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Cognis adopts 24 principles of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering

Published on 2009-06-08. Author : SpecialChem

As part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability and innovation, global specialty chemicals supplier Cognis has adopted a new set of guidelines that combine the internationally recognized 24 principles of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering. By doing so, the company is both reducing its environmental footprint and putting in place a clear framework for the development of high-performance, natural-source products aimed at the growth markets of wellness and sustainability. Paul Anastas, the "father" of the 24 principles, spoke at a Cognis-hosted sustainability symposium in Monheim, Germany, where he shared the platform with members of the Cognis management board in a discussion on future "green" chemical solutions.

Ever since Cognis started trading, sustainability has been essential to both its corporate philosophy and its business model. The company already makes extensive use of natural solutions, and 50 percent of the raw materials it uses are renewable. From these, it manufactures environmentally sound high-performance products which help its customers to succeed in their markets. Now Cognis has taken another step down the path of environmental sustainability, by adopting the widely recognized 24 principles of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering as its roadmap for the development of new solutions, products and processes. The aim is to further increase the proportion of natural-source raw materials, make better use of residues, further optimize catalysts, and make additional cuts in its emissions.

Comments Cognis CEO Antonio Trius: "The chemical industry has a major role to play in developing the innovative and sustainable solutions that are necessary to succeed in the markets of tomorrow. The 24 principles help us to strike the right balance between environmental goals, economical viability, and product performance and convenience. Cognis is one of the first companies to put a set of objective 'green' criteria at the heart of its decision-making and operational processes."

Sustainability put into practice

Paul Anastas of Yale University, the man regarded as the "father" of the original 24 principles of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, yesterday took part in a sustainability symposium at Cognis' head office in Monheim, Germany. "Green Chemistry and Green Engineering is not some kind of noble wish," he said. "It is not only about being nice to the birds and the trees, but about designing chemicals to be environmentally benign and commercially successful. Companies who integrate green chemistry into their operations enter a promising field of new technologies and new business opportunities."

Richard Ridinger, Executive Vice President Cognis Care Chemicals and chairman of Cognis' Sustainability Council, gave a practical example of how the company implements sustainability in its daily production activities: "Euperlan Green is a wax dispersion for hair and body cleansing products. This was a new addition to an already comprehensive product line, which consists of our sugar surfactant APG made of vegetable oils and starch. And because it is cold-processable, our customers save energy and time - fully in line with the 24 principles."

About Green Chemistry and Green Engineering

Paul T. Anastas is the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Professor in the Practice of Chemistry for the Environment and the Director of the Yale Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering. In 1998 he published his 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, which he developed together with John C. Warner. The aims of these principles are to avoid contamination and waste, to make maximum use of renewable raw materials, to ensure the biodegradability of end products, and to use the energy needed for the reactions as efficiently as possible. In 2003, Anastas and Julie B. Zimmerman collaborated on the development of another set of 12 principles, this time for Green Engineering - that is, the development of industrial processes that fulfill the tenets of sustainability.

About Cognis

Cognis is a worldwide supplier of innovative specialty chemicals and nutritional ingredients, with a particular focus on the areas of wellness and sustainability. The company employs about 5,900 people, and it operates production sites and service centers in 30 countries. Cognis has dedicated its activities to a high level of sustainability and delivers natural source raw materials and ingredients for food, nutrition and healthcare markets, and the cosmetics, detergents and cleaners industries. Another main focus is on products for a number of other industries, such as coatings and inks, lubricants, as well as agriculture and mining. Cognis is owned by private equity funds advised by Permira, GS Capital Partners, and SV Life Sciences. In 2008, Cognis recorded sales of about 3 billion euros and an Adjusted EBITDA (operating result) of 351 million euros.

Source: Cognis

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