Could you briefly introduce SABIC and its main activities in Singapore and the region?
SABIC is a fully integrated, global chemicals company with a focus on market share growth and supply chain excellence. We have been serving customers across APAC with a balanced and diverse product portfolio in construction, medical devices, packaging, agri-nutrients, electrical and electronics, transportation, and clean energy. Our regional hub is located in Singapore and we operate five manufacturing sites in Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand and India, one technology center in India, and two application centers in Korea and Japan. Our transhipment hubs in Singapore and Malaysia are strategically located to manage nearly 75% of our product volumes in Asia.
SABIC invested in extending its Singapore ULTEM™resins capacity by 50%. Why is this investment important for SABIC?
We are building our first ULTEM™ resin manufacturing plant in Asia, which is scheduled to be operational in 2022. This will further drive the growth of our business where we continue to collaborate with key OEMs in the technology industry. Furthermore, the strategic choice of Singapore will localize production for our customers in Asia, resulting in shorter lead times, especially for shorter qualification cycle applications.
How has the business performed over the past year?
2020 was a challenging year but our strong global supply chain, operational efficiency and capital discipline has enabled us to meet customer demands. The pandemic continues to shape the different usage of plastics going forward, but we saw a rise in demand for new and enhanced life-saving applications that were critically needed to help safeguard against COVID-19.
Currently, demand for polycarbonate, which is mainly used in the production of consumer electronics as well as medical applications like COVID-19 test kits and hospital barriers, remains high. There has also been an increase in demand for plastics used in packaging, driven mainly by the shift in consumer's preferences for e-commerce.
What is SABIC’s sustainability focus within the 2025 structure?
Since 2010, we have proactively set targets to reduce our greenhouse gas intensity, increase energy and water efficiency and reduce material loss with various ambitious targets for 2025 and have steadily made progress against these targets.
Ultimately, we envision an economy where plastic is reused and remade into valuable new products. SABIC has been collaborating upstream and downstream to this end, consistently innovating for more sustainable solutions. Our TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio, for example, we collaborate with brands like Unilever to provide raw materials for the production of over 7 million ice cream tubs for its Magnum brand made from our certified circular products, using mixed plastic as feedstock via advanced recycling technology. Our TRUCIRCLE™ certified renewable polyolefins were also launched in the Japanese market for flexible packaging.
SABIC was named the top employer in APAC for the 8th consecutive year by Top Employer Institute. To what do you owe this merit?
The award acknowledged SABIC’s unwavering commitment to its employees in a year that has been marked by unprecedented change. We made sure our employees had the right resources readily available and implemented various initiatives to streamline operations and provide numerous learning and growth opportunities for over 2,800 employees in the APAC region. SABIC also received the “Top Employer 2021" awards in five of its key Asian markets – China for the 11th year, India, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea for the past eight years.
What are SABIC’s main priorities moving forward?
Our priority will continue to be focused on protecting our employees’ health and welfare and proactively collaborating with global communities, governments and health authorities to keep our operations running as we continue to combat the COVID-19 virus in 2021. For the long-term, our transformation journey continues, and we will continue to work closely with customers to better address their needs. Finally, supporting the growth and development of a circular economy, one in which products and raw materials are not wasted, but rather used to create new, valuable and durable products, will continue to be a key goal of SABIC’s sustainability platform.
Do you have a final message for our audience?
Today, more than ever, the petrochemicals industry needs to respond to the world’s environmental and societal challenges by embedding sustainability and recycling into its very DNA.