A Univar Solutions scientist in the Solution Center lab testing formulationsA Univar Solutions scientist in the Solution Center lab testing formulations

Today’s understanding of sustainability is broad and deep, requiring businesses to evaluate whether all facets of the supply chain are contributing to a healthier, safer world for the long term. This multi-faceted approach is also rooted in the conviction that by addressing sustainability, they can also meet their economic and financial objectives. At Univar Solutions, we are working to help our customers and suppliers achieve both.

Meeting these targets is a complex challenge. The growing demand for sustainable solutions has driven the development of a broad range of metrics and risk measurement – sometimes resulting in confusion for businesses trying to navigate this emerging universe of demands.

At Univar Solutions, we recognize that sustainability journeys should be a collaborative process. As a conduit between our suppliers and customers, we help companies deliver on the increasing demands from their own stakeholders in an ever-changing social, political, and regulatory environment.

As a global leader in chemical and ingredient distribution, Univar Solutions can leverage our position at the intersection of science and technology to help create a better world through our focus on more sustainable processes, culture, products, services, and collaborations. We are more than a distributor: our commitment to a forward-thinking and holistic sustainability journey through interconnected goals support our efforts to help keep global communities healthy, fed, clean, and safe.

That’s why we are focused on developing more sustainable solutions for today and tomorrow’s global challenges, while providing our customers with the tools and resources they need to facilitate their own sustainability journeys. By focusing on building portfolios of in-demand products that also help protect our environment, distributors can play a vital role in both decarbonizing and circularizing the supply chain, while meeting new consumer demand for safer, cleaner, healthier, and eco-friendly products and services.

The landscape of sustainable solutions today

Understanding the complex landscape of sustainable solutions can result in confusion for all stakeholders – especially for companies who are focused on delivering the same product performance their customers have come to expect. The value chain as a whole tends to currently lack consistent global standards and an understanding of sustainability at the product level.

Working in the middle of the value chain, chemical and ingredient distributors like Univar Solutions can provide holistic sustainability insights from supplier to customer – while formulating innovative chemistries and delivering ingredients that meet our customers’ needs, including economic, availability, and sustainability considerations.

Meeting our customers where they are with our sustainable sources

Today, Univar Solutions is actively focused on the development and commercialization of a full range of sustainable and natural ingredients across our portfolio through our Solution Centers and innovation efforts. This new approach will support customers seeking to infuse sustainable and natural ingredient practices and processes into their own product development. Additionally, the program will work closely with our global supplier base in identifying markets and opportunities to launch new and innovative ingredients that can meet evolving market, regulatory and societal expectations.

As we build our portfolio of sustainable products, services, practices, and technologies, a key objective is to support our customers, who are at varying stages of their sustainability journeys, to better operationalize switches to sustainable products. To that end, we surveyed more than 1,000 of our customers, to better understand how we could support their paths toward more sustainable alternatives.

Notably, 90% of respondents told us that among the tools to navigate the constantly changing environmental, social, and regulatory landscape, having a cross-industry sustainability decision making framework would be “extremely” or “somewhat” useful. Combined, these customers account for a sizable portion of the markets we serve.

Providing our customers more transparency around sustainable solutions

Guided by the results from our customer survey, we are developing a Sustainable Product Framework based around the principles of transparency, consistency, and simplicity. The framework aims to provide greater transparency for customers at the sustainable product level and consistency on how we market our suppliers’ sustainable attributes while providing simplicity for customers to make informed product choices, all in a simplified way our customers can easily digest.

Starting this year, Univar Solutions will collaborate with our suppliers globally to provide key sustainability information. This effort will enable Univar Solutions the ability to communicate to our customers product-level sustainability characteristics for our product ranges globally. We will also help showcase the key sustainability impacts of non-product related services. Our framework includes six sustainability attributes to help customers filter our products with ease: 

  1. Natural or bio-based 
  2. Carbon foot printing
  3. Safer substitutes
  4. Circular materials
  5. Social impact accreditation
  6. Environmental accreditation

Univar Solutions helped determine these attributes by requesting information from suppliers about our current product line that support the sustainability attribute. Over time, we will continue to add additional criteria to help our customers better understand available products. By consistently building sustainability considerations into our product listings and through our global regulatory expertise we intend to deepen our position as a valued partner for our customers’ sustainability journeys.

Creating value for our stakeholders, society, and environment

Univar Solutions understands that there is no simple answer to solving global sustainability issues. As a conduit between many businesses around the world, distributors are often uniquely positioned to assist suppliers and customers on their sustainability journeys. Beyond the framework, Univar Solutions will continue to work with our customers for other sustainable solutions including ChemCare and OnSite Services, low carbon deliveries, “green”formulating, sustainable and reconditioned packaging, and educating customers along their sustainability journeys. 

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