Case Study

Exploring the commercial potential of sustainability

Sustainability is here to stay – but innovation only thrives with commercial backing.


Innovating to reduce the carbon footprint of everyday products

Every sustainable innovation needs a commercial angle. We can help you find it.

CropEnergies produces more than 1.3 million cubic meters of ethanol every year. Their green credentials are strong; their plants are certified as sustainable, and their ethanol reduces CO2 emissions across the value chain by an average of more than 70 percent compared to fossil fuel. But they wanted to do more.

The next step? To produce renewable ethyl acetate from sustainable ethanol. The science was solid, but they didn’t know if the market was ready to switch. Without that information, it would be hard to prove the business case for building production capacity.

To find the answers, they called our Chemicals and Materials team.


Expert analysis from every angle

With so many factors at play, we consulted specialists across the industry.

Our Chemicals and Materials team helps clients bring new products to market with effective strategies that embrace sustainable ideals and commercial realities. To do that for CropEnergies, our team used their expertise to frame research around three key questions:

  1. How interested are customers in replacing high-emissions products with bio-based alternatives?
  2. Are they willing to pay a premium for the sustainability uplift? A reduction of between 20-60 percent emissions is valuable in the long run, but could impact the bottom line now.
  3. What is needed to bring this to market? In terms of both practical requirements and building the best strategy to create value for customers.

Here we used our deductive go-to-market approach, which incorporates proven sources and methods to reveal an innovation’s true commercial potential:

  • Ideation and design thinking workshops
  • Hype cycle and technical readiness analyses
  • Extensive literature reviews and analysis of research papers
  • Analysis of similar successfully commercialized innovations

This was all supported by scientific discovery interviews with reliable experts and potential producers/buyers of renewable ethyl acetate. And thanks to our longstanding relationships within the sector, we covered every end-use segment from cosmetics and pharmaceuticals to packaging and paints.

Our research delivered key insights: the market had an average 16 percent short-term and 57 percent long-term openness to switching. And reliability of supply was top of mind for buyers. While price was a consideration, most buyers expected to pay a premium for a renewable option.

We discovered two high-volume segments in four European markets and sixed the potential. CropEnergies had everything they needed to take an informed decision on investment.

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A major green investment

Encouraged by our insights, CropEnergies are taking a major step for sustainability.

Our commercialization strategy convinced key stakeholders, and the company prioritized the investment. Work is now well underway in bringing renewable ethyl acetate to market

Through smart, considered commercialization, we’re helping our clients to achieve growth and lead the way in reducing emissions. It’s this commitment to creating value for a more sustainable world that has seen us work with CropEnergies on several projects.

Ready to accelerate your green growth? Our experts can help you find the best market fit. Let’s talk.

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