Tackling sustainability’s cost-value dilemma at F+L Week 2024

Sustainability - 13 March 2024

Maurizio Abbondanza, Infineum’s Sustainability Director, took centre stage at F+L Week 2024 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with a thought-provoking session on the “Sustainability: Cost-Value Dilemma.” His presentation addressed a critical challenge for our industry: how to finance the transition towards a more sustainable future. “Our job – says Abbondanza – is not to make sustainability inexpensive, our job is to reframe the problem we are tackling to deliver value through sustainability without cost becoming an insurmountable hurdle.

He explained that sustainability was a business priority that should not be treated in isolation. Instead, we need to think more holistically to balance potential trade-offs between sustainability and other performance areas.

Maurizio said: “We should broaden our perspective and ensure that we include in our business decisions climate-related risks that typically are not yet in our books. We must accept that these risks do impact business and will change the way our traditional economics work today. If we start to factor in our thinking the cost of mitigating climate impacts and managing related risks, then sustainable solutions will become more attractive.

This approach is in reality just a way to future-proof our operations, as more and more reporting standards are moving towards requiring companies to disclose their climate risks and vulnerabilities alongside their financial information.

The presentation outlined practical strategies to bridge the cost gap and amplify the value of sustainable solutions. Maurizio recommended changing the framework of enterprise risk management to align financial planning with corporate decarbonisation targets. He explained: “We can make sustainability more affordable by advocating for incentives schemes, collaborating to reduce risk and encourage investment, and scaling up for economies of scale. We can provide more value to customers by adopting greener production processes and supply chains, using bio-based or recycled materials, improving in-use product benefits, or creating new products and services to tackle the sustainability needs of the market”.

Abbondanza shared how Infineum Net Zero ambition aims to deliver a significant reduction of both Scope 1&2 and Scope 3 emissions via a portfolio of activities and strategies. He underlined how critical partnership and collaboration along the whole supply chain are to solve this dilemma, as well as key areas for the lubricant industry to address like a common methodology for Product Carbon Footprint and sharing data, developing tools like mass balancing, support in use benefits recognition and the need for the whole industry to become more competent about sustainability as a new value dimension.

Maurizio concluded: “Sustainable solutions are the way to develop a more robust, profitable and long-lasting industry. We need to reframe our thinking, scale up value, scale down cost and deliver solutions that can generate market pull and trigger the virtuous cycle of making sustainable solutions mainstream.”

Start to create a sustainable future through innovative chemistry

side quote