EnabledCircular News Insights

EnabledCircular News Insights

New FCA report published on Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDR) and investment labels

4th November, 2022

An important consultation paper has been published by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) setting out proposals in line with the proposed UK Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (“SDR”). The proposed changes to rules are aimed at tackling so-called “greenwashing” and to improve wider trust in sustainable products. The proposals cover different measures including labelling; transparency aimed at enabling consumers and investors to understand sustainability-related features of products; clear and fair sustainable-related product claims; ongoing product environmental performance measures; reporting on management of risks and opportunities and stricter use of terminology in marketing materials.

The measures will have far reaching effects on the market for sustainable products which are relatively under-regulated, not just in the UK. Chemical companies, for instance producing biodegradable products, personal care ingredients and many other consumer products need to consider the potential risks and opportunities which could arise as a result of the new rules. Stakeholders have been invited to provide feedback by 25 January 2023 and the final rules will be published by Q2, 2023.

The Circular Economy – scale is the enemy, but is recycling your friend?

3rd November, 2022

Circular Economy processes are a key tool for reducing carbon footprints, but the reverse doesn’t hold true. The chemical industry is making its products in ever higher quantities with key building blocks such as ethylene, propylene and para-xylene moving to multi-megaton scale plants. It is no surprise that in spite of the marketing around green packaging, many drinks companies including Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Co and others have yet to reduce their total consumption of virgin fossil feedstocks – the market for their products is simply growing faster than the non-virgin content can be added.

Plastics recycling has come under fire from NGO’s including Greenpeace whose recent publication reported that just 5-6% of U.S. plastics are being recycled and dismissed plastics recycling as a “dead-end”. The report has a point given that the rate of recycling has not made enough progress – although many companies are working on scaling their processes and in future there will undoubtedly be more capacity on line. Undoubtedly plastic packaging causes a terrible global burden in terms of ocean and land waste, and while it can be substituted, the culture of “single-use” remain to be tackled – paper bags are not nearly as reusable as plastic. This is compounded by the rise in use of mobile phone apps to order food on-demand – which further proliferates the single-use packaging culture.

Plastic in non-packaging applications is ubiquitous – from electronics, medical, construction, transport and so many thousands of uses, there is no practical way to eliminate most of it, therefore chemical recycling has to remain part of the toolkit for dealing with end-of-life plastics, once all refuse and reduce options have been exhausted.