"Eastman made tremendous progress in 2021, delivering solid sales revenue and registering growth in effectively every segment. Our strategy is aligned with mega-trends - like the growing middle-classes, urbanization, and better living standards."

Gulferaz Ali

VP AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, EASTMAN ASIA PACIFIC (APAC)

June 20, 2022

Could you give us a brief overview of Eastman’s presence and footprint in APAC?

With a presence in Singapore, Greater China, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, India, Australia, the Philippines and Vietnam, Eastman has invested substantially in the region to a point where our APAC business, led from the Singapore regional head office, is very comprehensive, both in terms of product diversity and product volume. About 10 years ago, Eastman embarked on a journey to transform from a diversified chemical company to a specialty materials company. Today, our portfolio is very rich, ranging from advanced materials to specialty additives that go into products in end markets such as transportation, building and construction and consumables.

Could you briefly comment on the company’s performance in 2021?

Eastman made tremendous progress in 2021, delivering solid sales revenue and registering growth in effectively every segment. Our strategy is aligned with mega-trends - like the growing middle-classes, urbanization, and better living standards.

What drives your innovation approach in APAC?

One of our key investment priorities in APAC is application development – this is about marrying our century-long knowledge with a deep understanding of current unmet customer needs. Using this principle, we can coalesce different platforms together by driving ideas from our customers. One example is Eastman Tetrashield™ protective resin, which enhances the performance of bisphenol-A non-intent (BPA-NI) metal food and beverage packaging coatings. With brands in China eager to use the highest technology coatings and reach global markets, we are now actively marketing these in China.

Could you elaborate on Eastman’s circular solutions and plastic recycling capabilities?

With 30 years of experience in the process of methanolysis (depolymerizing or taking polymers to their basic level), 70 years of experience working with PET (polyethylene terephthalate), and 100 years in the chemical industry, we understand sustainability down to the molecular level. We see it as our moral obligation to use our knowledge to provide solutions for plastic waste. Eastman is investing up to US$1 billion to build the world’s largest molecular-plastics facility in France, and we announced more plants will follow in the US and possibly in other parts of the world. Our technology uses plastics as a raw material to create new plastics – in this way we create an infinite loop, whereas today, leftover plastics from mechanical recycling still go to the bin, while recycled plastics lose the properties of virgin plastics. Our technology preserves the quality and enables an endless cycle.  The key to the success of our ambitions are our partners. More brands are making major commitments to reduce plastics and improve circularity, and our value proposition of recycled plastics becomes stronger than ever. At the same time, governments are also moving down this route, and we are working closely with different countries in APAC on what could be done in the region.

What are Eastman’s top priorities in the next 2-3 years in APAC?

APAC is a very dynamic region, with various maturity levels and latent potential in different markets. As the region evolves, we want to continue to increase our footprint. Eastman is one of the largest exporters out of North America, however we are keen to continue to become more global, expand our manufacturing footprint in the region, and ship from here to other parts of the world. Then, our work is dedicated to understanding what our customer’s needs are and how we can respond with the right technologies. Above all, talent is our most important asset. Nearly 1,500 employees in our region have brought to life a great culture built on teamwork and collaboration. We have a performance-driven team and embrace an inclusive and diverse culture where everyone can do their best work. Our main focus is to continue building people and organizational capabilities in the region and developing a future talent pipeline, which is especially critical when we are accelerating our transformation to become a leading material innovation company.

Do you have a final message for our international audience?

Sustainability is more than doing good for the sake of good and more about making sure that what we do has a long-term value proposition for our stakeholders, both customers and governments. The circular economy is a significant vector of growth, a type of growth that is sustainable in itself and looks at the future rather than a niche that may disappear tomorrow.

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