Chemical and materials industry interactive graphic

By World Economic Forum

October 2, 2020


The chemical and materials industry contributes roughly $5.7 trillion to global GDP, according a report published in 2019, and supports an estimated 120 million jobs. Now, the industry is grappling with the challenges of COVID-19 as it attempts to shift to more sustainable practices — while at the same time generating products that both improve living standards and enable cleaner forms of mobility. Its centre of gravity has been shifting to the East, as China captures an ever-larger share of sales and feeds massive infrastructure and manufacturing initiatives. Projections indicate that, by 2030, China will account for more than half of all global chemical sales.

This briefing is based on the views of a wide range of experts from the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network and is curated in partnership with Gianvito Vilé and Maurizio Masi, professors of chemical engineering at Politecnico di Milano.


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