With a growing world population, pressure is on the agricultural community to increase food production. Some 20 to 40 per cent of the world’s potential crop production is lost annually because of weeds, pests and diseases, so chemical treatments that reduce loss and improve healthy crop yields are vital.

Businesses within the sector generate £17.8bn Gross Value Added, with a turnover of £48.7bn. They provide direct and indirect employment for around 400,000 people in many different regions of the UK and invest significantly in science and engineering research and development.

The sector is unique, linking critical parts of the supply chain – from energy and feedstocks (raw materials), to advanced materials, fine chemicals, life sciences and consumer products. It is the ‘industry for industries’, being both its own biggest customer and a provider of materials and technologies to other important sectors such as aerospace, automotive and construction.

The Chemistry Council Vision is to build a better world through being at the forefront of commercialising sustainable chemistry innovations. This is building on the vision laid out in the 2013 Strategy.

We will deliver this vision through accelerating innovation and the commercialisation of sustainable, chemistry-led solutions that drive economic growth and deliver benefits for society.

Our strategy comprises three workstreams:

  • INNOVATION – Accelerating innovation and the commercialisation of sustainable, chemistry-led solutions in the UK
  • SUPPLY CHAINS – Creating new and innovative supply chains
  • REGIONS & INFRASTRUCTURE – Accelerating the pace of regional growth

These workstreams will be supported by key enablers that will:

  • Secure competitive Energy and deliver Climate Change Solutions
  • Ensure the right Skills and Knowledge are in place to deliver growth
  • Encourage appropriate Regulation to support innovation
  • Deliver a Fiscal Environment and supporting incentives to boost a “create and make” climate in the UK

The Chemistry Council strategy is a critical part of the UK Industrial Strategy, it supports delivery of the four Grand Challenges and enables other sector strategies. It underpins many cross-cutting Government strategies, such as the Clean Growth Strategy, the 25-Year Environment Plan and the development of a vibrant Northern Powerhouse.

Our strategy sets out a compelling case for action from both industry and Government to secure and build upon the UK’s competitive advantage in the global market to deliver growth.

The strategy sets ambitious goals which will not be achieved through a ‘business-as-usual’ attitude. Significant changes will have to take place to deliver growth and to commercialise substantial step-change technologies in the UK. We will be using the strategy as the basis for the development of a proposal for a sector deal. Our proposal will provide further details on these programmes and the projects within them.

Chemistry is a fundamental science involving the study and design of molecular structures based on the chemical elements. The manipulation of these elements into complex products, which are safely and sustainably manufactured at scale, is the core activity of the businesses represented by the Chemistry Council. These complex products are at the heart of a wealth of everyday items we take for granted today; items that have a positive impact on our world.

The sector uses synthetic and natural raw materials and transforms them into a wide range of intermediate and finished products, often via complex multi-step processes requiring a high degree of engineering and process control. Around 96% of all manufactured goods have chemical industry content and biotechnology has an increasing role to play.

Our world is changing. Global MegaTrends and the four Grand Challenges laid out in the UK’s Industrial Strategy demand disruptive innovation. The need to create more sustainable but increasingly demanding products and new sources of sustainable energy requires a pipeline of innovative and sustainable materials to be delivered.

Delivering new fuel sources such as hydrogen for transport vehicles, creating completely new and more sustainable energy systems, and ensuring that the health and well-being needs of the UK’s and the world’s population are all dependent on successful delivery of the Chemistry Council’s strategic innovation programme.

The sector is critical and underpins much of UK industry, linking energy and feedstocks to pharmaceuticals and consumer products. The diversity and range across the sector facilitates innovation within the sector as well as within important customer sectors for the UK such as automotive, aerospace and life sciences. Effective connectivity between sectors will create a critical advantage for the UK.

Strong, lightweight composites that make efficient wind energy and air travel possible; new materials to increase battery performance for electric vehicles; and new, competitive supply chains will facilitate the delivery of other sector strategies.

As such, the chemistry sector is the industry for industries, providing a key contribution to the successful delivery of other UK industry strategies. Focusing on supporting these sectors with new, innovative and competitive raw materials is a core part of the Chemistry Council’s strategic programme on supply chains.

The sector has a strong regional focus, with four key clusters around the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber, and central Scotland. The sector is a critical part of the Northern Powerhouse.

Connecting regions to each other and to the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) is important to the delivery of the Chemistry Council strategy. A Regional Working Group has been established, driving the delivery of new technology and to facilitate connectivity with other industries and regions.

Driving the move to a hydrogen economy, building new facilities for carbon capture, storage and utilisation, facilitating integrated, low-carbon supply chains, industrial symbiosis and infrastructure improvements are all key parts of the strategy’s programme to boost our regions‘ economic sustainability.