The Business Year

Fabián Bravo

General Manager Colombia, Evonik

Roberto Echevarrí­a

Managing Director, Cremer Oleo Latin America

More than just producing in Colombia, these multinational companies are investing in human talent, helping the country improve its value chain and export to all over the world.

Can you provide an introduction to the company?

FABIÁN BRAVO Evonik is one of the biggest chemical industries in the world. We produce specialty chemicals, and, in the case of Latin America, we focus on the industrial area. We have 12 business lines and therefore supply extremely different industries like animal nutrition, paints and coatings, pharma and personal care, to name a few. We truly cover most industries. We have made some strategic decisions in terms of Colombia. We have established a long-term plan to manage countries in Central America, the Caribbean, and the Andean region through the Colombian platform. Previously, we were working via distributors and different sales channels. Later, in July 2021, we started our own operations. The group is focusing on the growth of this region. We have ambitious plans to get closer to local producers. Basically, we want to grow together with our customers. We are commercial partners, and we have a strong position in most of these industries. We also have specialized products. In most cases, we are developing the specific uses of our products together with our partners.

What are the company’s projections for Colombia and what units are you betting on?

ROBERTO ECHEVARRÍA We are looking into the biofuels sector. We are a worldwide player in bioethanol and biodiesel, so renewable energy is of notable interest. In bioethanol, we are planning to be pioneers in exporting this raw material from Colombia to the rest of the world, predominantly Europe. With the biodiesel industry, we are working together and assisting companies to commercialize not the biodiesel itself, since it stays in Colombia for the local market, but the derivatives and byproducts like glycerin. We started exporting this immediately and commercializing it worldwide, too. We are looking into the sector of green chemistry, or more specifically, the palm oil sector in Colombia. The country is likely the fourth largest producer of palm oil in the world. Malaysia and Indonesia, the biggest producers of palm oil in the world, have gone all the way downstream with palm oil ending in green chemical specialties for example, which are much more value-added products. Colombia stops midway, so there is noteworthy potential to continue going downstream in the palm oil sector and producing the green chemicals. Industries are working to move away from petrochemicals and crude oil into biochemicals, organics, or green chemistry. We see huge potential there for Colombia, too, in terms of industrial development.

What campaigns is Evonik leading to increase the sustainability and resource efficiency of the industry in Colombia?

FB Evonik is heavily committed to sustainability, and the whole organization has to be aligned in terms of having a chance to develop projects, whereby most of our activities will result in many improvements for humankind. Our region is diverse; the biodiversity here is much greater than in other regions, and this is a key factor for the future. We have identified companies that also have similar philosophies. We share a common philosophical fit with all of them. The future must be truly sustainable. We develop more sustainable products and solutions in every field that we are involved. Sustainability is part of our DNA and you can see it in our innovative products and in our state-of-the-art plants, in terms of technology and safety.

What impact does Cremer have on Colombia in terms of capital investment and employment generation?

RE Cremer will create employment and attract foreign investment. We will also add industrial value, making Colombia a more value-added destination in terms of industrial processing and the downstream chain, which involve the raw materials that we cover worldwide. Also, we will assist Colombia’s export drive, since we are active in trading and industrial activities. Cremer Group has historically been a producer of compound feed for animals, especially in Germany where we operate 14 plants, being the largest private manufacturer in the country. That means we feeding animals, the main protein source for humans. Yet, the trend around the world is for more people going vegetarian or vegan, and consuming protein from vegetables. Therefore, one investment focus of our group is vegetable protein facilities where we manufacture the pre-ingredient that is being used in the final production of vegan meat or burgers, namely vegetable proteins. We have been investing and participating in companies in Canada, the US, Europe, and Asia. In Colombia, we will also be evaluating the opportunities in this area.

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