Blog: GC3 Roundtables (1/4): There is no such thing as a green premium

Paxymer participated in the GC3 startup event and in the GC3 Roundtables. The GC3 roundtables is a summit for some of the worlds foremost entrepreneurs and established chemical industry representatives. The networks mission is to mainstream green chemistry. The keynote speaker was Paul Anastas named as the father of green chemistry during his time at the EPA. The audience ranged from start-ups straight out of university to the head of materials at Apple and head of sustainability at Dow. Here is a brief summary of some of the main themes of the conference and some reflections:
- There is no such thing as a green premium
One of the phrases that were mentioned again and again. From chemicals companies to formulators to retailers. It is exceedingly hard to extract a green premium in the mass market. Premiums are extracted for benefits not for being green. Consumers trust their brands and that means that they assume that the products on the shelves are generally safe. What is required is a focus on functionality and value. Can you deliver better quality? Better purity? Lower cost? Other added values?
This is the reality for growing firms. A clear focus application where the process/product would be able to add new value. Long gone is the idealism of only a few years back.
The unspoken flip side of this argument was also quite embedded in the retail and “end of the supply chain” companies – if you fail to deliver on the trust that customers place in your products and your brand. If you fail in transparency you will not have a future. Companies need to be very careful with their brand values. Any chemicals related scandal will potentially impact profits for a long time period. This is the true cost of not substituting not a few cents more material cost per kg. 
This dynamic is incredibly strong and it is well reflected in the Paxymer mission to improve the environmental footprint of flame retardants. Less hazardous flame retardants is at the very least a compliance issue for everyone and a competitive advantage for some companies.
What is this?
Paxymer is a company working with halogen-free flame retardants. Paxymer is a member of the GC3 start up network and Amit Paul the managing director participated in the round tables (the networks main annual event) for the first time in 2017. This series of 4 blog posts are his reflections and take aways from the conference relating to halogen free flame retardants as well as green chemistry and the future of the chemistry industry in general.
The posts are titled:
1. There is no such thing as a green premium
2. Speak to the tribe in the language of the tribe (20th July 2017)
3. The public perception of chemistry: how do we become part of the solution? (25th of July 2017)
4. In closing (27th of July 2017)