Injection Molded Plastic Industry Seeks ESG as Growth Enabler
Sustainability has come to the fore as a key pillar in developing an environmentally friendly injection molded plastic solution. Injection molders have exhibited a commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices amidst burgeoning plastic pollution. In May 2022, UNESCO’s Ocean Literacy Portal stated that plastic waste contributes 80% of all marine pollution. Meanwhile, merely 9% of plastic waste is recycled and 22% is mismanaged, according to an OECD report. Molding solution strategists across automotive, medical devices and packaging industries will emphasize reducing plastic waste and carbon emissions yet providing safe and reliable products with increased user experience.
Embracing ESG principles have become invaluable to providing sustainably-focused services that foster teamwork and enhance lives and the livelihoods of the global community. In essence, forward-looking companies seek strong governance to integrate sustainability measures at every level and ensure their products are in line with environmental and social commitments. Stakeholders, including customers, employees, communities, investors, trade groups, industry associations and lenders, are investing in ESG goals to unlock growth potentials.
Industry leaders have upped their focus on minimizing carbon footprint and managing climate change risks. Reducing and reusing waste could be prevalent with bullish investment in waste diversion and recycling solutions. For instance, in December 2022, Exxon started one of the largest advanced recycling facilities in Texas, to break down plastics and transform them into raw materials for new products. The Baytown facility can process over 80 million pounds of plastic waste per year. The U.S. giant is contemplating recycling 1 billion pounds annually of used plastics by 2026.
Sustainable companies have furthered their commitment to mitigate emissions in their operations. The company has injected over USD 10 billion in research, development and deployment of lower-emission energy solutions over the past two decades, according to the ExxonMobil 2021 Energy & Carbon Summary Report. Buoyant investments in ESG could make a difference and help stakeholders reach their goals.
Incumbent players expect that promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), workplace safety, well-being and inclusivity will provide avenues of growth. Stakeholders have prioritized a sustainable framework to underscore employability and a work culture that can bolster the team’s performance. For instance, since 2022, BASF has been measuring employees’ sense of belonging with the inclusion index. It has a host of Employee Resource Groups globally—the LGBTQ+ network celebrated its 10th anniversary in Ludwigshafen, Germany, in 2022.
Occupational safety has grabbed headlines as one of the major segments of the social pillar. The European company is gearing up to minimize lost-time injuries not exceeding 0.1 per 200,000 working hours by 2025. BASF furthered its emphasis on human rights and social standards. The company stated that 151 human rights-related complaints were received by phone, email and post in 2022, down from 206 in the preceding year. Diversity, safety and well-being will continue to be indispensable to further sustainable production in the injection molded plastic industry.
The strength and effectiveness of a company largely depend upon transparency, corporate behavior, ethics & compliance, corporate governance and board diversity. A zero-tolerance policy for harassment and anonymous reporting tools could be prevalent. For instance, at Dow, 395 matters were reported to the Office of Ethics and Compliance (OEC) in 2021. The Board oversees the company’s ESG priorities to ensure accountability and transparency. It introduced enhanced carbon emissions reporting and improved climate risk disclosure and GHG intensity metrics to bolster ESG reporting and disclosures, according to its 2nd annual integrated ESG report published in July 2022.
The company also upped its efforts on diversifying the board and ESG disclosures. The U.S.-headquartered company elected three new members in 2021 and 2022. Besides, as of August 2021, Dow’s board of directors was 55% women or U.S. ethnic minorities, exhibiting a commitment to inclusive corporate culture. The 2021 INtersections ESG Report included disclosures in line with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and World Economic Forum (WEF) Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics.
With the global economy expanding, governance practices exhibit the company’s commitment to all stakeholders and concerted efforts toward long-term viability. Accordingly, well-established players and startups are poised to prioritize ESG strategies. For instance, Barnes Group emphasized women in leadership positions, indicating that four out of 12 directors are women, according to its 2021 ESG report. Meanwhile, in September 2021, DuPont announced it joined RE100 global initiative to propel its sustainability profile and exhort commitment to 100% renewable electricity by 2050. These trends suggest injection molders will likely up their sustainability quotient to tap into the global landscape. It is worth noting that Grand View Research valued the injection molded plastic market at USD 284.7 billion in 2021.
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