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Technology and Innovation in the “New Normal”

Even before the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, digitalization and the mitigation of climate change were both high on the global chemical industry’s agenda. The pandemic, however, has further accentuated the importance of these critical efforts, prompting companies to fast-forward their strategic responses or risk being left behind. We have seen this with how the pandemic has demonstrated the value of digital technology applications, and through what can be achieved when companies and governments collaborate to tackle global crises.

At SABIC, we believe the sustainable success of organizations will be determined by their ability to continuously foster innovation and embrace technology. However, this approach requires fresh, new ways of thinking and a culture of ingenuity within the organization that encourages innovation to flourish.

Sustainability and Innovation

At SABIC, sustainability and innovation are inexorably linked. It is imperative that research and development go far beyond the immediate needs of our business and look at the trends impacting our customers in the markets where they operate. We run long-term technology programs in strategic areas like non-conventional feedstock, solar energy, flexible electronics, polymeric-responsive materials, microalgae, bio-aromatics, bio-specialties, CO2 as a reactant, and CH4 activation. These activities lay the foundation for a bright future – one where we will continue to leverage our advanced technological capabilities and secure our long-term growth, as well support the growth of our customers.

A key part of innovation at SABIC involves deepening our investment in the circular economy. This will ensure that we can sustain the many benefits of plastic for society while protecting the planet. 

In 2020, we deepened our commitment to the circular economy, expanding our TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio and services to develop a framework that is helping us rethink how we do business. By creating circular models that close the loop on used plastic for good, we will build resilience into our business and the planet.

However, we need to go further by informing industry on how plastic can serve as a non-disposable material “on-loan” from the circular value chain. Demonstrating the intrinsic value of plastics will also help our own sector move away from a transactional model and encourage legislation that reflects the invaluable contribution that can be driven by this new, critical transformation of the value chain.

People at the Center

People are any organization’s greatest asset. This is why we focus on investing in today’s and tomorrow’s talent to help solve society’s challenges and drive sustainable and inclusive development wherever we operate.

We provide many of our young scientists with opportunities to complete Masters degrees and/or PhDs at elite universities in relevant fields such as catalysis or engineering. We also complement their advanced training with our early career development and on-the-job-learning programs at our manufacturing affiliates and through platforms such as #Accelerate, which helps talented and passionate employees accelerate their own development by joining critical projects or new initiatives - whether within their daily job scope or beyond it.

We have developed and supported several educational programs such as the SABIC Young Leadership Council to empower SABIC’s young leaders to shape future business decisions, drive organizational culture, and establish a network within the company. Initiatives like these are fostering innovation and progress by empowering future generations to help change the world for the better.

A culture of Ingenuity

From our foundation in 1976, our tradition of ingenuity has driven continuous improvement in the way we operate and fueled our relentless quest for sustainable growth. It has been this pioneering mindset that has driven our evolution over the years to become a technology leader. This is reflected globally through the number of patents we have issued, along with our patent applications, which stand above 9,900. Additionally, we are driving several groundbreaking initiatives around the world, including our new polycarbonate facility in Cartagena, Spain, which is set to become the world’s first large-scale chemical production site to be run entirely on renewable power by 2024.

We have over 1,500 employees globally who are dedicated to market leading projects across 21 cutting-edge research centers. This unwavering commitment to research and innovation is what enables us to remain at the forefront of the global chemicals industry – powering our sustainable growth and global competitiveness.

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