VCI position paper

Chances and limitations for the use of renewable raw materials in the chemical industry

The chemical industry actively works on broadening its raw material base and increasingly uses renewables where this is technically feasible and makes sense from economic, ecological and social aspects. Further major R&D efforts are needed to open up new fields of application for renewables.

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Core statements

  • Renewable raw materials have been established for a long time in the chemical industry. They are used in applications where they bring technical, economic or other advantages.
  • Resource efficiency and sustainability are important guiding principles for the chemical industry. The use of renewable raw materials only contributes to a sustainable development where it is advantageous also from ecological and social aspects – beyond technical and economic feasibility.
  • Diversifying the raw materials base is a central element of the chemical industry’s raw material strategy. This includes the use of renewables.
  • The chemical industry needs renewable raw materials at competitive world market prices. Existing trade obstacles should be reduced or eliminated.
  • Further research and development efforts are required to open up new fields of application for the material use of renewables in the chemical industry. For research and market potentials to be utilised to the full, it is also essential to have an environment that is conducive to innovation and ready to accept new technologies.
  • Innovation is a major lever for a broader material use of renewables. For this reason, actions by public administrations should give more focus on promoting research and development (R&D).
  • The extent and the speed of new renewables-based products making their way depend on many factors: price, quality, properties, interest of customers, availability. Additional challenges arise where new value chains need to be built.
  • Already now, new fields of application for the material use of renewables are a reality in the chemical industry. But from today’s perspective, fossil raw materials will remain the most important component in the raw material mix of the chemical industry in Germany.

Please find VCI's 8-pages position paper in the download section at the top of this page.

For questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact us.


Dipl.-Kfm. Tilman Benzing