The year 2020 marks the tenth anniversary of the launch of Braskem's I'm greenT portfolio. Braskem is celebrating a pioneering achievement: the development of I'm greenT bio-based polyethylene, a renewable resin and the first product launched under the brand. During ten years of growing sales, the material has avoided the emission of 5.54 million tons* of CO2 -equivalent to over one year of automotive emissions (considering passenger vehicles) in a metropolis the size of São Paulo. The plastic, made from sugarcane captures carbon dioxide during the plant's lifecycle, which means Braskem can deliver significant greenhouse gas emissions savings to its clients.
The investment in research and development has been a strategic priority for Braskem, whose activities are guided by increasingly sustainable practices, processes and production. Since 2007, the company has been researching technologies for producing green ethylene from sugarcane ethanol at its Technology & Innovation Center located in the Triunfo Petrochemical Complex, in Rio Grande do Sul. The center is Latin America's largest and most advanced research complex for the industry, and Braskem has invested US$290 million in the construction of an industrial unit for making the product in the region.
In 2010, Braskem announced the commissioning of the plant with production capacity of 200 kta becoming the world's leading biopolymer producer. The transformation of green ethylene into bio-based I'm greenT polyethylene is carried out at the same polymerization units that produces the fossil-based resin. Maintaining the same properties, performance and versatility of conventional resins, which facilitates its application in existing production and recycling chains, the biggest advantage of the solution made from renewable resources is the capture of up to 3.09 tons of carbon dioxide during its production process.
"Braskem was born with innovation in its DNA, and we have invested in the research and development of a series of technological alternatives focusing on sustainability. We believe in the potential of biopolymers as tools for capturing carbon and combating global warming, and this is one of the solutions that supports our commitment to a carbon-neutral circular economy. The achievements of these last ten years confirm that we are on the right path," said Marco Jansen, director of Circular Economy and Sustainability at Braskem for Europe and Asia.
Today, the line of bio-based I'm greenTM polyethylene resins is available in high density (HDPE), linear low-density (LLDPE) and low density (LDPE) versions, which cover applications that range from rigid and flexible packaging to caps and closures, bags and more.
In 2018, Braskem expanded its offering of renewable solutions with the launch of bio-based I'm greenTM EVA, an ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer with applications in the automotive and footwear industries, among others. Also made from sugarcane, the solution maintains the advantage of carbon capture, with an average capture rate of up to 2.1 ton of CO2 per renewable EVA ton.
Over the last decade, I'm greenT portfolio solutions have drawn the attention of companies around the world. Today it is used by over 200 global brands, including Natura, Kimberly Clark, TetraPak, Johnson&Johnson, Allbirds, Unilever, Join The Pipe, Toms, Vinventions, Duo, Ontex, Ecostore, and Shiseido.
Advances to foster the carbon-neutral circular economy
Braskem has a public commitment to a carbon-neutral circular economy, which consolidates various internal initiatives to engage the chain's engagement with this theme. In line with this positioning, in 2019, the I'm greenTM brand, which had been created to identify the company's renewable resins, was expanded with the inclusion of I'm greenT recycled resins, made from recycled waste, and a combination of PCR and renewable, bio-based and recycled I'm greenT resin, consolidating the portfolio to drive the circular economy.
It is worth noting that the solutions developed from the combination of renewable and recycled resins have the potential to provide significant positive impacts, since the renewable fraction, with a negative carbon footprint, allows for offsetting any CO2 emissions, potentially achieving carbon neutrality in the final product.
"The brand's expansion to encompass both renewable and recycled materials reaffirms our commitment to the transition to a circular economy. Plastic plays a key role in our lives, with the material used in solutions for health care, durable goods, packaging and many other applications. We need to keep searching for sustainable alternatives and to reinforce the importance of responsible consumption and the proper disposal of waste, via recycling, to maximize their benefits," reinforced Fabiana Quiroga, director of Circular Economy at Braskem for South America.
The I'm greenT brand was recognized, in 2020, as one of the most transformational cases in sustainable development in Brazil, in the Industry & Energy category, by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Global Compact Network Brazil. Braskem's solution is part of the online repository with over 60 initiatives that leverage national and foreign investments to create a Big Push of economic growth, job creation and income generation, reduction in inequality and structural gaps and promotion of environmental sustainability.
In November, the brand received another important award, the Sustainability Awards, promoted by the U.S. publication Chemical Week, during the Financial Outlook & Sustainability Forum, as the best sustainable initiative. The award evaluated approximately 75 projects among the most innovative ones in the chemical and petrochemical sector.
Among other important recognitions, in 2014, the magazine Fast Company ranked Braskem among the world's 50 most innovative companies, making it the only Brazilian company to figure on the list.
*Data available in the document "Life Cycle Assessment on Green HDPE and Fossil HDPE," developed by the consulting firm ACV Brasil and revised by Andreas Detzel, Mirjam Busch (IFEU), Ramani Narayan (MSU) and Carbon Trust.
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