Defending natural resources at 2019 World Materials Forum
Further, faster, deeper
Defending the availability of natural resources
Solvay’s solid presence at this year’s 5th edition of the 2019 World Materials Forum (WMF), held in Nancy, France, highlighted the Group’s position as a leading solutions provider addressing world challenges in sustainability. Tackling the think tank’s 2019 theme: “The future of materials: use smarter, less and longer”, Solvay’s CEO, Ilham Kadri, was one of six keynote speakers officially opening debate discussions around the production and smart use of materials for water management.
Furthermore, the 2019 WMF event marks the official launch of the World Materials Connect platform. Victoire de Margerie, WMF’s Vice-chairman and Founder of the World Materials Connect, explained: “We urge rethinking the way in which we use resources, and this year’s objective is to make this happen by delivering more solutions and at a faster pace thanks to enhanced collective intelligence. Fundamentally, we need breakthrough technologies and business solutions for water consumption, electronic waste recycling, portable energy storage, autonomous vehicles and future aircraft.”
Ilham Kadri, together with industrial decision-makers, producers, customers, researchers, policymakers, media organizations and high-tech start-ups in the field of materials, discussed how materials can be used intelligently, less, and for longer periods of time.
World population is exceeding 8bn people. We need to go further, faster and deeper. Further, because we do not yet have a full solution. Faster, because time is ticking and we increasingly see the limits of our current way of life and the impact that this has on the next generations’ future. Deeper, because we need to drive a deeper cultural change, and dig deeper to find innovative solutions.
Paving the way for brighter solutions
How can we, together, enhance the future availability of natural resources with good quality and low costs?
The vibrant opening roundtable discussion was led by Ilham Kadri, joined onstage by co-chair Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO Suez, France, together with global actors in the materials and resource efficiency fields. The debate, moderated by Jack Elliott, CEO of Puretech, Canada, addressed the central question: How can we, together, enhance availability with good quality and low costs?
More specifically, the availability of natural resources must be addressed with regards to both accessibility and affordability. It must be achieved through the delivery of good quality and cost-effective innovation, focusing on the reuse and design of optimized consumption. Examples of Solvay’s engagement in the field were presented, such as the Group’s advanced materials, the extending of our Specialty Polymers portfolio, as well as our commitment to resource recycling at plant level.
Finally, the roundtable agreed that innovation is not enough. A global financial equilibrium needs to be established, incentivizing financial models to help build sustainable solutions. Sustainability and profitability must not be mutually exclusive drivers, but instead, the pillars to rethinking material consumption in its entirety, investing in infrastructure, incentivizing financial models and enhancing collaboration at all levels.
Building-on digital collaboration
Walking the talk, Solvay joined this year’s World Materials Forum commitment to encourage new forms of collaboration across various industries to develop new solutions and products.
Solvay sees the 2019 WMF Start-Ups Challenge - hosting 18 finalists from the entire world - as a means to present impactful innovations to address the use and production of materials-for smarter, less and longer use. The Grand Prix, as well as two other awards, will be announced during the WMF Gala dinner on Thursday 13 June 2019.
Solvay not only leverages ideas, but also the digital ecosystem to open the way for more solutions. The Group is now part of the Word Materials Connect, a platform created by the World Materials Forum, to bridge start-ups with multinational corporations (MNCs) from all over the world. Already counting 88 startups and 13 CEOs, the incubator aims at mentoring and promoting the development of all types of cooperation between MNCs and startups to enhance research, investment, supply, sales for collective intelligence, and to speed up innovation in material efficiency.
Solvay’s expertise is offered as a service to the Connect network using collaborative research and development, sharing success examples from venture capital initiatives and mentoring small and midsize business (SMBs) to help drive the change together.