In May 2018, the European Commission unveiled a process to establish a classification system of suitable economic activities to achieve low-carbon goals for the European Union. The “taxonomy,” as it is called, is designed to result in a framework for sustainable investment, a supportive disclosure protocol and a baseline for low-carbon initiatives. The regulations will create the rules of the road for the long-term economic transition in Europe and shape global discourse.
The regulatory process sends a signal to capital markets and petrochemical producers that the circular economy will be operationalized with supportive policy initiatives. The message is already having an impact. Major players on the petrochemical sector are designing new facilities that comply with the basic tenets.
Expanding the definition to include half of ethylbenzene because of its use in the production of styrene (packaging), and perhaps less than one-third of ethylene oxide because of its use in the production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET, used in beverage bottles), the number exceeds 70%.