How Can Companies Make Sustainable Product Development Work For The Consumer?

Frederyk Ngantung is currently the Principal of Technical Marketing at Elevance. At his current role, Frederyk is leading the commercialization effort of a new cleaning ingredient that Elevance will be launching soon in the Latin America market. Prior to joining Elevance, Frederyk worked as the Director of Technical Marketing for Solazyme, where he led efforts aimed at identifying commercial opportunities for the company’s technology in a number of markets including polymers, solvents, oilfield chemicals and lubricants. 

Previously Frederyk led Technology Strategy and Commercial Development roles for Amyris and Amyris Brasil, with a focus on business development and establishing and operating strategic development alliances in a variety of market segments.  Frederyk also spent time as an investment associate while working at Applied Ventures, the venture capital arm of Applied Materials. 

Frederyk holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.   

Smithers: In your opinion what are the biggest challenges for bio-based cleaning products to compete with traditional raw materials based cleaning products?

Dr. Ngantung:  Bio-based cleaning products are generally perceived to have low performance or require users to compromise performance for a more eco-friendly profile. Traditional bio-based products like methyl-soyate and dibasic esters, while being renewable, bio-degradable and low VOC, have struggled to match the performance of the traditional petro-based cleaning products like nonyl-phenol, NMP, methylene chlorides and aromatics that perform well but have significant environmental, safety and human health concerns.

 Many innovators have tried to introduce products that are renewable alternatives to existing products, however, these alternatives have generally been significantly more expensive. They have also lacked scale to support changes in the market versus their petro-based alternatives, requiring companies to pay more and take risks in supply to replace the petro-based products.

 Based on Elevance Renewable Science’s proprietary metathesis technology, Elevance and its collaborators have developed and introduced products from Elevance’s world-class scale biorefinery that can bridge those gaps, creating unique cleaning ingredients that offer high performance AND are eco-friendly at scale.

 Elevance Clean™ 1200 is a high-performing cleaning ingredient that boosts the cleaning performance of formulations by rapidly penetrating and lifting off most challenging soils. Bio-based, safe-to-use and VOC-exempt, Elevance Clean™ 1200 outperforms conventional and bio-based predecessors in a broad based set of cleaning applications, including industrial manufacturing, parts cleaning, transportation, oil and gas, metal cleaning, food processing, and textiles. 

Also recently introduced is STEPOSOL® MET-10U, an ingredient from Stepan Company, one of the leading global surfactant manufacturers. STEPOSOL® MET-10U is an extremely versatile, surface active and low HLB non-ionic surfactant that works at low concentrations. It is a powerful sustainable surfactant delivering superior cleaning performance with the ability to replace ingredients in a broad range of applications, including adhesive removal, paint and coating removal systems, kitchen degreasers and all-purpose cleaners for both consumer and industrial uses.

 Smithers: How do you see sustainable chemistry being adopted in the next five years by major consumer products brands?

Dr. Ngantung:  There is growing evidence that consumers are increasingly considering the environmental footprint of the products they buy and manufacturers of cleaning products and those who supply ingredients are looking for more environmentally friendly solutions. Statista reported that nearly 60 percent of consumers consider the sustainable nature of a product before making a buying decision.

 Consumer goods industry leaders, such as Procter and Gamble, Tesco, Unilever and Walmart, have taken ambitious steps to use more sustainable raw materials and introduce more environmentally friendly products. P&G has committed to a 2020 goal of replacing 25 percent of petroleum-based raw materials with sustainably sourced renewable materials in their products.

 It has also been clear from statements by Unilever and Walmart, however, that customers are not willing to — and should not have to — make trade-offs on cost or performance for this shift. Statista has also reported that consumers’ willingness to pay a price for sustainability has increased from 32 percent to 40 percent between 2011 and 2014, creating a major challenge for adoption given the gaps to date.

 Over the next five years there will be more sustainable products, but it is going to take innovation to enable adoption. Companies are not going to simply use traditional materials that will reduce performance for customers or more expensive products that only offer equal performance. The winners will be companies that can provide products that can meet the performance being demanded by consumers AND the sustainability expected at a cost that meets the performance they need.

 Smithers:  What are the main differences in cleaning products ingredients development between North America and Latin America and what can the LA market bring to the table in terms of renewable resources?

 Dr. Ngantung:  Presently the drivers in the market are at different stages. In North America the market is at maturity. Sustainability and regulatory requirements have become key drivers in the market. While performance remains critically important, increasing regulations and consumer pull for more sustainable products are driving new products (e.g., cold water detergents), formulations (e.g., increasing aqueous solutions) and formats (e.g., single use products with little packaging). Latin America is still early on its sustainability journey, but is demanding better products for a growing middle class AND the demand for more sustainable products is increasing rapidly.

 Latin America offers a growing economy that realizes the need for greater sustainability. The market is evolving quickly and provides an opportunity to test new innovations in targeted markets. Latin America also has large natural oil stocks, with more than 150 million metric tons of soybeans between Brazil, Columbia and Argentina, for example, and is one of the world’s largest sugar cane producers.

 We see these factors as being attractive for innovators, offering the demand and raw materials that can help drive sustainable solutions. For example Elevance’s metathesis technology can utilize soybean oil from Brazil, Columbia and Argentina to produce both Elevance Clean™ 1200 and STEPOSOL® MET-10U, providing an abundant local source of raw materials that could provide significant advantages to local production.

Smithers:  What are you looking forward to here at Cleaning Products Latin America?

 Dr. Ngantung:  Cleaning Products Latin America provides us with an opportunity to learn more about the growing needs for cleaning products in Latin America, both for performance and sustainability. We hope to share more about Elevance, and how our proprietary metathesis technology can help create the bridge for the cleaning industry to meet many of the industry’s sustainability goals and requirements without compromise to performance. Finally, we hope to be able to share and introduce some of the first commercial products available to the cleaning market based on Elevance’s proprietary metathesis technology.