Issue Date: December 3, 2012
Reasonable Business Models
“Sustaining Business” by Alex Scott indicates that industry in general, and the chemical industry specifically, is struggling to implement a profitable business model in a world of limited resources and increasing environmental risk (C&EN, Sept. 24, page 22).
This problem has obviously existed for some time, but it has become increasingly significant for consideration because of somewhat ridiculous self-imposed limitations by customer service companies. For example, the airline industry is expecting complete elimination of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. A U.S. flooring company expects to eliminate all oil use, emissions, and waste at an unspecified date.
As with anything, people can develop ridiculous anticipations and goals with regard to sustainability. The chemical industry, nevertheless, should continue to adapt to reasonable requirements while noting obvious limitations. For example, it may be possible to use a propulsion system that would eliminate CO2 emissions for airline use. However, if the cost of such a system is radically higher than current costs, it obviously will not “fly.”
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