Chemical Sustainability

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Chemical Sustainability

Tuesday, 12 September
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Chemical sustainability initiatives are progressing, albeit at different paces for plastics circularity, greenhouse gas reduction, and the energy transition away from fossil fuels for mobility and power generation.  The initiatives have differing effects on petrochemical markets. Circularity will impact prime resin demand growth. The energy transition will impact feedstock availability, feedstock pricing and the price for process energy. Greenhouse gas reduction will impact investment and operating cost structures. Please join the Chemical Market Analytics team of experts and moderators along with our guest panelists as we explore the implications of these challenges.

Nick Vafiadis, Vice President, Plastics, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS 

Session 1: Circular Plastics

Chemical industry net zero emission goals have increased the competitive landscape complexity as plastics transition to a circular model. COVID challenges confirmed the importance of plastics while simultaneously highlighting challenges of “single use” mismanagement. The plastics ecosystem is undergoing unprecedented transformation and catalyzing industry restructuring with new business models emerging. This panel will explore structural evolution, including alliances, forward integration and governing relationships, from varied perspectives as innovation transforms the conventional plastics world into a more sustainable industry.

Celeste Jones Baumgardt, Vice President, Corporate Development, Nova Chemical Corporation
Ganesh Nagarajan, Senior Director, Plastics, Waste Management
In its 2022 Sustainability Report, WM announced new sustainability goals for 2023 and beyond, including new recycling goals – increase our recovery of recyclable materials to 25M tons by 2030 (60% increase from 2021). WM is making investments and developing strategic alliances to capture more recyclables, particularly plastic and grow domestic markets for these materials. WM has been the leader in recycling, and we hear from the market loud and clear that our customers are not only looking for recycling solutions, but circularity solutions – they want the materials back!
Manuel Carmona Yebra, Counsellor for Environment and Oceans, Delegation of the European Union to the United States 
Moderator: Robin Waters, Executive Director, Circular Plastics Service, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
Make new connections or join familiar faces during this dedicated networking break. Sessions to resume at 10:40 AM.

Session 2: CO2 & Greenhouse Gases

Policy, emissions, and carbon cost will drive corporate net zero strategies. Translating strategy to actions necessitates a wholistic understanding of the GHG challenge and options to address it. A panelist of varied perspectives will explore each factor. Policy aspects include harmonization challenges of disparate country-level policies and timelines, and alignment with WTO directives. Emissions discussion will compare the magnitude of challenge for petrochemical producers versus suppliers and customers. Lastly, panelists will explore the cost of carbon, including mechanisms to capture and store CO2, carbon offsets, and other trading mechanisms, and how relative solutions will influence the strategic paths petrochemical producers choose.

David Yankovitz, Principal, US Chemicals Marketplace Leader, Deloitte
Jonah Margulis, Head of North America, Aker Carbon Capture 
Lisa Street, Head of Climate & Carbon Markets, OPIS
Mitch Toomey, Vice President Sustainability, ACC
Moderator: Steve Lewandowski, Vice President Olefins, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
Sessions to resume at 2:00 PM after lunch.

Session 3: Energy Transition

The “Energy transition” refers to a shift in the portfolio of energy source technologies with the objective of decreasing fossil fuel use. Currently, the power generation, mobility, and industry sectors together generate about 80% of GHG emissions. Scientists, politicians, and citizens are debating the pace of transition, which is expected to be challenged by population growth and continuous development in emerging countries. Expert speakers in this section will outline various perspectives and initiatives expected to influence the direction and pace of transition.

Phillip Wagner, Principal Research Analyst, McCloskey by OPIS
Casey Selecman, Director of Powertrain Forecasts, Autoforecast Solutions
Priya Ravindranath, Senior Marketing Manager, Chemical Markets, Air Liquide
Thomas Kwan, Director, Sustainability Research, Schneider Electric
Process electrification and digital transformation are key enablers for chemical sustainability. Their synergy brings new systems and paradigms for the chemical sector which, in turn, can provide new economic, social, and environmental benefits. Understanding and leveraging these opportunities should be examined and elucidated using 21st century know-how and technologies to maximize benefits and minimize risk. This talk will discuss these enablers in the context of the energy transition and the need for action. 
Steve Lewandowski, Vice President Olefins, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
Make new connections or join familiar faces during this dedicated networking break. Sessions to resume at 4:00 PM.

Session 4: Financial Considerations

The financial community plays an important role in advancing chemical industry sustainability. Investors are critical partners in the development of new technologies and the installation of new facilities essential to carbon footprint reduction and improved circularity. Can investors, technology developers, brand owners and consumers all be beneficiaries of the drive to sustainability? Understanding what and how financial entities think regarding their interest and role in developing a more sustainable chemical industry is critical to the success of sustainability initiatives. This session will provide insights from the financial market and related community regarding the evaluation of sustainability opportunities, risks and pathways.

Topics to be discussed:

  • How the Capital markets can enable a faster transition to sustainability
  • Maximizing investment returns during a sustainability transition
  • Funding pathways for sustainability-increased 3rd party collaboration could be the key
  • How to make sustainability profitable
  • Sustainability-an investors perspective on how to measure and value
  • The role of alternative finance in innovating towards net zero
Samu Salo, Senior Industry Advisor, IFC World Bank Group
Brian Payer, Senior Principal, Climate-Aligned Industries Program, Mission Possible Partnership – RMI
April Crow, VP, External Affairs & Investor Relations, Circulate Capital
James Williamson, Vice President, Global Financial & Capital Markets, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS 
Session Speakers

Manuel Carmona Yebra Counsellor for Environment and Oceans EU Delegation to the USA

Manuel Carmona Yebra, as Counsellor for Environment and Oceans at the Delegation of the EU in Washington DC, manages relations between the European Union and the US in a wide range of policies ranging from nature conservation to pollution, circular economy, plastics, oceans and fisheries and the Arctic region. Manuel has two degrees in Law and Communication and a Master’s Degree in EU Law from the University of Leicester (UK). He has previously worked at the European Commission in a number of policy fields such as UNFCCC negotiations on adaptation to climate change, climate diplomacy with Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other vulnerable countries, and the links between ocean and environmental issues. Previously, also at the European Commission, he was an international negotiator for the conservation and management of fishery resources in the North West Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, and also EU Head of Delegation for fisheries conservation at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

April Crow Vice President, External Affairs and Investor Relations Circulate Capital

As a globally recognized Sustainability leader, April has more than two decades of experience working throughout the value chain in a diverse set of roles in Sustainability, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs and Quality.  In 2018 she helped launch Circulate Capital, an investment management firm dedicated to incubating and financing companies that prevent the flow of ocean plastic waste to the world’s ocean and advancing the circular economy where she currently leads Investor Relations and External Affairs. Previously, she worked as Senior Director, Environment & Sustainability for The Coca-Cola Company providing leadership for the company’s environmental, sustainability and governance platform. April has been one of the leading industry voices -- pushing forward research, coalitions and programs to help understand and tackle the marine debris issue and advancing the Circular Economy.  She has developed and managed programs and collaborative efforts in partnership with government, industry and non-government organizations.  She was instrumental in the founding of the Trash Free Seas Alliance and was a founding member American Institute for Packaging and the Environment. She served on the Executive Committee for the Michigan State University Center for Packaging Innovation, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, the Ocean Exchange, NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries Business Advisory Council and as an advisor for the New Materials Institute. An active volunteer and mother of two, she was named to the University of Georgia’s 40 under 40 for her impact in business, leadership, community, and philanthropic endeavors.  She has served as a trustee for the 4-H Foundation, the University of Georgia Alumni Association, the Captain Planet Foundation and Leadership Georgia.

Celeste Jones Baumgardt Vice President, Corporate Development Nova Chemicals Corporation

Celeste Jones Baumgardt leads and provides direction over NOVA Chemicals’ business development and M&A/investments to drive revenue, profitability, and asset value growth for the company. Ms. Jones Baumgardt joined the company from Goldman Sachs, where she was a Vice President in their investment banking group. In that role, she focused on providing strategic and financial advice to companies in the energy and transportation sectors across North America and globally. Ms. Jones Baumgardt has spent more than ten years in investment banking and has completed more than $50 billion in M&A transactions.

Thomas Kwan Director Sustainability Research Schneider Electric

Thomas Alan Kwan is Director of Sustainability Research for Schneider Electric’s Sustainability Research Institute. At the Institute he heads industry decarbonization and circularity where he collaborates with prominent universities, national laboratories, coalitions, and NGOs. Prior to his role at Schneider Electric, he led research and development for planet positive materials and products at Unilever and previously served at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He holds a PhD from the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale University and was an AGLP Fellow where he advanced thought leadership at the nexus of micro-manufacturing, eco-design, and entrepreneurship. With a background in industry, regulatory, and academia, he is known for synergizing a systems approach with his collaborative character and has been recognized across topic areas, from Intel to the National Science Foundation, for his innovation and leadership. He is passionate about environmental justice and accelerating climate action to ensure the health and prosperity of future generations. 

Steve Lewandowski Vice President, Global Olefins & Derivatives Team Lead Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Mr. Lewandowski serves as the Vice President of Global Olefins at Chemical Market Analytics. Steve is based in Houston. During a career spanning 30 + years in the refining and chemical industry, Steve has experience across the spectrum of refining and petrochemical hydrocarbon value chains covering a wide array of financial, strategic, technical, and commercial roles. Before his move to CMA, Steve was Senior Manager of Base Chemicals at TOTAL Petrochemicals & Refining, Inc. In that capacity, he managed the P&L of the base chemicals business including joint venture relationships, strategic guidance to the partnerships, plant operational interfaces, project development, and the commercial responsibility for olefin and aromatic monomers including styrene. Prior to the Base Chemical Senior manager role, Steve had increasing responsibilities within the Petrochemical business at TOTAL. The Latest assignment was overseas, in Brussels Belgium, responsible for global aromatics long-term commercial business activity. The assignment included P&L responsibility and strategic project development for TOTAL around the world. Prior to the Belgian assignment, he worked as manager of the US aromatics business. Before 2000 Steve was involved in the refining and fuels side of the Hydrocarbon chain both for what was then FINA Oil and Chemical and for Star Enterprise (a joint venture between Texaco and Saudi Aramco) working as a process engineer, optimization engineer, fuels blending optimizer, branded/unbranded fuels marketing and supply lead, and in a business development role. Steve earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University in 1987 and an MBA with of focus on finance and economics from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2000.

Jonah Margulis Head of North America Aker Carbon Capture

Jonah Margulis is in charge of the North American market entry of Aker Carbon Capture. Mr. Margulis joined Aker Carbon Capture in February 2023 and has significant leadership experience from his roles spanning nearly a decade within the Aker group. Most recently, he was responsible for launching and leading the U.S. organization for Aker Offshore Wind and Mainstream Renewable Power in addition to previous roles as U.S. Country Manager, Head of Front-End North America, and General Manager of the Subsea Production Alliance at Aker Solutions. Mr. Margulis’s primary responsibilities include developing the strategy and operations plan for scaling the business in the region along with building and managing the local team and legal entity. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) and Advisory Board of Texas A&M University’s Subsea Engineering Program while previously serving as Vice Chair of Offshore Wind California (OWC) and multiple API/ISO working groups. Mr. Margulis obtained his engineering degree from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania and MBA with an Energy Management certificate from the University of Houston.

Ganesh Nagarajan Senior Director, Plastics Waste Management

Dr. Ganesh Nagarajan is the Senior Director of Plastics at WM.  He leads WM initiatives towards increasing recycling, unlocking supply and recovery of plastic from waste streams.  He is additionally responsible for value creation and stake holder engagement.  Prior to WM, Dr. Nagarajan worked at LyondellBasell for over two decades in multiple roles including Application Development, Sales, Marketing & Business Management.  He also supported the development of numerous recycling projects as a thematic expert for the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, as well as an Executive Advisory Board Member of Cyclyx. His international assignments include roles as Marketing and Sales Manager for Northeast Asia and Australia at Basell Asia Pacific Limited and as Managing Director for Basell Polyolefins India Limited.  

Brian Payer Senior Principal, Climate-Aligned Industries Program Mission Possible Partnership - RMI

Brian Payer is a Senior Principal on RMI’s Climate-Aligned Industries Program, where he leads the chemical, refining and low-carbon fuel initiatives to drive low and zero-emission solutions. He leads the low carbon fuels and feedstocks workstream for the Clean Industrial Hubs program of the Mission Possible Partnership. Brian was previously the Vice President of Product Management at Sphera, a global software and data company, leading the Environmental, Health and Safety as well as Sustainability business lines, including carbon management and accounting for heavy industrial customers. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University and UC Berkely, respectively.

Priya Ravindranath Senior Manager, Chemical Markets Air Liquide

Priya holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering and has more than 15 years of experience as a petrochemical products market expert. Prior to the 5 years at Air Liquide, she spent ~11 years at IHS Markit providing market and strategy consulting for petrochemical companies. At Air Liquide, Priya leads marketing within the chemicals/ energy transition sector and is responsible for providing expert advice and analysis on the evolution of key industrial gas markets and customers, the relevant customer production technologies, and their industrial gas requirements within the chemical market environment. She is responsible for developing the breadth and depth of knowledge of regional energy transition market trends (chemical industry decarbonization, low carbon ammonia, chemical recycling) by taking into account global complexities of supply demand, trade and market trends. Priya’s extensive experience and deep understanding of the chemicals market, its customers and applications drives the delivery of sustainable value propositions with Air Liquide chemical customers.  

Samu Salo Senior Industry Advisor IFC World Bank

Mr. Samu Salo works as a global advisor for IFC’s projects in chemicals industry and is based in Washington DC. Having worked for 20 years in various sectors of chemicals industry before joining IFC, Mr. Salo now leverages his industry insights in due diligence work for the IFC’s investment projects. The past few years Mr. Salo has promoted circular economy principles in his line of work and is excited to see a surge of activities in this space, especially around circular economy for plastics. He firmly believes that while circular economy for plastics is not a silver bullet to solve all the global challenges from GHG emissions to marine litter, it is an important piece of that puzzle.

Casey Selecman Director of Powertrain Forecast AutoForecast Solutions LLC (AFS)

Casey has been helping the automotive industry understand the complex world of powertrain forecasting for over 20 years. As the Director of Powertrain Forecasts at AFS, his primary focus is on the North American market, but he keeps a constant eye on external market influences as the world becomes less regional and more global. Over his career, Casey has worked directly with vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, automotive associations, and regulators to support their unique business challenges. Today, he helps companies navigate industry risk and opportunities by using critical market intelligence to give them an edge in their strategy and business planning efforts. He has also supported both California and US Federal fuel economy and GHG regulations in the early 2000’s and continues to follow all regulations impacting future powertrain requirements. He has a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Michigan and lives with his wife and three kids in suburban Detroit.

Lisa Street Executive Director, Head of Carbon & Climate Markets OPIS, A Dow Jones Company

Ms. Street, Executive Director, Head of Carbon and Climate Markets at OPIS, is an expert in developing pricing solutions for environmental commodities markets. Her current work focuses on bringing transparency to the voluntary and compliance carbon markets as well as decarbonization strategies so that energy transition and climate action leaders can make informed business decisions. Ms. Street launched the OPIS Carbon Markets Report for daily compliance carbon market pricing in 2014. More recently, in December 2020, she launched the OPIS Global Carbon Offset Report, debuting world’s first daily pricing suite for voluntary carbon credits. Ms. Street has more than 15 years’ experience with Price Reporting Agencies. She holds a BS in Journalism from the University of Houston and a certificate in Yale’s Financing and Deploying Clean Energy Program.

