Advanced Materials | Business Case

Supporting a sustainable night’s sleep

Innovative materials will drive the low-carbon economy of the future and IMCD plays a key role in bringing sustainable solutions to market. In El Salvador, our Advanced Materials business group recently supported a furniture customer in developing a new line of circular-economy products, setting an example for an entire region in the process.


Millions of mattresses end up in landfills each year. Improving sustainability through mass balance materials and lower-emission products contribute to the reduction of CO2 footprint which is better for the environment – but also enables brands to stay competitive in an evolving market.

The customer decided to look into opportunities to go deeper through its production and tapped IMCD’s expertise to optimize its products offering sustainable bio-based materials and lower volatile organic compounds. In order to achieve this goal, IMCD has supported the customer from the concept stage through to final production to develop foam for mattresses with a smaller environmental impact.

We leveraged a longstanding supplier relationship to bring a new circular material, renewable toluene diisocyanate (TDI), to the Latin American region, becoming the first distributor to do so. Renewable TDI substantially reduces a product’s CO2 footprint from cradle to factory gate, while matching the high quality of fossil-based materials used in polyurethane (PU) foam. Further, renewable TDI can be used as a drop-in solution, meaning the customer could quickly integrate it into existing production lines without technical process modifications.

“ The circular economy is not a fad but a responsibility to protect the planet. We are proud to help customers optimise their product lines by bringing innovative and sustainable solutions to the region – all without compromising on quality.”

Jenniffer Velasquez

Project Leader and PU Regional Manager / Principal Manager, Advanced Materials North LATAM

To create a PU foam, it requires certain types of materials working together. Our team also managed to think beyond the TDI and source the other materials to further reduce the total footprint. We provided the customer with an additional way of optimising its products, by sourcing the non-emissive amines and catalysts required to produce sustainable furniture.

The result was a significant contribution to the sustainability goals of every company involved, including the customer and the suppliers alike. Overall, the final product is 50% more sustainable than before. Along the way, the team also made it a cost-efficient product to produce.

Both the customer and IMCD are in the process of becoming certified according to ISCC Plus (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification). The customer will switch a substantial portion of its production to the new technology. In addition, the process has also opened up new opportunities for the customer to export its products to other regions at a time when both customers and regulators are demanding sustainable solutions.

The project serves as an example of how IMCD leverages its expertise, wide network and trust-based relationships to embed sustainability and circularity across the ecosystem.

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