The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 10, 2019, more than 600 environmental groups signed a letter submitted to U.S. Representatives urging them to consider certain principles on climate change as a Green New Deal is developed.  As the 116th Congress begins to take into account climate change legislation, environmental groups would like to see affirmative actions focused on six key areas:

  • Fossil fuel phase-out;
  • Transition into renewable energy;
  • The role of public transportation;
  • The power of the Clean Air Act (CAA);
  • Community-led transitions; and,
  • The importance of indigenous rights.

Tying together these six concepts, the environmental groups’ letter highlights the role played by legislators and day-to-day community leaders/workers in integrating a 100 percent renewable energy system in the U.S. The suggested principles call for the expansion of public transportation as a means to phase out fossil fuel vehicles, as well as the prioritization of support for communities that have been historically most harmed by the dirty energy economy. In addition, a reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is made to emphasize Indigenous Peoples’ rights to receive remedies of losses or damages of their property. The signatory environmental groups also explicitly oppose rollbacks of existing environmental and human health protection policies, legislation that protects the fossil fuels industry, and policies that promote corporate profits over community burdens.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 8, 2019, Nouryon, a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, announced the official launching of the Imagine Chemistry challenge. A program focused on startups, scale-ups, university spin-offs, and other new comers in chemistry, the challenge aims to increase developing business’ opportunities to collaborate in the commercial adoption of green chemistry. In the 2019 edition of the challenge, Nouryon is seeking solutions to five areas:

  • Sustainable bio-based surfactants for everyone;
  • Label-free chemistries;
  • Sensing in demanding chemical environments;
  • Performance-boosting nanoparticles; and,
  • Pushing frontiers of chemical innovation.
Interested parties can submit their ideas online and receive expert feedback until March 8, 2019. In May 2019, 20 finalists will be selected for a three-day event at Nouryon’s research and development and innovation (RD&I) center in the Netherlands. These finalists will get an opportunity to work with experts and business leaders at the RD&I center to further develop their ideas into a joint value case.

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On January 16, 2019, a group of global companies from the plastics and consumer goods value chain announced the launch of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), which will advance solutions to eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean.  AEPW membership, currently at 30 member companies, represents global companies located throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.  APEW has committed over $1.0 billion with the goal of investing $1.5 billion over the next five years.  The announcement of the launch states that APEW will “develop and bring to scale solutions that will minimize and manage plastic waste and promote solutions for used plastics by helping to enable a circular economy.”  AEPW is a not-for-profit organization that includes companies that make, use, sell, process, collect, and recycle plastics including chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, converters, and waste management companies.  The following companies are the founding members:  BASF, Berry Global, Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Clariant, Covestro, Dow, DSM, ExxonMobil, Formosa Plastics Corporation, U.S.A., Henkel, LyondellBasell, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Mitsui Chemicals, NOVA Chemicals, OxyChem, PolyOne, Procter & Gamble, Reliance Industries, SABIC, Sasol, SUEZ, Shell, SCG Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical, Total, Veolia, and Versalis (Eni).

As part of its roll-out, APEW also announced an initial set of projects and collaborations that reflect a range of solutions to help end plastic waste:

  1. Partnering with cities to design integrated waste management systems in large urban areas where infrastructure is lacking.  This work will include engaging local governments and stakeholders and generating economically sustainable and replicable models that can be applied across multiple cities and regions.
  2. Funding The Incubator Network by Circulate Capital to develop and promote technologies, business models, and entrepreneurs that prevent ocean plastic waste and improve waste management and recycling, with the intention of creating a pipeline of projects for investment, with an initial focus on Southeast Asia.
  3. Developing an open source, science-based global information project to support waste management projects globally with reliable data collection, metrics, standards, and methodologies to help governments, companies, and investors focus on and accelerate actions to stop plastic waste from entering the environment.
  4. Creating a capacity building collaboration with intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations to conduct joint workshops and trainings for government officials and community-based leaders to help them identify and pursue the most effective and locally-relevant solutions in the highest priority areas.
  5. Supporting Renew Oceans to aid localized investment and engagement.  The program is designed to capture plastic waste before it reaches the ocean from the ten major rivers shown to carry the vast majority of land-based waste to the ocean.

The global internet broadcast that aired on January 16, 2019, is available at www.endplasticwaste.org/live.  More information is available on APEW’s website.


 

BCCM is pleased to announce that B&C’s podcast “All Things Chemical™” will release an episode on January 24, 2019, on biobased equivalency determination.  The “Biobased Products:  Regulatory Challenges and Proposed Solutions” podcast will provide an overview of the term “biobased” and what it means, the current nomenclature issue surrounding the biobased industry, and how BCCM’s BRAG is addressing the issue through equivalency determination.  Stay tuned for the podcast and subscribe now on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Stitcher!  In the meantime, check out BRAG’s website for news on nomenclature issues.

Tags: B&C, Podcast

 

On January 8, 2019, B&C and its consulting affiliate The Acta Group (Acta®) published the 2019 Forecast.  The document details the legal, scientific, and regulatory trends in U.S. and global chemical law, providing informed judgment as to the shape of key developments we are likely to see in 2019.  Sections on biobased products and biotechnology are included in the document.  The full document can be accessed here.

Tags: B&C, Acta

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 17, 2018, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) announced that a team of biologists and chemists has received $2 million in funding from DOE. These funds are to be used in the development of platforms to produce biobased monomers, which will be used in the manufacture of renewable and biodegradable plastic polymers called polyurethanes. The funded research will also involve improved tools for accelerated algal production systems. UCSD Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Professor, Michael Burkart, states: “Our strategy is to go from renewable algae feedstocks all the way to products that people actually want to buy.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 18, 2018, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency of the United Kingdom (UK) published a policy paper titled “Our Waste, Our Resources:  A Strategy for England.” The paper outlines the strategy to be implemented for the preservation of material resources through minimizing waste, promoting resource efficiency, and moving towards a circular economy. The strategic framework to be put forth is guided by two objectives: (1) to maximize the value of resource use; and (2) to minimize waste and its impact on the environment. It aims to deliver five strategic ambitions to work towards:

  • Assuring that all plastic packaging on the market be reusable, recycled, or compostable by 2025;
  • Eliminating food waste to landfill by 2030;
  • Eliminating avoidable plastic waste over the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan;
  • Doubling resource productivity by 2050; and
  • Eliminating avoidable waste of all kinds by 2050.

Meant to complement other government strategies related to environment and resource productivity, the framework focuses on innovation. The strategy, for example, includes the launching of a call for evidence on the development of standards for biobased and biodegradable plastics in early to mid-2019. Highlighting the potential use of biowaste in the production of biogas, the paper defines what is called a “lifecycle” approach that complements the model of a circular economy. To grow the UK’s bioeconomy, this “lifecycle” approach is designed to reduce waste through reusing biodegradable and biobased products to extend the lifetime of resources. It would include the production of a waste hierarchy and food surplus for animal feed or biomaterial processing, increasing resource efficiency and waste reduction.


 
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