Eastman Bets on Bigger Profits from Greener Chemicals

Eastman Bets on Bigger Profits from Greener Chemicals

Eastman Chemical Company wants two-thirds of revenue from new products to come from items that are more sustainable than alternatives.

The company laid out that goal and more in its first sustainability review, released this month. In addition to listing a range of short- and mid-term goals, the report gives an overview of Eastman products that have some environmental or green aspects to them.

The two-thirds target mentioned above is one of Eastman's short-term goals. Eastman currently gets about one-fourth of its revenue from products that have sustainability benefits compared to other products on the market. Some of those include Tritan copolyester, which contains no bisphenol A and can be used to make hard plastics (above); Tenite cellulosics, which are plastics made with 40 percent renewable wood pulp; plasticizers that don't contain phthalates; PET resins that require less energy to produce; and the Cradle-to-Cradle certified Eastar copolyesters.

Eastman also laid out some broader goals like working with customers to help them meet sustainability plans, using sustainability as a key factor in identifying growth opportunities and using its internal Innovation and Sustainability Council to manage investments and determine priorities.

The more specific, operations-oriented goals include:

  • Improve energy efficiency by 2.5 percent year over year
  • Reduce energy intensity 25 percent in the next 10 years
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions per unit or production 2 percent year over year
  • Reduce greenhouse gas intensity 20 percent in the next 10 years
  • Reduce hazardous waste 10 percent by 2010, compared to 2005
  • Reduce reportable released and Toxics Release Inventory releases 25 percent each by 2010, compared to 2005
  • Reduce volatile organic compounds 15 percent by 2010, compared to 2005

Eastman is also ramping up its work on life cycle assessments (LCAs). The company created an LCA team in 2008, has completed seven LCAs, has six underway and has 20 more planned and prioritized. In the short term, it plans to complete priority LCAs, and within the coming years it wants to have LCAs complete for all new product launches.