What I’ve Learned: Strategies for a More Sustainable Company

Monday, August 3, 2020

The following was published on August 3, 2020 as a LinkedIn blog post by Johan Koopmans, Recycling and Circular Economy Sourcing Specialist, Trinseo

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Johan Koopmans, Recycling and Circular Economy Sourcing Specialist, Trinseo

Sustainability has taken hold of society. Governments, NGOs, and associations are coalescing around sustainability, while industries are joining forces to further progress.

At Trinseo, our journey toward sustainability has progressed exponentially, recently. For us, the first step toward sustainability began with a simple concept: recognizing there is an intrinsic need for sustainability in business.

Trinseo’s sustainability progress can be attributed to a fully integrated strategy with company-wide support. For those looking to emulate our success, here are some of my key learnings.

Our Journey Toward Sustainability

Following our carveout from The Dow Chemical Company, our company was focused on establishing an autonomous identity as the company we all recognize today as Trinseo. When I joined Trinseo nearly four years ago, we were at an inflection point. Our focus had pivoted to sustainability and establishing its tenants as foundational to Trinseo’s identity and business practices.

Since then, we have made a quantum leap in our sustainability initiatives. We’re focusing our efforts on areas of high impact, like closed-loop recycling of polystyrene, extraction from multi-polymer structures, bio-based and degradable products, and rubber tires containing recycled content. We also recently launched our 2030 Sustainability Goals, which provide direction for our long-term efforts in the form of 15 ambitious, measurable goals intended to drive meaningful change.

Strategies to Embed Sustainability

Trinseo’s sustainability progress can be attributed to a fully integrated strategy with company-wide support. For those looking to emulate our success, here are some of my key learnings.

In order to successfully integrate sustainability into the very fabric of any company, it’s important that the entire company assumes responsibility. It cannot be a separate agenda item or a single department’s responsibility. Instead, you need to operate in a sustainable way so that everyone from operations and R&D to sales and marketing looks at their work through a sustainability lens. It’s particularly important to have senior management fully on board with this direction, as they will be essential in driving company-wide change and prioritizing these initiatives.

Furthermore, you need to change the company’s mindset to shift from short-term gains toward longer-term outcomes. Mindset change is challenging, so focus on those willing to change. Bring together this sub-set of the company to collect data, determine your base level, and ascertain your core focus based upon identified strengths. With these key items established, you can build toward sustainability goals that unite the company in pursuit of progress.

The journey to sustainability is long and winding, but global megatrends affirm it is essential. In fact, companies have cited improvements to business outcomes when aligning their business practices to the tenants of sustainability.

Truly, there is much potential on the horizon, and we intend to reflect on our progress in 10 years having successfully achieved our goals. I look forward to sharing updates on Trinseo’s progress and encourage you to check out our recently released 2020 Sustainability & CSR Report for additional insight into our journey.

Trinseo News

December 10 - December 10, 2020 ISCC Technical Stakeholder Meeting on Circular Economy and Bioeconomy Location - Virtual - Dr. Sarmenio Saliba, Asset and Product Manager – Trinseo Synthetic Rubber to Speak at 11:50 CET Business alignment - Sustainability

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