Advanced materials and additives company Eastman is focusing on areas where sustainability and innovation intersect in order to address some of the world’s complex challenges, according to the company’s just-released 2018 sustainability report. One of the top challenges comes from the nexus of energy, water and food.
“Requirements for increased energy, potable water, and food will likely exacerbate the challenges in producing the requirements for our growing and developing world,” according to the report. “How do we manage producing food without adding more challenges to our limited water sources? How can we provide energy to dev?eloping economies while balancing carbon emissions that will impact climate change? These are complex challenges that are even more complicated when we consider they are interrelated.”
The water-food-energy nexus is central to sustainable development. “Demand for all three is increasing, driven by a rising global population, rapid urbanization, changing diets and economic growth. Agriculture is the largest consumer of the world’s freshwater resources, and more than one-quarter of the energy used globally is expended on food production and supply,” UN Water points out.
The food and energy industries rely on water, and as water resources become more scarce, decision-makers in all areas of business must increasingly focus on water resource management. With that in mind, one of Eastman’s new sustainability goals is to increase water resource efficiency and “ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply,” its report states.
The company will also continue to focus on innovation, responsible management of other natural resources, advancing ocean science, and strengthening collaborations to drive positive change, Eastman says.
In order to assess priorities and identify opportunities in regards to sustainability, the company maintains a Sustainability Council and three Sustainability Subcouncils that help Eastman focus its sustainability efforts and address global disruptions and transformations. “As the purchasing power of the world continues to grow, we must innovate to deliver consumer choices that will sustain and protect our world,” says David A. Golden, Eastman’s senior VP, chief legal & sustainability officer, and corporate secretary. “We know we must create far more value than the resources we use or the future is not sustainable.”