Slowing the rate of climate change and reducing the impact of resource poverty are two key goals of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are challenging everybody to change the way they think, act and consume – and ingredient suppliers and detergent manufacturers have a critical role to play.
Enzymes can play a part in this movement. Produced from renewable resources and readily biodegradable, they’re the sustainable choice for industry innovation.
“Enzyme chemistry can be considered a poster child for green chemistry,” says Todd Krieger, Manager, Product Stewardship and Regulatory Group at DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “It addresses most of its 12 principles, including catalysis, the use of renewable feedstocks and design for energy efficiency, to name a few.“
In laundry applications, by lowering the average temperature of a washing machine cycle by just 3ºC, European energy usage could be cut by 14%, the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (AISE) found. But enzymes could soon help take things further.
New enzymes are being developed that enable washing at even lower temperatures with no loss of stain removal performance – potentially as low as 16ºC. Doing so could save huge amounts of energy across the world, reducing carbon emissions and saving customers money.
To develop solutions at scale, sustainable innovation needs more than traditional R&D. According to findings by the European Commission, changes are needed across ‘entire systems’ to be successful. Regulation, investment, education and collaboration need to coalesce to drive change.
“Collaboration is required across brands, ingredient suppliers and machine designers to drive sustainable innovation,” says Krieger. “Ingredient suppliers need to develop new products with the right functionality to meet brand owners’ needs, while machine designers need to develop features to take advantage of these new improvements.”
By collaborating and innovating together, chemical manufacturers, detergent brands, retailers and consumers can combine to help create a better world. And no matter where the pressure for change comes from, communication and cooperation are the keys to success.