Mitch Toomey Vice President Sustainability American Chemistry Council (ACC)

As Vice President of Sustainability and Responsible Care, Mitch Toomey is responsible for leading the strategic implementation of ACC’s world-class EHS&S performance initiative and executing the industry’s commitment to sustainability – through innovation, collaboration, and technologies that enhance the safety and environmental impacts of ACC member products and operations. Previously, Mitch served as Director of Sustainability for BASF Corporation and also spent more than 15 years with the United Nations and UN Development Programme (UNDP), where he helped champion the United Nations global social responsibility and sustainability movement. He also led UN engagement and expert dialogues for the 2012 Rio Conference on Sustainability, launched the UNDP Innovation Facility, and served as lead author for the UNDP Knowledge Management Strategy. Prior to joining the UN, Mitch worked in the private sector building two startups. Mitch earned both an MBA and BA from New York University.

Philip Wagner Principal Research Analyst McCloskey by OPIS

Phil Wagner is a Principal Research Analyst at McCloskey by OPIS, leading research and forecasting for US and international coal, natural gas, and steel raw materials markets. Mr. Wagner has been covering coal and natural gas markets for over 11 years with prior research roles with IHS Markit’s coal, metals, and mining team, Doyle Trading Consultants, a boutique energy research firm that specialized in the coal sector, and market analysis and strategy roles at Alpha Natural Resources, a US based coal producer. In addition, Mr. Wagner has held positions in finance and business development for a nonprofit children’s hospital, and various marketing, strategy, and business development roles at Lafarge North America, a raw materials supplier to the construction and building materials industry. Mr. Wagner holds a Bachelor of Science from York College of Pennsylvania.

Robin Waters Executive Director, Global Circular Plastics Sustainability Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Robin Waters serves as Executive Director of Chemical Market Analytics focused on planning and analysis for the advisory services that cover polyethylene and polypropylene. Mr. Waters brings more than three decades of industry experience to his role as Director of plastics planning and analysis. His responsibilities at Chemical Market Analytics cover polyethylene and polypropylene, including support for both market advisory services as well as single client projects and studies related to polyolefins. He served as project lead for "Plastics Pathway to Sustainability", the multiclient study on plastics sustainability issued in November 2018 and is project lead for "Changing Course: Plastics, carbon and the transition to circularity" an expanded multi-client study on plastics sustainability to be issued in 2020. Mr. Waters joined Chemical Market Analytics in 2012 as Director of Polyolefins-North America. Previously, he was with LyondellBasell in commercial management roles in polyethylene and polypropylene for 15 years, including new business startups and third-party marketing agreements, regional sales management, strategic planning, and contract management. He began his career at DuPont, initially as a business analyst for supporting the global elastomers business followed by technical, sales, and business management assignments for a variety of films and resins in packaging markets. Mr. Waters holds a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Georgia and an MBA from the University of Miami, both in the United States.

James Williamson Vice President, Global Financial & Capital Markets Team Lead Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

James Williamson is the Vice President for Financial & Capital Markets at Chemical Market Analytics. Based in London, U.K., James is responsible for developing the base chemical business into the FCM client base. He is responsible for the development and publication of the Chemicals Advisory Service (CAS), a product designed to primarily meet the needs of the Buy-side investment community, utilizing the in-depth market knowledge and analysis from the chemicals franchise. Before joining the IHS Markit Base chemical business (now known as Chemical Market Analytics), James worked as a chemicals consultant for c.10 years, before moving into equity research and sales covering the chemicals sector for over 20 years, including time at UBS and Morgan Stanley. After graduating from Imperial College, with a BSc in Mining Geology, James currently lives just outside London with his family.

David Yankovitz Principal US Chemicals Marketplace Leader Deloitte

With 30+ years' experience, David develops growth strategies to strengthen the Chemical and Specialty Materials sector. He is known for building enduring client relationships with CEOs and C-Level executives at premier international companies in both growth and cost containment initiatives. David’s breadth of experience encompasses business strategies, innovation, environmental sustainability, digital transformation, supply chain and operations across Energy and Chemicals. High impact results include leading growth strategies, digital transformation, and environmental strategies focused on sustainable products, lowering GHG emissions, sourcing renewable energies, and increasing circularity.