By Lynn L. Bergeson
On November 4, 2019, 60 organizations unified in an effort to urge U.S. President Donald Trump to reconsider EPA’s proposed amendments to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. Signed by organizations such as the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, the letter to the President indicates flaws within the aforementioned proposal released on October 15, 2019. Arguing that the proposed amendments would not accurately account for small refiner exemptions (SRE), the letter authors state that “[t]he flawed proposal swaps out a critical component of the SRE remedy sought by farmers and the biofuels industry,” failing to achieve its mission to incentivize farm economies. Given the proposal to recover gallons of biofuel exemptions based on the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) recommendations, the proposed amendment would lead to a “bureaucratically uncertain path that recovers only one fraction of those gallons lost to SREs and could result in RFS backsliding in 2020.” Therefore, the letter concludes by urging President Trump to consider SRE accountability based on a rolling average of the actual volumes exempted by EPA during the three compliance years. Similar concerns and requests have been expressed by many industry stakeholders via docket comments as well as during last week’s public hearing held by EPA. The comment period ends on November 29, 2019, and doubts continue as industry expects EPA’s final rulemaking.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
This month, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) member, published its 2019 Sustainability Report titled The Future Is Clean. In its 2019 report, ACI outlines its sustainability goals, which include increased transparency, the reduction of GHG emissions, and the move toward a circular global economy. As part of its activities to achieve such goals, ACI has worked on filling knowledge gaps, harnessing power in the power of convening, uniting for a cleaner world, and further developing its sustainability organizations. In its report, ACI also highlights its support for the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how its future goals can positively contribute to the SDGs.
Managed by B&C® Consortia Management (BCCM), BRAG is a consortium of international and well-respected member organizations and companies engaged in the development of biobased or renewable chemical products. BRAG members recognize the importance of advocacy, education, and communication. For further information, see the BRAG webpage on membership.
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 Kathleen M. Roberts
Is your company engaged in Class 2 chemistries that are similar to existing Class 2 chemicals but are derived from an innovative bio-source? We are looking for pioneering companies working on new biobased Class 2 chemicals to assist in advancing an important project with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
ISSUE: While EPA sustainability goals would seemingly include adoption of improved biobased technologies, EPA’s policies under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) mean that many novel, sustainable technologies are considered “new chemicals” requiring EPA to conduct new chemical assessments. If these new chemicals are converted to other substances by downstream customers, those substances are likely also new, requiring additional new chemical submissions and assessments. Each new chemical submission and assessment represents a cost and a commercial delay and each is a barrier to adoption of what may be a promising sustainable technology. These reviews can and do result in EPA applying risk management conditions on the production and distribution in commerce of the novel, renewable chemicals -- restrictions that may not apply to older chemistries even though they may be functionally identical in performance, hazard, and risk. Ironically, the new chemical may offer a more benign environmental footprint but nonetheless be subject to stricter controls.
POTENTIAL SOLUTION: To address these issues, the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) has submitted to EPA, in partnership with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), a BRAG member, a White Paper proposing a TSCA Inventory representation and equivalency determinations for renewable and sustainable biobased chemicals. EPA’s initial response to the White Paper has been positive and staff has indicated a willingness to conduct equivalency determinations if submitted.
REQUEST: BRAG is now seeking companies interested in participating in a pilot project to prepare and submit such requests. Specifically, we are looking for companies that manufacture or plan to manufacture a Class 2 chemical substance that is functionally equivalent to another Class 2 chemical, but due to existing naming conventions, the two chemicals are not listed as equivalent. If your company fits this description and you wish to support an effort to alleviate commercial burden for yourself and others in the future, please consider working with BRAG on this important project so we present impactful equivalency cases to EPA.
BRAG and Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) are committed to this project. As such, we will evaluate all candidate chemicals submitted, select what we believe is a good test case for the project, and prepare as a courtesy the necessary submission paperwork and equivalency arguments, in conjunction with the nominating company.
Borrowing from William Shakespeare … WHAT’S IN A NAME? That which we call a biobased chemical. By any other name would stand as sustainable. And yet, it is the mere name of the biobased chemical that hinders its ability to go to market!
Did you know that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is interpreted and applied in ways that often cause new biobased chemicals and their derivatives to be subject to stringent premarket review by EPA? This review often results in the application of restrictions that are not applicable to older chemical substances already in commerce. This lack of consistency results in regulatory and commercial challenges for new biobased chemical products that hamper commercialization pathways and invite considerable delays to market entry. This oddity of the current EPA naming system results in newer biobased technologies that offer the same, if not greater, benefits than existing chemicals now being commercialized. Any company or organization intending to market biobased products -- whether they come from plants, algae, or industrial waste -- should be aware of this situation and join the effort to create a more sensible regulatory approach.
