We are pleased to present the latest issue of the Journal of Business Chemistry (Volume 20, Issue 2) which is available at www.businesschemistry.org. We would like to thank all authors who contributed to this issue:
- Koteshwar Chirumalla´s, Thomas Lager´s, and Mikael Ankerfors´ article “Exploring sustainability integration and expected outcomes of a digitalized product innovation work process for non-assembled products” investigates the status of the integration of sustainability and digitalization in innovation processes. An explorative survey focusing on six sectors of the process industries shows that companies consider sustainability and digitization to be top strategic priorities, but often have difficulties implementing these approaches operationally. Moreover, the survey reveals that companies are further advanced in integrating sustainability aspects into product development processes than in digitizing product development. Here, especially the digitization of customer and product information has high potential to change innovation processes.
- The article “DATA – a sustainable performance accounting framework for SMEs. From macro planetary boundaries to micro economic Sustainable Earnings Before Interest and Tax (SEBIT)“ by Steven Geschwindner, Toni Eser and Stephan Haubold introduces an approach to monitor if a company´s activities are within the planetary boundaries. The first part of the article outlines the approach step by step: First, indicators, baseline targets, and organizational targets are defined. Afterwards, the actual environmental impact (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions) and the target value are compared. Finally, the indicator obtained is monetized. The approach is then applied to the University for Applied Sciences Fresenius as an example.
- The third article, entitled “The chemical industry as a key player for climate protection: Learning experiences from cooperation with developing countries and emerging economies” by Detlef Schreiber and Paola Bustillos shares experiences from the Climate Action Program for the Chemical Industry (CAPCI). The authors first shed light on the connection between the chemical industry and climate change before introducing the conceptual approach of CAPCI. On the one hand, the program provides stakeholders and decision-makers with the knowledge needed to mitigate greenhouse gases in chemical production. On the other hand, it supports activities in the focus countries of Argentina, Ghana, Peru, Thailand, and Vietnam. The authors describe a broad range of concrete activities that are conducted. Finally, they highlight the importance of cooperation and knowledge sharing, especially with developing and emerging economies, to achieve a transformation of the chemical industry on a global scale.
- In his article “Sustainable industrial area management: Using materiality analysis at a multi-stakeholder industrial park to align activities”, Bernd Winters shares his experiences in applying materiality analysis to multi-stakeholder sites. As this method usually refers to one company, it needs to be adapted to transfer it to multi-stakeholder sites. After setting the scene by describing the involved actors at industrial park Höchst, where especially the cluster Process4Sustainability deals with sustainability-related topics, the article focuses on the process perspective, and the individual steps are described in detail. The article closes by describing the advantages and possible limitations of the presented approach.
- Florian Ausfelder, Luisa Fernanda López Gonzalez, and Eghe Oze Herrmann discuss in their article “The role of hydrogen in the process industries – implications on energy infrastructure” the interdependency of infrastructure built-up and implementation of new processes for ammonia production. Here, the production of hydrogen, which today is mostly fossil based, is the most intensive step in terms of emissions. Several alternative pathways for ammonia production, taking into account infrastructure requirements for the transport of gases (natural gas, hydrogen, or carbon dioxide) are compared. Additionally, infrastructure requirements for electrical transmission for an average ammonia plant are considered. Finally, the authors emphasize that industrial transformation and infrastructural development need to be considered jointly to prevent delays.
- The first commentary “Responsible use – the social license-to-operate: A business approach towards sustainability in chemicals & materials” written by Wolfgang Falter and Herwig Buchholz criticizes the predominant focus on unwanted environmental effects and social costs in sustainability discussions in the chemical industry. The authors argue for a stronger consideration of the benefits of chemicals and propose to enlarge the current product focus (Cradle-to-Gate) by a use focus (Gate-to-Cradle). Sustainable chemistry finally results from the interplay of both elements.
- The other two commentaries, “Turning point(s) (“Zeitenwende”) and new multipolarity: Is the industry in Germany declining into insignificance?” by Jürgen Vormann and “An active systemic industrial policy for climate-neutral process industries in Europe” by Stefan Lechtenböhmer reflect on how an effective industry transformation could be implemented. Both articles emphasize and agree about the great importance of constructive cooperation between industry, politics, and society. However, the two authors have different views on the concrete design of the industry transformation. Jürgen Vormann´s commentary summarizes a speech held in December 2022 at the Frankfurt Industry Evening, Chamber of Industry and Commerce. He pledges a balanced consideration of all three pillars of sustainability as he perceives a dominance of the topic of climate in the current discourse and sees the industrial base in Germany as endangered. He emphasizes the importance of free markets and the power of market mechanisms to overcome current challenges. The commentary closes by outlining ten basic rules for a successful transformation of the economy. Stefan Lechtenböhmer, on the other hand, sees a transformative industrial policy which requires an active role of the state as indispensable. He outlines six closely interlinked pillars for the development of such an industrial policy: 1) Directionality, 2) Taking a system perspective, 3) Creating markets, 4) Building capacity for governance and change, 5) International coherence and 6) Considering necessary technology or market exits and their impacts.
Please enjoy reading the second issue of the twentieth volume of the Journal of Business Chemistry. We are grateful for the support of all authors and reviewers for this new issue. If you have any comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us at contactbusinesschemistry.org. For more updates and insights on management issues in the chemical industry, follow us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/jobc/and subscribe to our newsletter.