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We all know that 2021 has, in so many ways, been an eventful year.
From the flash floods across Europe in the summer to the extraordinary blockage incident in the Suez Canal (yes, that does indeed feel like an age ago), as a business we have had to contend with an unprecedented array of external disruptions and influences.
It has tested our resolve and agility, but as I write this blog I could not be prouder of how the DOMO family has come together and ensured we enter 2022 stronger than this time a year ago.
Indeed, this time of year is all about sharing memories and spending time with family. At DOMO, as a family-owned company, we try to impart this feeling of kinship into our culture – a family which extends not only to our employees but also to our customers and partners up and down the value chain.
Caring is our formula
This is encapsulated in our mantra that caring is our formula.
We think long-term, take responsibility for our company, its people and also wider society both today and with future generations in mind. This, we believe, enables DOMO to create outstanding value for our customers and helps us to create a better world by connecting talent and creativity.
The past year has seen the best of our family-oriented culture come to the fore.
Be it safeguarding the wellbeing of our employees to driving forwards our sustainability agenda, never have our values been more important to fulfilling our purpose.
As we head into 2022, let’s remind ourselves of these guiding principles. There are four in total.
The first, accountability, is all about taking responsibility and ownership around everything that I have just touched upon. This means being responsible for the successful development and long-term viability of the organization, and taking ownership in responding to the needs of our stakeholders through a lens which also focuses on DOMO’s and society’s wider interests.
Curiosity, our second value, is central to fulfilling our purpose of connecting talent and creativity to help build a better world. We normalize asking questions – questions which are bold and brave, and can be asked in an environment where ideas flow freely and employees feel comfortable letting their voices be heard. Without this culture, DOMO would not be able to innovate and courageously explore new horizons.
This environment is facilitated and underpinned by respect for all people we work with. DOMO operates with an inclusive and open mindset, embraces differences and communicates with transparency to nurture relationships which are based on integrity and trust.
Last but not least is care – what our overarching mantra is all about. That means caring for all the people involved with our business, not least the safety, physical and mental wellbeing and growth of our employees. As well as looking out for individuals, we cooperate and share knowledge to excel as a team, both internally and externally with partners and other stakeholders. DOMO also cares for the planet – our endeavors to cut the environmental footprint of our products are framed around a series of solidified commitments which will lead us to carbon neutrality by 2050.
A continual journey of improvement
Important as it is to remind ourselves of the values which have helped us to successfully navigate 2021, it is equally critical to consider how DOMO can keep on improving into the future.
Back in July, I wrote a blog outlining why I launched the Improve DOMO program. It provides a framework for continuous improvement that underpins my strategy to take DOMO from good to great.
As we approach 2022, the two ongoing objectives encapsulated in Improve DOMO will boost our improvement strategy:
- To continue to bring the best offering in the industry to our customers.
- To position DOMO in the top tier of global polyamide solutions provider.
In regard to the first of these objectives, portfolio optimization and innovation will be critical, and 2021 has already seen us make tremendous strides with the acquisition and development of the TECHNYL portfolio, which will be the single brand identify for our products and available across the world by February 2022.
This feeds into the second objective around DOMO’s positioning in the global top tier. In 2022, thanks to hard work completed this year, we will be able to better explore new areas outside of the European Union to meet the needs of our global customers.
An exciting chapter awaits us. But before we embark on 2022’s journey, I want to thank every one of our DOMO family members for sticking with us, going the extra mile and showing the dedication, skill and kindness that makes me proud to wake up as CEO of this organization every day.
Here’s to a peaceful and enjoyable festive period for us all.
The timelines and methodologies deployed by individual nations (and businesses) to reach net zero will, of course, vary considerably, but it is exciting to see some of the promising green technologies being developed and deployed given some serious airtime.
At DOMO Chemicals, we are constantly looking at how we can support the new sustainable solutions that are being developed – especially around mobility where we feel that polyamides will continue to play a leading role across several sustainability and cost metrics.
Indeed, greener energies are already on our radar, and we want to be ready to help lead them into the future.
All aboard the hydrogen train?
One of the new e-fuels being developed that I believe will help us enormously in our energy transition journey is hydrogen.
