I joined a breakout session at the 2022 ARC Industry Forum, Building a Portfolio for Sustainability, hosted by ARC Advisory Group’s Peter Reynolds. Included in the panel accompanying this session was AspenTech’s Paige Morse. Here is the description of this session:
The energy transition and move toward a circular economy is causing investors, energy, and chemicals companies to re-align capital, priorities, and projects to meet new sustainability imperatives. Project teams have embraced digital evolution and digital transformation underpinned by a rigorous sustainability framework and criteria.
The sustainability framework guides innovative design, investment and operational philosophy, and a new standard for evaluating investment opportunities, risks, and returns. It also helps shape projects through early engagement with project sponsors and partners during infrastructure development and delivery.
The sustainability projects portfolio demonstrates economic value by integrating an “environmental impact reduction” philosophy across the project lifecycle and supply chain from development to delivery and operations. Digital enablement of new business models and finding new ways to bring products or services to market are critical for sustainable manufacturing.
Peter opened by sharing research on how manufacturers and producers see digitalization as essential to sustainability goals.
LyondellBasell Global Procurement, Strategic Materials, and Sustainable Solutions VP Jen Jewsen described the company’s sustainability initiatives. As a plastics manufacturer, recycling is a huge focus. The Circulen family of sustainable solutions enables customers to achieve circularity in their use of plastic packaging. To make this possible, LyondellBasell continuously invests in technologies that span molecular and mechanical recycling and renewable feedstocks. Within the manufacturing process, key initiatives are switching to lower carbon-intensive fuels and optimizing fuel use within the process. Safety, diversity, equity & inclusion, and advancing sustainable procurement are vital elements in their sustainability strategy.
Fidelis New Energy Managing Director & Chief Project Officer John Plumlee described their mission to create value from decarbonized energy and materials’ development, delivery, and operations. They work with customers in developing, investing, structuring, and/or delivering these projects.
Indorama Ventures VP of Digital Eric Delattre shared their work in recycled PET (rPET). He explained that rPET is a 100 % circular, recyclable plastic with a lower carbon footprint than other packaging materials such as glass and aluminum. They work with industry partners to achieve a circular economy for sustainable plastics. They intend to play a leading role by bringing recycled products into the value chain and developing ways to include recyclability in all of their products.
After the presentations, Paige joined the panel to discuss the importance of digitalization in achieving the 2050 net-zero goals. She highlighted the importance of analytics to transform massive data sources into actionable insights to drive more sustainable operations. Jen added a much broader scope of what to look at for carbon intensity, fuel use, and energy efficiency. It includes transportation, material losses, process inputs, and more.
Paige noted that digital systems are needed for more than analytics but also for streamlining work processes, managing cybersecurity, scenario planning to pre-plan issues before they arise, and scaling up operations quickly. She attended the Glasgow Climate Change conference this past November and gave her perspectives. She shared that there is more urgency to take action, and global meetings will occur more frequently—annually—to advance the aggressive targets for net-zero and aim to turn the 2020s into a decade of climate action and support.