Trinseo | Addressing Sustainability in the Era of COVID-19

Thought Leadership

March 09, 2021

Addressing Sustainability in the Era of COVID-19

By Chris Smith, Chief Procurement Officer, Global Supply Chain Services

I believe the materials industry has found itself at a crossroads: can we contribute meaningfully to the global sustainability movement, or will we get left behind? AtTrinseo, we’ve spent years growing our sustainability commitment, developing ambitious goals,andestablishing a strong foundation.A small but nimble company, we’re focused on delivering innovative solutions toour customerbase and expanding our skillsets to face industry challengesand address changing needs head on. 

While sustainability priorities haverecentlyshifted in the face ofa global pandemic,ourlong-termgoals remain the same. We are committed to becoming a recognized leader in sustainable materials solutions andprotecting people and the environment. 

The Global Pandemic Has Shown How Nimble We Can Be

To meet the demand for sustainable products, the industry’s pace will need to be quick. In the face of this pandemic, Trinseo and countless other companies acted quickly and turned their attention to developing materials for medical devices and PPE for frontline workers. This same collective focus, speed, and flexibility are exactly what is required to effectively address our world’s sustainability needs.

We have seen our role as a materials solutions provider evolve during the pandemic. This evolution has reinforced our commitment to our local communities and our long-term sustainability journey. We are proud of our ongoing contributions – both personally and as a global organization. It’s our employees’ innate pride and enthusiasm that drives our rapid progress and helps guide our company’s decision making. If you consider it, COVID-19 and sustainability go hand in hand in many ways. With both, we’re rising to the occasion to help our communities.  

The Pandemic Reminds Us of the Full Spectrum of Sustainability

Many tend to use sustainability as a synonym for material circularity and reducing carbon emissions to protect the environment. While we are doing great things with circularity and biomaterials, sustainability is much more, encompassing everything from corporate citizenship to workforce development. The COVID-19 pandemic helped bring other less-recognized aspects of sustainability to the forefront by emphasizing our obligation to act in the best interest of our communities and society. 

To achieve our long-term goals, we require partners who go beyond simply supplying sustainable materials. Part of our procurement process is searching for suppliers who are ethical, diverse, community oriented, and environmentally responsible. Using sustainability scores, we identify and select suppliers who share our same commitment. We also invest in improving our responsible operations and building a sustainable workforce. As a procurement function, we’ve committed to diversifying our workforce, which not only leads to greater morale but also new thinking and solutions for our customers.  

COVID-19 emphasized just how influential our collective actions can be on the health of our societies and planet. Trinseo’s sustainability goals are setting the stage for how we plan to address sustainability now and into the future. 

Though we may face more obstacles throughout our journey, we’ve proven we can nimbly respond and keep moving forward. We look forward to sharing more on our sustainability journey and serving our communities the best way we know how. Together.