LG Chem continues shift to sustainable business

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LG Chem continues shift to sustainable business

A researcher from LG Chem inspects the first eco-friendly recycled acrylonitrile butadiene styrene in white. [LG CHEM]

A researcher from LG Chem inspects the first eco-friendly recycled acrylonitrile butadiene styrene in white. [LG CHEM]

LG Chem is transitioning to a more sustainable approach to its overall business and management strategy. Its green agenda includes climate change response, transitioning to renewable energy and material recycling, according to LG Chem.

The leading chemical firm announced its sustainability strategy last year and declared that it will go carbon neutral by 2050, a first in the domestic chemical industry.

LG Chem aims to cut carbon emissions to 10 million tons by 2050. To meet the goal, the company needs to offset over 30 million tons of carbon emissions, which is equivalent to that of 12.5 million cars with internal combustion engines.

In a bid to reach the ambitious target, LG Chem is pushing for a renewable energy transition in all of its workplaces across the globe, another first in the Korean chemical industry. The goal is to replace the fossil fuels used in the workplace with renewable energy sources.

LG Chem secured of 260 GWh of renewable energy through the Green Premium Program, a Korean equivalent of the RE100 global initiative, and a power purchase agreement. That’s enough power for 60,000 household to use for a year.

LG Chem’s Yeosu Complex and Osan Tech Center completed the transition to 100-percent renewable energy, along with the Leyou New Energy Materials plant in China.

Moreover, LG Chem signed a memorandum of understanding with Neste, the world’s biggest biodiesel company based in Finland, to produce eco-friendly synthetic resins with biomaterials. If all fossil fuels are replaced with biofuel, some 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions could to be cut.

LG Chem is actively investing in eco-friendly material development such as biodegradable plastics and post-consumer recycled plastics as well.

In July 2020, LG Chem succeeded in mass-producing the world’s first eco-friendly recycled acrylonitrile butadiene styrene in white.

The company developed the first biodegradable plastic with identical physical properties and transparency as synthetic resins, made with glucose extracted from corn and glycerol.

Furthermore, LG Chem plans to commercialize biodegradable polybutylene adipate-co-terephthalate and corn-based polylactic acid by 2024.

Promoting recycling is another pillar of LG Chem’s sustainability transition. The goal is to create a business model encompassing the recycling process, from manufacturing to collecting and recycling used plastics, LG Chem explained.

LG Chem is working with start-up Innerbottle to create the “Plastic Eco-Platform,” where plastic cosmetic containers can be collected and recycled.

LG Chem will provide Innerbottle with eco-friendly plastic materials, and the containers recollected by designated logistics companies will be recycled to create raw materials. The two companies are jointly working on building the recycling system, including the logistics network.

Furthermore, LG Chem issued green and social bonds worth some 820 billion won ($700 million) in February, the largest amount of sustainability bonds for a private company in Korea.

BY SHIN HA-NEE [shin.hanee@joongang.co.kr]
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