The world population is growing, while the natural resources available for industrial use are limited. As the cost of raw materials has increased, the industry is under increasing pressure to find ways of using fewer raw materials and less energy. At the same time, a growing trend of eco-awareness among consumers has developed and demand for more natural, sustainable products is strong.
EcoTain represents a systematic approach to sustainable innovation by providing a tangible means of understanding the ecological, economic and social impact of Clariant’s products over the entire value chain. It also supports companies towards achieving their targets for sustainability.
EcoTain life cycle
Within the framework of a four-step life cycle, EcoTain integrates the principles and ethics of sustainability into business activities according to measurable criteria. The four steps are:
• Sustainable design,
• Responsible process,
• Safe & efficient use, and
Every EcoTain product fulfills the EcoTain requirements over its entire life-cycle. The EcoTain claim “sustainable excellence at every step” is a promise that every product carrying the EcoTain label delivers advantages and benefits at each of its four life–cycle steps.
No matter if Personal Care, Home Care, Crop Protection or Aircraft Deicing, the EcoTain concept is suitable for ingredients and services used for a wide array of end-applications. The benefits at a specific lifecycle phase are illustrated by the following four product examples: SynergenGL5; Hostacerin SFO ; Texcare® SRA 300 F; and Safewing MP I 1938 ECO.
Sustainable thinking starts in the development stage of a product. This means designing it using the safest possible components at the same time as maximizing the use of renewable raw materials.
Clariant’s Synergen GL5 – an agrochemical adjuvant – fulfills these conditions admirably. It is made up of around 95 percent bio-based substances comprising polyglycerol ester and coconut fatty acids. More importantly, it contains no toxic NPEOs - nonylphenol ethoxylates. Not only does Synergen GL5 maximize the use of renewable resources, it also saves resources thanks to its adjuvant effect. And its benign product profile results in improved safety for the plant, farmer and consumer.
This step reflects the need to maximize efficiency in terms of final yield coupled with the reduction of emissions, waste, and wastewater. This involves following procedures that have been certified for safety and quality (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001) and also ensuring the shortest possible distribution routes. Products are manufactured at multiple production sites around the world so that customers can reduce their transport time and costs.
Clariant’s Hostacerin SFO – an emulsifier for cosmetics – is exemplary for a responsible process. Its production, following the cosmetic GMP guidelines (ISO 22716), is carried out at low temperature and in a single step. Making efficient use of the resources employed, it results in reduced emissions of greenhouse gases, effluents and waste and maximizes the safety of workers and the environment.
Safe & efficient use
Safety in application and use combined with enhanced performance form the core of step three of the EcoTain life cycle. The focus is on advantages and benefits during formulation and final application. This involves making products highly effective and multifunctional so that customers get more by using less.
This principle is well demonstrated by the formulation of soil release polymer Texcare SRA 300 F that is used in laundry detergents. In terms of safety, its improved toxicological profile results in no skin and no eye irritation. It is also highly efficient at low concentrations, delivers easy stain removal at washing temperatures below 30°C as well as increasing the efficacy of the detergent while also saving on resources.
The life cycle of a product is only finished once it has been disposed of. EcoTain principles dictate that products should degrade readily and rapidly under conventional conditions, minimizing the waste produced and its impact on the environment.
Safewing MP I 1938 ECO, an aircraft de-icing fluid, for example, is 100 percent biodegradable in 10 days at 8°C. In line with the Clariant recycling concept, the run-off is collected, treated and re-used which results in 60 to 70 percent less waste and reduced CO2 emissions at airports.
EcoTain represents Clariant’s approach to sustainability at the product level and is being systematically rolled out throughout the company. Products in the Crop Protection and Paints & Coatings business lines have already been brought under the EcoTain umbrella; further business lines will follow. New sustainable ingredients are also currently in the pipeline and will soon be launched under the EcoTain label.