Hydrogen is an energy carrier with tremendous potential for clean, efficient power in stationary, portable and transport applications. It is envisaged as a significant element of the future fuel mix for transport, enhancing energy security while at the same time reducing oil dependency, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
The world is starting to take hydrogen fuel cells seriously. At COP26, the UK government laid on a hydrogen train to transport attendees to and from the Glasgow venue. Meanwhile, in recent weeks Namibia signed a landmark agreement for a $9.4 billion hydrogen power project that its energy ministry believes will produce 300,000 tons of green hydrogen a year and generate 32,000 jobs.
This is a positive indication of the confidence emerging in the hydrogen sector globally, and testament to the leap forward that has been made in terms of technology, cost and infrastructure. I believe it is a trend that will continue to accelerate in the coming years.
Moreover, it is a trend that I envisage DOMO being a part of as we seek to become an industry trendsetter of our own when it comes to sustainability in engineered polyamide materials.
We are already, for example, playing a key role in the e-mobility value chain. As part of the sector’s attempts to make electric vehicles as energy efficient as possible, manufacturers are turning to polyamide light weighting solutions to replace heavier, more costly metal alternatives for components such as fuel cells.
This, and the fact that more of our solutions are being derived from recycled materials, enables manufacturers to cut their carbon footprints and do their bit in the journey towards a circular economy and net zero.
Furthermore, because we are signed up to Circularise and its blockchain technology, there is total transparency in so far as e-vehicle manufacturers can trace exactly where their DOMO components come from. It is very much our view that any meaningful efforts to embrace sustainable practices must be underpinned by this level of visibility in the supply chain.
As vehicles become more digital and set the path for the climate-neutral mobility of the future, we will continue to find ways to support mobility manufacturers – and help make the change to greener energies a reality.
Change needs to come from all directions
It is not just about supplying environmentally friendly solutions to support vehicle manufacturers in their adoption of hydrogen technology, however.
On top of this, we are also looking at our own operations to see how we can embrace sustainable change, and I am proud to chair DOMO’s Sustainability Steering Committee and lead from the front.
This involves some bold targets. For instance, by 2030 we are seeking a neutral CO2 emissions growth versus 2019, a 15% reduction in the carbon content of DOMO’s energy mix and a 7% reduction of industrial waste. Additionally, DOMO is also committed to reducing the carbon footprint of our products by 20%, which in turn will improve the environmental credentials of our customers.
All of this will feed into our ultimate target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, in line with many nations making commitments before and during COP26.
Indeed, change needs to be driven on all fronts – from protagonists in both the private and public sphere. It is clear that governments and enterprises need each other to facilitate and develop the innovation required to complete a global energy transition, and green hydrogen represents one piece of a very large puzzle.
At DOMO, we will continue to support the sustainable endeavors of not just the transportation and mobility sectors, but a wide range of industrial activities that combined will have a big say in how the world handles the climate crisis.
For me, it’s interesting to reminisce and compare that very first car to many of the models we see today.
As the CEO of DOMO, I am privileged enough to see firsthand how automotive technologies and developments are continuing to gather pace. What seemed impossible a mere two decades ago is now reality, with driverless technology and electric vehicles already beginning to cement their reputation as the future of road transport.
The latter – emobility – is a particular area of focus for us right now here at DOMO. It’s a major current trend.
Indeed, the UK recently stated that it would ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars – including hybrids – from 2030, and my team and I have watched as other countries have begun to follow suit, implementing similarly transformative policies.
At DOMO, we are aware that in order for these policies to be met, significant changes and progress will have to be made behind the scenes. It’s not simply a case of swapping fossil fuels for electricity – for electric vehicles to truly work in an optimal manner, every material and every automotive component will need to be fine-tuned in order to deliver maximum performance.
For us here at DOMO, a large part of our contributions in the automotive arena are focused on the research and development of cutting-edge polyamides.
September is the month of mobility for DOMO. We have been participating in several key mobility events, including the IAA Mobility 2021 which explored the digital and climate-neutral mobility of the future and our next webinar is also about how polyamide engineered materials are essential solutions in today’s e-mobility industry.
I’m proud to say that we’re leading the charge in the development of light, tough, attractive and environmentally friendly engineering plastics that are quickly becoming recognized as an ideal solution for pioneering electric vehicle manufacturers.
Much of this comes down to the superior properties of polyamides.
Meeting the demand from DOMO’s customers for lightweight solutions, materials, products and components, for example, is key. That’s why our R&D team work tirelessly in order to deliver cutting-edge solutions that match these needs.
