Digital Technologies for Sustainability in the European Chemical Industry

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It is the first ever Cefic report on the role of digitalisation in the chemical industry.

Digitalisation has the power to transform the European chemical industry, revolutionising the sector's solutions and enabling a circular, more sustainable economy in line with the EU Green Deal objectives. This exciting potential is highlighted in the new report, which details how technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, Internet of Things, digital twins, robotics, virtual/augmented reality, and blockchain can accelerate the industry's transformation.
According to the research, digital technologies can make the greatest contribution in five priority areas in both large and small companies in the EU: (1) process design and production for climate and circularity objectives, (2) sustainability assessment, (3) enabling materials and chemicals circularity through tracking and tracing, (4) sustainable product design, and (5) safe and efficient logistics and distribution.
The report also highlights a number of challenges that must be addressed to fully realise the potential of digital technologies. These include technological challenges such as data availability, interoperability, standardisation and cybersecurity as well as reluctance among companies to share data, financial costs, organisational issues, and a shortage of digital skills in the workforce. Greater collaboration between EU institutions and the chemical industry will be needed to address some of these bottlenecks.