Editorial - "Bio-based
chemicals: going beyond the buzz!"
Take a very big problem: the limitation of oil resources and our addiction to their
cheap derivatives. Take an "obvious" solution: the use of renewable resources.
Add-up a little touch of hope: the need to find a New Frontier for growth, differentiation
and innovation in a commoditizing chemical industry. And you have all the elements
of an intense buzz, where articles in the press respond to company announcements
that in turn fuel CEO presentations to analysts!
No one can be blamed, as it is true, that step by step we are changing a paradigm.
The transformational crisis we are in might even augment the perception of this
shift. But the risk to overestimate the potential (havent you heard beliefs like
"all big brand owners now want renewable products"?) while underestimating
the hurdles, one of which is typically the time for a new technology to penetrate
all steps along a value chain, is a constant in big paradigm switches.
In this edition, we will share an article that lists the main pitfalls we have observed
in the last decade when it comes to developing bio-based chemicals businesses and
give you concrete examples of good practices.
To avoid future great disillusionment, a very solid, "cool-blooded" market
analysis based on close and early interactions with the market can help tremendously.
This is the main conclusion of our article on "the Top 5 pitfalls in Business
Development of Bio-based Chemicals". But also,
to a great extent, what bio-based chemicals leader Segetis told us through the voice
of its Business Vice President, Snehal Desai, in the rich interview
he had with us.
Everyone of us has perceived the green / sustainability mega-trend. As consumers
first: organic products now represent over 5% of the cosmetics end-products we are
using, and grew by 15% between 2007 and 2008. Chemical producers, biotech or agro
companies, which had already been working for several years on developing and even
launching such products have then accelerated the pace.
However, a good number of these market introductions of bio-based chemicals have
failed or did not meet their initial objectives. Why? ...
To get a feel for what is happening on the bio-based chemicals market in 2009 and
what the projections are, there is no better way than ask the professionals that
are currently acting on this market. Before joining Segetis as Business Vice-President,
he spend the first 10 years of his career at Dow, as various business management
positions and 5 years as chief marketing officer at NatureWorks LLC.
In this interview, we wanted to better understand the challenges, risks and difficulties
encountered when development new business with bio-based chemicals. We also pictured
the differences between established chemicals companies and new players or start-ups.
Snehal also offered us a good overview of the drivers for change and drivers for
On a regular basis, we ask our network of
specifiers (formulators, OEMs, compounders, masterbatchers, ... from various industries),
what they think about bio-based chemicals, how they use them, how they perform.
We wanted to share with you some of those short polls with you.