By using polyamide-based components instead of metal alternatives, weight can be reduced and fuel efficiency boosted, ensuring electric vehicles use less energy and are therefore able to run for longer. It’s a win-win – the environment benefits from reduced energy consumption, and the consumer enjoys improved convenience.
This is just one example of the many benefits of polyamides. At DOMO, we’re continually unlocking the multiple advantages that such materials have over metals, be it weight, heat resistance, durability and strength, noise attenuation, vibration dampening or others.
Our product ranges also use a range of recycle materials, and I’m pleased to say that we will be increasing the proportion of those products made by recycled materials, with internal targets for 2030. This will not only enhance our own sustainability agenda but align with those of major OEMs.
We’re proud of our ability to adapt our products in a bespoke manner. And such properties will ensure these components have a key role to play in this all-important market segment for many years to come.
Our research and development department here at DOMO continues to break new ground, uncovering new ways in which the highly advantageous capabilities of polyamides can be applied to components of all varieties and improve overall vehicle performance.
Today, we’re helping companies through a variety of activities, replacing metal in truck side fairing support, automotive air duct mounting brackets and outboard engines covers, for example.
Here, the use of polyamides allows us to simplify the design, reduce the number of parts and enables the molding of one single plastic application, with no assembling and post treatment procedures required. The final products are also lighter, but all mechanical properties are retained.
Today, air intake manifolds often incorporate polyamides to reduce weight, achieve higher fuel efficiency and cut costs. They’re also suited to use in engine covers, allowing for thinner walled designs and enhanced appearance as well as better durability over length of life thanks to sustained strength and stiffness.
In my eyes, polyamides, much like electric vehicles, have a bright future. Airbag containers, powertrain components, door handles, exterior mirrors, grilles, wheel covers, fuel caps – the possibilities of application are extensive, and the desirable properties they harbor ensure relevancy.
Automotive is, and will continue to be, a key industry for DOMO for many years to come.
We will continue to work on innovative and sustainable solutions for our customers. The adage of enjoying a challenge is ingrained in culture – that’s why we continue to break new ground and unlock new possibilities.
The logo of our Improve DOMO Program, introduced in 2020.
This thinking prompted the introduction of the Improve DOMO Program. April and May 2020 were enormously challenging months. But rather than adopt a defensive and insular approach, we faced the pandemic head-on and used it as an opportunity to change the company for the better in every way possible – with the ultimate goal of going from good to great.
As DOMO’s CEO, I envision “Improve DOMO” as a comprehensive transformation that will bring about this fundamental change. In essence, the program is designed to ensure the financial health of the company, to uplift capabilities and to guide all of us at DOMO Chemicals through a massive transformation process.
There are two major purposes or ongoing objectives:
- Continue to bring the best offering in the industry to our customers.
- Position DOMO in the top tier of global polyamide solutions organizations.
Just as important is reformulating and curating our culture and the way we work, and this, along with the performance-related objectives, can only be achieved with a truly inspiring set of clearly defined values, mission, vision and purpose.
Two important areas that underpin and inform my strategy to take DOMO from good to great are: portfolio optimization and innovation. I believe that by investing in bright people and ideas, DOMO’s products and solutions will continue to be among the best in the industry.
One area where we are already seeing strong potential is in the Electric Vehicle and automotive industry. When it comes to lightweight plastic products, Polyamide is becoming one of the preferred materials for the automotive industry as it brings technological advantages in challenging environments.
In addition to innovative solutions, the Improve DOMO growth plan includes expanding into new areas outside of the European Union to better meet the needs of our global customers. Returning from Chinaplas in March 2021, we clearly saw a healthy demand for polyamide and sustainable solutions at global level, so we will continue looking for opportunities to develop in Asia and North America.
Finally, and by no means the least significant, is sustainability – and in this area, DOMO has a big role to play.
Our solutions are used in a vast array of industrial activities, and we have already laid down a foundation in the area with the development of TECHNYL4EARTH, which is a unique plastic recycling technology used for airbags. Plus, DOMO is recognized as a leader for recycled polyamide with its ECONAMID product portfolio.
But there is more we can do. This is why we recently announced our own sustainability goals. By 2030, we want to emit 20% less CO2, consume 15% less carbon-based energy and obtain 7% less industrial waste. In this way, we want to take responsibility for achieving climate neutrality by 2050.
