Chemical leasing promotes efficient use of chemicals

A new business model could help the chemical industry become more sustainable, by encouraging businesses to sell their services rather than their products. Chemical leasing, currently being promoted by the Austrian government, could significantly reduce wastage while boosting profits by 10%.

Studies commissioned by the Austrian Ministry for the Environment explored a switch from a products-based market to a more service-oriented economy. The studies found that by shifting their focus from the marketing of products to a leasing strategy, chemical businesses would encourage more efficient use of industrial chemicals.

In Austria alone, around 4,000 companies could introduce chemical leasing models, which would lead to a reduction in emissions and wastes from 153,000 tonnes to 100,000 tonnes, with a net increase in income of 10 to 15% per company per year.

Under chemical leasing, companies – both suppliers and customers – would focus more on the function of a product than on the product itself, in order to find cheaper ways of achieving business goals, says the OECD Environmental Outlook for the Chemicals Industry.

Austria is pioneering the new model and is offering financial and consultancy support for businesses to convert. The results of the first wave of conversions will be presented in autumn 2003 at an OECD conference hosted by Austria.

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