Corbion: teamwork to make the SDG’s work

At Corbion the global market leader in lactic acid, lactic acid derivatives, and a leading company in emulsifiers, functional enzyme blends, minerals, vitamins and algae ingredients, we develop sustainable ingredient solutions to improve the quality of life for people today and for future generations. We are committed to operating our business in a way that enables us to meet the defining societal needs of our time, from food security to resource depletion to population growth. Sustainability is at the heart of our strategy – and we demonstrate it every day across our entire value chain.

In Thailand, for example, we produce lactic acid from cane sugar provided by our long-standing supplier Mitr Phol. Mitr Phol also has a clear sustainability vision, as evidenced by their membership of the BonSucro certification scheme. The lactic acid we produce is then used to produce PLA in the brand-new 75kT/a bioplastics plant of Total Corbion PLA, our 50/50 joint venture with Total.

We have aligned our strategy with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Corbion has chosen to focus on SDG2 (Zero hunger) and SDG12 (Responsible production and consumption) as this is where can create the most impact. SDG2 focuses on achieving food security, improved nutrition, and sustainable agriculture. SDG12 is about moving toward a circular economy, with food waste reduction as a sub-target.

Many of the environmental and social impacts in our value chain are upstream of our own operations. Therefore, we have to make sure that our raw materials such as cane sugar, soy, corn, wheat and palm oil are sourced responsibly. We focus on tier-1 suppliers that source directly from farmers, requiring that they take responsibility for addressing social and environmental issues at the farm level. We request them to work towards the implementation of the relevant sustainability standard for each of these raw materials.

Responsible operations means that Corbion aims to create a safe and healthy workspace with the goal of having zero incidents. We operate with the greatest care for safety, health, and the environment for our employees and the communities we engage with. Our “zero waste” ambition focuses on the reduction of waste by valorizing all our by-products by 2020 and eliminating landfill completely by 2030. This ambition contributes to the shift from a linear economy, based on a “take-make-dispose” system to a circular economy that is waste-free and regenerative by design.

Growing our business in sustainable solutions can help maximize our contributions to Zero hunger (SDG2) and Responsible production and consumption (SDG12). Our food ingredients help keep food fresh and safe from production until consumption, which reduces food waste and helps make food more accessible and affordable. Our non-PHO emulsifiers, algae oils and other ingredients also provide solutions for creating healthier foods. Corbion biochemicals and bioplastics further the transition to a circular economy by offering an alternative to fossil-based resources that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, toxicity and waste generation.

Marcel Wubbolts, Chief Technology Officer of Corbion says: “In modern-day innovation you cannot do thing alone anymore. Climate change is way too big a challenge, so companies need to work together. You can see that in how we collaborate with Mitr Phol and the way we interact with Total.”