BlueChem and BNP Paribas Fortis renew partnership

 As a long-term partner, BNP Paribas Fortis has extended its strategic collaboration with BlueChem, the incubator for sustainable chemistry in Antwerp. Over the next three years, BNP Paribas Fortis plans to further assist promising start-ups and growth companies in the industrial development of their sustainable innovations to help guide the chemical sector through the transition story of the European Green Deal. In the meantime, this collaboration has resulted in concrete achievements and results, including the planned construction of a revolutionary recycling factory for polyurethane.

BlueChem is the first incubator in Belgium that specifically focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainable chemistry. It is a unique collaboration between government, industry and knowledge institutions with the joint ambition of offering young companies the best chance of success in developing sustainable and pioneering innovations for the chemical industry of the future.

BlueChem, located in the climate-neutral business park Blue Gate Antwerp, offers customised lab infrastructure, tailored services and direct access to knowledge and expertise within an extensive network of international chemical companies, renowned research centres and all five Flemish universities.

The chemical industry, an important and strategic sector for the Belgian economy, has made considerable efforts in the area of sustainability in recent years. Nevertheless, just like society as a whole, the chemical sector faces major challenges in the transition to a circular economy and in developing solutions to the challenge of climate change.

In BlueChem, twelve promising start-ups and university spin-offs are now working on new recycling techniques, crucial climate technologies for the capture and reuse of CO2, circular production processes and more sustainable food production. In the chemical sector, it takes a lot of time, courage and money to successfully scale up such innovations from a lab setting to industrial application.

BNP Paribas Fortis: a leader in sustainable entrepreneurship

From the start in May 2020, BNP Paribas Fortis joined BlueChem as a strategic partner, helping start-ups and scale-ups find investors and set up their business structures. But the bank itself can also act as an investor in sustainable developments. This is fully in line with the bank’s efforts to promote sustainable entrepreneurship.

BNP Paribas Fortis has a centre of expertise, the Sustainable Business Competence Centre, that closely follows innovative, sustainable developments and uses this knowledge to support companies in their sustainability transition. As an exclusive participating bank, BNP Paribas Fortis offers start-ups access to a wide network, helps structure the financing of their projects and fine-tunes a future-proof business plan.

The innovative growth company Triple Helix is one of the first companies to move into BlueChem and has been supported by the bank from the start. They are preparing the construction of ‘SurePure’, a unique, next-generation recycling plant to process polyurethane waste streams for reuse in new applications.

Steven Peleman, Managing Partner Triple Helix Group: “By regularly talking to us from the start and listening to our needs, the bank itself identifies the areas in which it can best support our company. And I’m not just talking about the financial situation. For example, BNP Paribas Fortis is also on the lookout for new strategic partners, helping us to strengthen our credibility and bringing in potential investors. After all, for our circular business model, a highly developed ecosystem is crucial and a bank that looks beyond the purely financial is a real added value.”

Didier Beauvois, Head of Corporate Banking & Member of the Executive Board : “We are very proud to be a partner of BlueChem, which, like our bank, feels strongly about sustainable development and open innovation. We are pleased to make our network and expertise available to this very important industry for our country. If the chemical sector reduces its ecological footprint, it will have an immediate and important impact on the climate. It is therefore a deliberate choice to immediately extend our partnership with BlueChem by three years. Through these initiatives, we aim to help companies and sectors meet the conditions set out in the European Green Deal, the European Commission’s plan to make the European Union climate neutral by 2050.”

Barbara Veranneman, Chairperson BlueChem NV and Director International Affairs essenscia: “BlueChem is running at full speed and this success is partly due to its strong strategic partnerships like that with BNP Paribas Fortis. As a result, with our incubator for sustainable chemistry, we offer not only the right accommodation in the right place – extensive lab infrastructure close to one of the largest chemical clusters in the world – but also a specialised, tailor-made service. This access to top expertise is a special asset allowing start-ups and scale-ups to be optimally guided and to focus on their core task: bringing sustainable innovations to the market. We would like to thank BNP Paribas Fortis for this long-term relationship of trust and look forward to working together to build the sustainable chemistry for the future.”