As you can see, Improve DOMO is a program with clear objectives, crystalized and set out over time to enable prioritization and focus – it is only with such prioritization and focus that we can succeed with the execution of our growth strategy.
And this is, ultimately, what I am responsible for as CEO. Delivering growth for the betterment of our shareholders, employees, clients, suppliers and societies is why I am here.
Every day, we deliver smart and sustainable solutions for our customers and stakeholders. We provide engineered polyamide solutions that deliver change. As one of the global leading producers of polyamides, we embrace our responsibility in developing innovations that contribute to society and the betterment of the environment.
#caringisourformula to engineer polyamide solutions that contribute to changing the world, sustainably and for the better.
A scene from the townhalls presentations in February 2020.
I know this for a fact, because on January 31, 2020 DOMO Chemicals signed the papers to buy Solvay’s European Performance Polyamides business – the biggest acquisition in the history of the company – doubling our turnover and workforce. And with this significant development marking the start of my leadership at Domo, I began ‘town hall’ meetings in February 2020 introducing myself and the new company to everyone at DOMO Chemicals at various locations across Europe.
These town hall presentations were a wonderful opportunity to connect and hear everyone’s feedback. But unfortunately, barely two weeks after they began, due to the unfolding Covid-19 crisis, they had to stop. It was incredible. Nobody then could have imagined how the world was about to change. Those first weeks gave me a new perspective on the 100 days philosophy and a new perspective on leadership, particularly around communication and connecting with all of my new colleagues at DOMO.
The birth of the Improve DOMO Program
It was around that time a famous Winston Churchill quote came to mind. He said, “never waste a good crisis” and at DOMO, we certainly used Covid-19 to innovate, fast. With some creative thinking and great IT, we went digital and made virtual meetings and connection to our customers and partners work, because we had to. I was new for the company; the company was new for me and what was going on was extraordinary. Despite the crisis, the power of innovation was implemented quickly, and things kept running smoothly.
I remember April and May were very difficult months. That was the moment when I knew that we had to do more, and why we started the Improve DOMO Program – a Program with clear objectives, crystalized and set out over time to allow prioritization and focus to ensure the execution of our growth strategy.
Taking DOMO from good to great
Mapping out how the company would develop, I felt strongly that a holistic approach to build a high performing company and become a reference in the industry was needed. However, applying a forward-looking sustainability lens to our people, our operations and market offerings would be essential to position and grow DOMO as a global polyamide solution leader in the future.
That’s because l believe today leadership requires a model encompassing 3 core elements:
- The Head, which is envising the future and the priorities required to succeed.
- The Heart is looking how as a leader we can inspire and empower employees.
- The Hands, which is about enabling capabilities to ensure innovative and agile execution.
I really want to take DOMO from good to great and this includes making sure we are a benchmark in the industry when it comes to protecting our planet, addressing climate change and reducing the consumption of natural resources. Moving towards a circular plastics economy is an important part of this ambition and whilst there are many things we are doing as a company, such as lightweighting plastics and recycling, as an industry we need to collaborate up and down the value chain for the biggest impact.
It is a journey, it will require a lot of personal and business investment, and we will need to work in partnership, but we need to do it. In the end, this journey will make DOMO a better company and more valuable to our customers.
Undergoing a cultural transformation
Having a purpose and strong values are a clear priority for me. They are two things that I believe are fundamental to help shape a cultural transformation at DOMO to sustain and grow our business. In this regard, I’m looking forward to the upcoming release of our new co-created company purpose and values.
Other values that stand out for me include: curiosity, which I think has helped us to be innovative and creative, and has been so important during the pandemic; ambition, that drives our company to the next level of success; accountability – my accountability for what I do or don’t do, as well as the accountability of my colleagues; collaboration; and last, but certainly not least, respect. Respect for colleagues, clients and stakeholders, and respect for each other’s opinions. These values are about sustainability too – the sustainability of DOMO Chemicals as a company.
Looking to 2021 with hope
When I reflect on the past year, the thing that stays top of my mind is the courage and resilience of our people, and I have learned how committed and passionate everyone is at DOMO. At the end of the day, a company is its people and without people there is no company.
I’m also proud that we have weathered the Covid-19 storm together. We have successfully navigated the post-merger integration of DOMO and Solvay amidst the pandemic and economic challenges of 2020. Plus, the implementation of the Improve DOMO Program sets the basis for growing our operational excellence to ensure improved performance and opportunity in the years to come.