As a company focused on creating chemistry for a sustainable future, we invite your organization to join BRAG as a member in 2019. BRAG is a group of international and well respected member organizations and companies engaged in the development of biobased or renewable chemical products. BRAG members recognize the importance of advocacy, education, and communication.
BRAG is helping its members understand and comply with the application of TSCA to their products and operations, educating regulatory officials on biobased chemical production and the application of TSCA to these products, and developing strong and compelling advocacy platforms to ensure the robust commercialization and growth of biobased and renewable chemical feedstocks. No other biobased chemical industry consortium focuses on TSCA in this way or on biobased chemical commercialization and associated regulatory inequities. Because BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C. (BCCM), a group that has regulatory compliance advisors, legal counsel, and science policy experts available for consultation and strategy development, we have the legal, technical, and management capacity to identify, develop, and implement successfully strategic plans to modify current EPA approaches or policies.
BRAG is expanding its membership to include more companies that have already been or may be adversely impacted by EPA’s current policies. As the leader in TSCA compliance issues, BRAG provides strength in numbers, which allows for more efficient engagement with EPA on these critical issues for less cost.
By Kathleen M. Roberts
On June 13, 2018, representatives of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) and representatives of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff to discuss the two groups’ white paper, “Proposal for a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory Representation and Equivalency Determinations for Renewable and Sustainable Bio-based Chemicals.” BRAG and BIO members provided a presentation for EPA staff that outlined the regulatory challenges and market impendence facing the biobased industry related to current naming conventions. BRAG and BIO look forward to further dialogue with EPA on this crucial issue.
By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
On October 24, 2017, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced that it was the only energy company to reach the Leadership-class ranking in three Climate Disclosure Project (CDP) programs. Neste received an A- ranking in the CDP Climate, CDP Forests, and CDP Water programs. CDP is a not-for-profit organization that manages a global disclosure system allowing companies, cities, states, and regions to measure and manage their environmental impact. The CDP Climate program focuses on corporate measures to combat climate risks and take advantage of low-carbon products and services. According to Pekka Tuovinen, Neste's Senior Advisor for sustainability, “[t]he more efficiently we operate, and the more we can reduce the climate emissions of our own supply chains, the greater will be the climate benefits of the products and solutions we offer.”
Neste is the only energy sector company to transparently disclose its forest footprint as part of the CDP program. The Leadership-class ranking demonstrates Neste’s commitment to preventing deforestation in its supply chain and requiring similar action from its raw material suppliers. Neste continues to work on improving the traceability of various kinds of processing residues used as raw materials beyond what is mandated by regulatory requirements.
For the first time, Neste participated in the CDP Water program, which requires companies to disclose the measures they implement for responsible water use and water risk management. According to Mr. Tuovinen, Neste has been carrying out water footprint calculations for its refineries and products since the 1990s.
By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
On September 21, 2017, AkzoNobel, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced that its Specialty Chemicals business is studying plans to build a world-class plant for its Bermocoll® business, which supplies non-ionic cellulose ethers for the paint and buildings and construction industries. AkzoNobel uses a unique solvent-free process to manufacture the water soluble and virtually odorless Bermocoll cellulose ethers. The new facility will increase the production capacity for such cellulosic ethers to help meet growing global demand. According to Geert Hofman, General Manager at AkzoNobel’s Bermocoll business, “[d]emand for Bermocoll is growing strongly due to the rising consumption of water-based paint and continued growth in the building and construction industry.” AkzoNobel is considering a number of options for the location of the facility, including the expansion of operations at existing production sites in China, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
On September 13, 2017, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced it is collaborating with Genève Aéroport to make flying more sustainable. Neste will be providing renewable jet fuel for aircraft operations from Genève Aéroport. The goal is for one percent of the jet fuel consumed annually at Genève Aéroport to be composed of renewable jet fuel by late 2018. The collaboration supports Neste’s growth strategy for renewables in applications outside road traffic fuels and Genève Aéroport’s ambitious goals to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
On September 5, 2017, AkzoNobel, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced that its Specialty Chemicals business signed an application agreement with Itaconix to develop innovative biobased chelates for consumer and industrial detergents and cleaners. According to Peter Kuijpers, AkzoNobel General Manager of Chelates and Micronutrients, biobased chelates are replacements for the phosphate compounds that are being phased out of consumer and commercial cleaning products due to environmental concerns. This is the second partnership to emerge since the companies signed a joint development agreement in January to explore opportunities for biobased polymer production. The first application agreement focused on the development of Itaconix’s proprietary polymers for use in the coatings and construction industries, as reported by the BRAG blog post, AkzoNobel Announces First Biobased Polymer Application Agreement With Itaconix. All products stemming from the collaboration will be marketed under AkzoNobel’s Dissolvine® brand.