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When doing good means being different

For Emery Oleochemicals, a 175-year old global company headquartered in Malaysia, sustainability means thinking and operating differently

August 31, 2015 – Emery Oleochemicals, founded in 1840, is calling on all stakeholders along the value chain to end customer to think differently about sustainability. This follows an interview recently where its Group CEO, Ramesh Kana, pointed out the inconsistent thinking and actions prevalent in the oleochemicals industry – where focus on sustainability appeared ad hoc along different parts of the value chain, often more pronounced when it involved third parties and not the big producers of consumer products.

Kana re-iterated his view that businesses needs to approach sustainability as a normal means of doing business instead of an onerous “add on” to how business is done. Speaking at the 3rd Oleochemicals Outlook in Bali recently, Kana once more raised the issue of sustainability along the production value chain, noting that “oleochemicals is in a strong position to compete with petrochemical-based solutions due to growing demand for green chemicals.” However, he continued, “once Emery Oleochemicals sells socially responsibly produced chemicals to end-consumer manufacturers, the balance of the supply chain is highly questionable in terms of its sustainability and green agenda. This is where the value chain falls apart or is imbalanced.”

For Kana and the team at Emery Oleochemicals, the solution is simple. “When we individually operate as a responsible business, we are in the position to ask the same of those we partner with, which should eventually garner sufficient momentum to ensure that the sustainability agenda becomes a major driver of innovation,” he said. “Our ethos of ‘Going Beyond Specialties’, underscores our differentiated thinking and new approaches to sustainable product stewardship that will deliver performance and margins, for us and everyone we do business with.”

Backed by megatrends such as demographic and social change and, rapid urbanisation that show a global economic development model that is extending beyond the planet’s capacity to cope, it amplifies the interconnectivity between trends in climate change and resource scarcity. This for the oleochemicals industry, means innovating for future and becomes an opportunity for players to stay ahead of the “commodity curve”.

“Businesses will play a leading role in mitigating environmental damage, while making their organizations more agile to respond to an evolving regulatory environment and demand for safer technologies - both of which have a direct influence on product lifecycles, driving new revenues through new applications and attracting skilled talent who look to work in organizations that has a value system rooted in being a responsible business.”

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