Like few other regions, the heavily industrialised state of North Rhine-Westphalia is an integral part of worldwide value networks and defined by an innovative blend of specialised family-owned enterprises and major corporate players. The chemical industry is a mainstay of this and has been a trailblazer for overall economic success. Unlike most other sectors, the chemical industry’s innovative prowess delivers knock-on effects throughout the entire economy.
The impact of the Corona pandemic is currently presenting business and the wider community with enormous challenges – which then helps accelerate the structural changes. Faster than ever before, digital technologies are reshaping national and international markets, calling time-honoured business models and division-of-labour routines into question. On top of all this, we are faced with the need for change in the face of global warming, a fundamental challenge of our generation.
In order to retain the appeal and international competitiveness of industrialised North Rhine-Westphalia, we need to define unambiguous development perspectives as a way of reinforcing the business sector’s innovation capabilities and pushing forward the necessary changes. As State Government, we are setting ourselves an ambitious goal, with an industrial policy vision designed to achieve this goal. We are aiming to turn North Rhine-Westphalia into Europe’s most modern climate- and eco-friendly industry hub.
With the development of innovative technologies, processes and products, the chemical industry is already a problem-solver for a multitude of sustainability-related issues. Moving towards a climate-neutral industry sector, we need to boost this role.
It is not only the reduction of CO2 which is important, but utilisation as well. Modifying and expanding the source of raw materials is the way forward when it comes to increasing the potential of the chemical industry. CO2 is a carbon source – a valuable resource to be put to profitable use if we do it right.
As an enabling industry, the chemical sector is set to play a major part in reducing climate footprints along the full length of the value chain. On that note, the 9th Conference on CO2-based Fuels and Chemicals can significantly boost the effort to increase the industry’s eagerness for innovation and make it more visible.
Professor Dr Andreas Pinkwart
Minister of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy
of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia