Big players in the chemical industry join hands to raise sustainability standards

TfS, a global sustainability initiative, has launched its Singapore team to advocate a global industry standard for best practices in South-east Asia

Published Tue, Aug 3, 2021 · 09:50 PM
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Smog, polluted rivers and global warming. Unethical behaviour and environmentally unfriendly practices have exacted a heavy toll on our planet. Such sustainability challenges are an urgent matter for the chemical industry, which produces a vast array of products used in industries like automotive, pharmaceutical and agro as well as consumer products we find on the supermarket shelves.

In 2011, some of the biggest names in the chemical industry - BASF, Bayer, Evonik, Henkel, Lanxess and Solvay - came together to set up Together for Sustainability (TfS). The initiative is aimed at creating the de facto global standard for environmental, social and governance performance of chemical supply chains.

Today, TfS has grown to 31 member companies with a combined €365 billion (approximately S$580 billion) in global turnover and €262 billion (approximately S$420 billion) in global spending. These major players are working with both large and smaller suppliers in their respective ecosystems to adopt more sustainable practices.

Through influencing industry norms and practices, the TfS initiative aims to create a cascading effect on sustainability efforts so that the chemical industry - and eventually consumers - can contribute to a circular economy.

Launch of TfS Singapore

With its headquarters in Brussels, TfS is expanding its reach globally through the active involvement of its member companies, who have formed teams in the United States, Brazil, China, Japan and, most recently, Singapore.

"The launch of the TfS team in Singapore marks another milestone in our growth in Asia, as we progress in our global mission to push the sustainability performance of chemical suppliers around the world in both mature and emerging markets," says Dr Gabriele Unger, general manager of TfS.

The TfS team in Singapore is founded by Arkema, Azelis, Henkel, Semperit, Solvay and Syngenta, and is open to all TfS member companies. Key topics on the agenda include sustainability assessments of suppliers, exchange of best practices and collaborative actions to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.

Says Mr Thomas Holenia, president of Henkel Singapore: "By sharing experiences and combining resources and scale, the TfS Singapore team aims to drive sustainable supply chains in the chemical industries in Singapore, South-east Asia and beyond."

Building a global community

The founding members of the TfS team in Singapore seek to attract chemical companies based in the city-state to join the global TfS initiative. It also aims to encourage suppliers in South-east Asia to be assessed and audited for the TfS global standard.

"TfS Singapore will strengthen the engagement with our suppliers and business partners, and explore cooperation with the Singapore Chemical Industry Council," adds Mr Holenia.

TfS is already a partner to CEFIC (European Chemical Industry Council) and cooperates with VCI (German Chemistry Council). It has also set up a strategic partnership with CPCIF (China Petroleum and Chemistry Industry Federation).

If you're keen to find out how your business can help contribute to the bigger cause, visit

Shaping a sustainable future

Mr Thomas Holenia, president of Henkel Singapore "TfS is a strong example of Henkel's commitment to responsible sourcing. As a founding member, we want to continue shaping the future of the TfS initiative."

Mr Kenny Gan, managing director of Arkema Southeast Asia "With coordinated actions among members of the TfS team in Singapore, we strive to develop a more ethical, social and environmentally responsible South-east Asia."

Mr Laurent Nataf, CEO and president of Azelis Asia Pacific "TfS Singapore will allow us to achieve our sustainable ambitions in Asia-Pacific and ensure we are working with the best partners who exemplify our values and goals."

Dr Martin Füllenbach, CEO of Semperit AG Holding "Future challenges such as new legal regulations and market-specific requirements cannot be met alone. We need to establish new solutions and trustworthy transparency, and that's exactly where TfS comes in."

Ms Lynn De Proft, chief procurement officer of Solvay "As a founding member of TfS, it is part of our mission to assess and structurally improve the sustainability performance of our fellow chemical companies and suppliers in the industry."

Mr T. T. Murali, APAC head of procurement at Syngenta "Asia-Pacific is a key sourcing region for Syngenta, and being a part of TfS helps us work with our suppliers in an efficient and compelling way to drive improvement in safety, health and environmental performance."

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