Covestro green, innovative and sustainable
Green, innovative and sustainable are the key words that international materials giant Covestro wants to be known for, as well as the basis for its focus in future plans for China.
CEO Markus Steilemann expressed the company's strong confidence and commitment to the Chinese market and reiterated its dedication to provide more modern, more durable and more cost-efficient materials to support the "dual carbon" goal of China to transition towards renewable energy sources.
"Digitalization and going green are where we play our strengths," he said.
"You see everywhere and you see that particularly in China that the world wants to go green and be sustainable. To achieve sustainability, we need specific materials. Everything we do is connected to materials. We are putting our thought to the mind of customers to produce the green products they need."
One example is mobile phone cover that is made out of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), according to Steilemann. TPU can be either recycled, or mass-balanced materials from non-oil and non-gas fossil sources, he added.
"Another example is that we are providing materials for shoes which are no longer based on traditional fossil-based raw materials.
"Covestro is doing research to replace oil and gas by recycled or bio-based content. That is also how we transplant the overall Five-Year Plan goals into very concrete examples for Chinese people."
Covestro is not only trying to make its products for its customers and help consumers go greener, but also ensures the process how it produces them is also environmentally friendly.
"We use more and more electricity for our own production with a green source," he said. "At our Covestro Integrated Site Shanghai (CISS), our largest site, we are currently already using 30 percent of our electricity through renewable energy such as solar and wind power.
"And CISS aims to have 50 percent green power share for this year. Another two sites in Guangzhou and Foshan have already achieved 100 percent green electricity."
"Moreover, we are also working with partners to make logistics greener and make sure that our raw materials are really greener and use fewer fossil fuels."
Covestro said China is one of its largest markets in the world and will become the biggest again soon.
"We make roughly 20 percent of our group sales in China," he said.
According to Steilemann, since 2001, Covestro has invested over 3.9 billion euros in China, where it has a regional Asia Pacific innovation hub, its largest production site, and the global headquarters of one of its largest business entities located in Shanghai. Covestro has 10 production sites in China.
"Because we see the global trends, we see the megatrends, we see the strong opportunities in China. We see the capabilities of the Chinese market, we see the clear strategy, we also acknowledge the huge potential of the Chinese market to continue. That's why we are investing."
Covestro is continuing its expansion and investment in China.
A plant which produces polyurethane dispersion, or PUD, a raw material for adhesives and coatings, will be completed in 2023, a mechanical recycling line for polycarbonate is to be finished this year and an elastomers plant will also be finalized this year.
And Covestro has just decided on a fourth investment.
It will build a TPU plant in Zhuhai in Guangdong. The largest plant of its kind for this type of material in Covestro from a global perspective, the plant will be completed in 2033.
The company is expanding the project in three phases. The first phase is about to be completed by 2025. By 2033, 120,000 tons of TPU will be produced in the new plant annually.
"There is huge market potential from sustainability," he said.
"There are trends that serve our customers to grow. We serve our customers in particular in China, we fully support the 'dual carbon' and also the quality upgrade of the Chinese Five-Year Plan. Therefore we also continue to invest significantly in China to grow with the Chinese market and help China in this transition."
To further integrate in the Chinese market, Covestro said it will definitely participate in this year's China International Import Expo in November in Shanghai.
"We have participated in CIIE in 2021 and 2022," he said.
"And based on both years' experience, we think there is an intrinsic value in CIIE. Because it goes beyond the classical context that you get in typical industry fields. CIIE provides you with a much broader view that goes very close to the end consumer needs.
"So it is for us internally a big help to bring all different businesses together. It is also for the external world very helpful to see what potential Covestro has to serve the development of China and both sides meeting on a different level. That's why we have decided that we again plan to participate this year in the CIIE 2023."