It has become abundantly clear that the world is facing enormous challenges – now and even more in the years to come. Population is growing rapidly, cities are becoming bigger, and natural resources scarcer. But high-tech materials and plastics can help cope with these changes.
In 1950 there were approximately 2.5 billion people living on the planet. Now it’s already seven billion, and by the middle of the century it will be nine: the rate of global population growth has reached at an estimated one billion every 14 years – meaning it is becoming a crowded planet, placing a great strain on natural resources.
Increased urbanisation, growing mobility, high demand for fossil fuels, and larger populations of older people especially in developed countries, are further examples of the fundamental changes that are taking place.
However with challenges come opportunities to make the world a better place – and high-tech polymer-based solutions will help face those challenges long into the future.
Covestro is looking for better ways of feeding, housing, clothing, and caring for people who live on this planet as well as ways of protecting the natural resources on which everyone relies. There are huge steps forward when alternatives to using existing products are found, and this is a big motivating factor.
Innovation is the pivot point
Innovation is one of the pillars of current and future business success, so there are around 1000 researchers and developers working at Covestro’s innovation centers around the world, from Leverkusen in Germany to Shanghai in China and Pittsburgh in the USA. This international presence enables the company to understand regional markets and customer needs.
But it is also important not to do it all alone. Key sectors of modern life and billions of people are relying on the industry as a whole to come up with material innovations. This is why Covestro collaborates with partners from other fields of expertise to come up with complete solutions –futuristic but realistic ideas in areas such as transport, construction and electronic communication.
Examples of this include the EcoCommercial Building program, involving a global network of experts working to develop sustainable buildings; the Solar Impulse project which has sent a plane around the world relying on just solar power; and the SunRise initiative to help vulnerable and rural communities preserve food supplies in developing countries.