Like everyone else, I am looking to 2021 with hope. Going forward we will build on the hope of this new year, and our values and vision for a sustainable planet. This means a continued focus on our purpose, our strategy and our customers and I believe with these components in place we’ll keep growing our competitive strength.
As I mentioned earlier, DOMO is firmly on a journey from good to great which, for me personally, means that I am not here to just lead DOMO for the next years, but to steer it toward a transformation. That’s both an extraordinary privilege and responsibility and it’s the reason I come to work every day.
As I’m sure you are aware, a lot has been going on in the world, from continuing to manage the economic knock-on effects of the pandemic, to supply chain crunches which have further been exacerbated by the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Indeed, many had hoped that 2022 would resemble something of a return to the normality and certainty that all businesses crave.
Instead, we have lurched from one crisis into another, as the world attempts to get a grip on economic and political volatility, a climate emergency, and many types of societal inequalities.
Such is the way global events are unfolding, some may even be questioning the ability of current economic models and financial systems, of which our industry and our business is primed to deliver on social and environmental prosperity. However, rather than panic and hide away, now is more important than ever for us to deliver.
I am impassioned by the mission for DOMO to create long-term value by meeting the needs of all of our stakeholders, and within that I include customers, employees, local communities, investors, wider society and the planet. By working collaboratively and bringing as many of our stakeholders together as possible, we can develop and instigate the policies, processes and initiatives to ensure we are indeed delivering that value and positive impact.
To cement our commitment to our stakeholders in 2022, we will be releasing our first ever Sustainability Report and also attempting to acquire our first company-wide Ecovadis rating.
This, in my view, is an important first step to regularly reporting our progress around DOMO’s core standards, which are centered around our three main commitments and target areas – people, planet and products – as well as our principles of governance.
The global pandemic has certainly played a role in accelerating a strategic shift by businesses towards stakeholder capitalism, which has also been driven by a heightened focus from society and the investment community on how organizations are addressing ESG issues.
In fact, recent studies concluded that companies with strong environmental, social, and governance norms recorded higher performance and credit ratings across five factors, including top-line growth, reduced costs, fewer legal and regulatory interventions, higher productivity, and optimized investment and asset utilization.
So, how do we at DOMO make this transition?
Although this will be a challenge for DOMO as it is for the whole industry, we have outlined three steps which we must take – steps which will enable us to inspire the next wave of solutions that will help us to build a better world.
The first involves understanding who our stakeholders actually are. For DOMO, this comprises our employees, customers, communities, suppliers, partners and investors, and external bodies such as NGOS, as well as industry associations who we engage with to nurture long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.
Once that network has been drawn up and recognized, the second step is all about understanding their different needs and building trust. This requires a tailored approach based on transparent and open communication to appreciate their experiences and expectations. Our sustainability strategy, DOMO Beyond, which is constantly evolving, ensures we can respond to the current needs and issues that matter most to our stakeholders, addressing the social and environmental priorities of governments, customers, supply chains, investors, and our people.
Third, we must build an operating business model that can sustain long-term value creation for all stakeholders.
In many cases, DOMO is already starting to do this and has shown some promising signs. For example, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of our Care to be Safe program which positions employee safety as a core priority. Meanwhile, we empower our employees to share their views with us through regular satisfaction surveys, and are also putting in place the necessary policies and activities to ensure we meet our gender diversity targets – centered around an objective for women to constitute 30% of senior managers in the organization.
In terms of delivering for the planet as a stakeholder, we are actively understanding and putting the necessary processes and governance in place to manage our most material climate-related risks and opportunities. Additionally, we will report our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions annually and work towards a target to be carbon neutral by 2050, meaning we’ve committed to take more carbon out of the atmosphere than we emit. We have defined clear actions to stepwise reach this target with intermediate goals in 2030 and 2040..
Our solutions are also enabling sustainable change. DOMO’s polyamides are facilitating change in mobility, urbanization, health and wellbeing and more, and our award-winning innovations and strategic partnerships are driving enhancements in key sustainable metrics such as biodegradability and recycling. Indeed, our recent PCIAW award and commitment to Circularise underscore this.
I sign off this blog with a word of thanks. I am forever thankful and fortunate to lead a team who are constantly looking for solutions to support these transformations.
While I cannot predict the future, there are certainly some bright shoots emerging. We just have to keep asking ourselves… what if, together, we could make a better world?