5Questions for Thomas Gangl, CEO Borealis


1. Borealis is turning 30 this year. In that time, it has become one of the world’s top ten polyolefins players. By 2030, Borealis wants to become a global leader in sustainable chemicals and material solutions. How do you reconcile those two aspects?

Borealis’ journey over the past 30 years has been remarkable. From its Nordic roots, the company has grown into a global force in polyolefins. Balancing growth with environmental sustainability is a priority. Borealis achieves this by investing in innovative technologies such as Borstar and Borcycle. These enable resource-efficient production, circularity, and value creation. The Borealis Strategy 2030 confirms that sustainability is at the core of all current and future Borealis operations. By 2030, Borealis aims to be a global leader in advanced and sustainable chemicals and materials solutions, balancing growth with environmental responsibility.

2. What is Borealis’ single greatest achievement in the past 30 years? And what will the company look like 30 years from now?

Borealis’ greatest achievement lies in its transformative technologies. Borstar, introduced in 1995, revolutionised polyethylene and polypropylene production. Looking ahead, Borealis will continue innovating, driving circularity, and contributing to a sustainable future. In 30 years, it envisions a global presence, thriving on innovation, ESG excellence, and positive societal impact.

3. 2023 was a challenging year for the plastics industry and Borealis also saw a substantial drop in sales. Are weak margins changing your focus on sustainability?

The plastics industry faced headwinds in 2023 that impacted Borealis’ sales. Our long-term approach to addressing these challenges has already been outlined in our Borealis Strategy 2030. It will guide us as we continue to strategically focus on expanding our geographic footprint to better serve growth markets and transforming ourselves into a truly customer-centric provider of advanced and circular materials solutions. As long as Borealis remains committed to our purpose of reinventing essentials for sustainable living, we will overcome any obstacles the market puts in our way.

4. Reports have emerged that the European Commission is considering adopting mass balance for recycled content allocation targets. If that is confirmed, what sort of further investments do you see Borealis doing in chemical recycling?

Borealis is investing in chemical recycling, for example with our Borcyle C technology (the C stands for chemical recycling), and we are working with our majority owner OMV on their proprietary ReOil technology. As with any new technology, the first step is to get the technology ready. The second step is to define the rollout and investment strategy.

On a more general note: The world is at a tipping point, and we too must focus on accelerating the pace of change. To meet decarbonisation targets, we need to deploy all available technologies, and quickly. Good progress has been made, but we need globally coordinated downstream efforts to incentivise the massive investments needed to reach net zero and achieve the transition to a circular economy. This includes expanding our clean power infrastructure, building economically viable waste recovery and recycling capacity, and unlocking the potential of new technologies and processes at our disposal – whether chemical recycling, green hydrogen, or carbon capture, to name a few.

Borealis is playing an important role in advancing plastics circularity through our technological capabilities and constructive partnerships along the value chain. We are delivering on our commitment to reduce our own emissions. Borealis is well positioned to stay the course in uncertain times thanks to the solid foundation of our people, who remain committed to innovation and progress even when the going gets tough.

5. If you had to pick one sustainability trend that will drop off the agenda by 2030, what would it be?

By 2030, some sustainability trends may evolve. One that could drop off the agenda is single-use plastics. As awareness grows, alternatives and circular solutions will gain prominence, reducing reliance on disposable plastics.

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