accelerating sustainability efforts in automotive and tires relies on comprehensive value chain partnerships – something Trinseo works hard at developing and maintaining. An example is mass balance – a chain of custody model that certifies equal input and output of sustainable feedstocks in an end product. In fact, Trinseo recently received mass balance certification from ISCC for our synthetic rubber plant in Schkopau, Germany – becoming the first to achieve this certification among synthetic rubber producers. To set up this kind of system and receive certification, the entire supply chain needed to be certified. We couldn’t do it alone. Success truly relies on multiple parties working together, toward a common goal.

As the world progresses toward a greener tomorrow, we’re driving in the same direction. Our sustainable raw material sourcing, recycled content solutions, and technology partnerships support the automotive industry’s sustainability goals to renew, reuse, reduce, and recycle. As these efforts develop, we look forward to updating you on our progress. 

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