CIEX 2020 VIRTUAL conference is just around the corner and as part of our pre-conference interviews we recently spoke with Pascal Chalvon, Chief Sustainability & Energy Officer at SOLVAY about the highlights of his session on translating sustainability into daily business and the main challenges.
Question #1: Without giving too much away – what is the core message of your talk and what would you like delegates to remember?
Pascal: Sustainability is no more a question for experts and dreamers, it is the responsibility of managers and an expectation of the whole society. Embedding sustainability into daily business requires adapting strategy, governance, metrics and bold goals.
Question #2: Why did you choose the topic of your talk?
Pascal: Beyond great ideas, we need to act. How to make it happen is an interesting question.
Question #3: What motivates you to join CIEX 2020 and what are your expectations?
Pascal: Sharing our experience with Solvay One Planet, listening to other good solutions, this is a good path to innovate and create sustainable value
Question #4: The need for innovation has been a continued topic for the chemical industry –how would you sum up the current state of the industry, specifically with a focus on its innovation efforts?
Pascal: We are at a turning point where the decision-making process of innovation pipes, for products and technologies, has to integrate the extra-financial factors. Beyond competitiveness and technical solutions, impact on climate, biodiversity, environment, resource scarcity and life respect in all forms become part of the equation. Chemistry is at the heart of any material transformation, being the mother of all industries, has an essential role to play.
Question #5: What must (chemical) industry leaders do to remain competitive and prepare for the future?
Pascal: Industry leaders have to embed sustainability in any decision they take, in everything they do, being aware of the impact of their decisions and act for a better and more inclusive world
Question #6: Looking back on the past 3 months please share your thoughts on the impact of COVID-19 on the industry but also society in general
Pascal: The COVID experience could be characterized by 3 phases: the crisis time, the rebound, the new normal. The first 3 months have been mainly phase 1 and we entered into phase 2 while thinking of what will be the phase 3.
Industry has struggled to mitigate the health and economic crisis, but in the meantime, chemistry has revealed to be essential.
Let us hope that from the crisis will emerge an acceleration for an ecological and inclusive way of life. The society seems to be asking for that, but inequality in front of the COVID also revealed that inclusiveness is essential in the equation.