The chemical and pharmaceutical industry (below: The chemical industry) is an important driver of innovation and growth in the German economy. However, fulfilling this role, in the long run, will require considerable effort; Like all industries in Germany, the chemical and pharmaceutical sector is facing fundamental strategic and structural challenges involving many chemical companies. On the one hand, the demand for chemicals produced in Western Europe will grow only moderately over the next few decades, with the focus shifting to the following markets: Asia, South America, and, finally, Africa.
As international and local competitors are expanding their production capacity there, and as the capacity of resource-rich regions is expected, the entire competitive chemical industry environment is about to face transformation. In addition, manufacturers in developed and resource-rich countries are expanding their range to include specialty chemicals, which until now usually covered German exports. These changes mean a further increase in the competitive intensity of chemicals in Germany's European home market and export market: in Europe, import pressure will rise for products from regions with rich resources of basic chemicals and intermediates, while in export markets, competition with local suppliers and other importers will increase. On the other hand, a paradigm shift in the structure of requirements and public preferences has occurred.
The desire to use resources in environmentally efficient ways has a significant impact on energy supply and consumption habits. This sharing economy trend illustrates this shift. By setting out to serve the ever-changing strategic needs of our customers, the company makes an important contribution to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The circular economy will become more and more important, and digitization will lead to great changes in all fields. These two core themes are critical to the trends in chemicals to 2030 and beyond for the industry. As part of these changes, a new stage of development began in the German chemical industry. Following the industrialization and coal chemistry (Chemistry 1.0), the emergence of petrochemistry (Chemistry 2.0), and the increasing globalization and specialization (Chemistry 3.0), the industry is entering a new phase of Chemistry 4.0, in which digitalization, circular economy, and sustainability play a key role.
Some of the anticipated developments are closely related to the continued digitalization of business models. In addition, many developments have a clear relationship with the theme of sustainable development and the concept of circular economy (for example, renewable raw materials, renewable energy, carbon capture and utilization, biorefineries, bioplastics). On the first hand, these disruptive changes provide opportunities for chemical companies in new growth areas. On the other hand, they also posed challenges.
Digitization provides opportunities for chemical companies to collect large amounts of data in their own businesses, and then Evaluate and use it to improve the company's internal operating processes. The chemical industry is relatively well developed in this regard, especially its continuous and discontinuous production processes and their business processes. However, due to the systematic collection of new technologies and large amounts of data (digital batch data, such as about customer behavior and preferences, product usage, product environmental characteristics), digitization opens up new opportunities to further improve processes and operational efficiency models, and develop new business models. Therefore, it is becoming more and more important for value creation in the chemical industry.