Despite its prominence in today’s discourse, the word “sustainability” can provoke an eye-roll from corporate innovation leaders. However, numerous stakeholders – investors, customers, and employees alike – have begun to demand sustainability, showing that this is a lasting trend, not a passing fad.
Lux clients across the agrifood, energy, chemicals, and materials sectors are grappling with questions like:
Sustainability fervor – which has been building in importance over the past few years – has reached a new height in 2020. What factors will really force change in the chemicals industry, and what does that change look like?
The conversation surrounding future protein availability, and how we plan to sustainably feed a 10 billion people in the next 30 years, will only grow louder in time. While today plant-based meat substitutes are gaining momentum, what will the meat substitute of 2050 look like?
Improving operational sustainability allows for a variety of companies – including service providers that do not sell a physical product – to capitalize on this trend. Start by focusing on reduced emissions – can you use a low carbon fuel, can you electrify, can you use less material to reduce energy needs?
Example: UPS announced plans to invest $450 million in deploying 6,000 natural gas vehicles (NGVs), reducing its carbon footprint in an economically viable approach. This allows UPS to cut the operational cost associated with energy usage (and potentially save on a carbon tax bill).
Provide sustainable solutions for customers, allowing them to improve their operation and products (for businesses) or reduce their own personal impact (for consumers). Offer bio-based and recycled alternatives like DSM plans to, and sell consumer products in reusable packaging.
Lux helps clients in the chemicals and materials space identify leading waste conversion tech developers for relevant materials, as many in the industry are scrambling to build capabilities to supply recycled materials for their downstream customers.
The sustainability trend has created emerging opportunities to develop products for new markets. These targets can range from new battery materials for energy storage to biodegradable polymers for packaging, to plant-based proteins that offer a lower carbon footprints alternative to meat.
In fact, this interest in plant-based proteins has led brands to invest in a variety of options opening new topline growth opportunities: Kellogg’s invested in a moringa product developer and General Mills invested in an almond protein-based beverage developer.