Archroma CEO Alexander Wessels on Driving Sustainability

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Color and speciality chemicals company Archroma celebrated three years in business on Oct. 1, marking the occasion by emphasizing its sustainability efforts.

“Even though it is still very young, Archroma has accomplished a great deal,” said Archroma CEO Alexander Wessels. “Archroma is already a leader in driving sustainability in the value chain. We intend to build on that position, making use of innovations we have developed and continue to develop for implementation use across our markets.”

The Basel, Switzerland-based compnay, founded in 2013, has grown quickly since inception. In 2014, Archroma acquired 49 percent of M. Dohmen, an international group specializing in the production of textile dyes and chemicals for the automotive, carpet and apparel sectors. In July 2015, it added the global textile chemicals business BASF. Archroma now has 25 production facilities, including 11 in the Americas, eight in the EMEA region, and six in Asia.

“Archroma is now on a strong top and bottom line growth curve,” said Wessels, “We have been rapidly expanding innovation expenditure since we carved out the business from its previous owner.”

A typical example of the company’s efforts to improve sustainability in the textiles industry is its work in dyeing systems for denim under its Advanced Denim brand, which last year was adopted by Patagonia to develop a new dyeing and manufacturing process.

Advanced Denim uses dyestuffs that bond more easily to cotton, minimizing the resource usage of traditional dyeing of denim. As a result, Patagonia reports it is using 84 percent less water, 30 percent less energy and emitting 25 percent less CO2 than conventional synthetic indigo denim dyeing processes.

“If all the world’s jeans were made using our Advanced Denim dyeing technology, we could save the same amount of water as that used by several large European cities,” said Wessels. “Our Advanced Denim solution is now increasingly being adopted by various brands across the world.”

This spring, the company also introduced eco-advanced solutions in its range of optical brightening agents (OBAs) for printing and writing papers. Both innovations, marketed under the names Leucophor ACS and Advanced Whitening, aim to offer solutions that require reduced dosage for papermakers, thereby lowering their transport costs and carbon footprint.

“It is a misconception that innovation and sustainability need to come necessarily at a premium,” said Wessels. “Archroma has shown that this is possible, and we intend to continue on this path well into the future.”

*This story first appeared on Rivet and Jeans

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