Evonik wins European Responsible Care® Award for glycolipid biosurfactants

As the winner in the Safe and Sustainable Chemicals category, Evonik has been recognised for its innovative glycolipid technology and strong partnership examples.

Evonik has an established portfolio of glycolipid biosurfactants and is the first company to meet the increasing market demand for commercial quantities of sustainable, high-performance rhamnolipid biosurfactants. It recently received the Responsible Care® Award of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) for its sustainable biosurfactants platform.

“Sustainability drives us, and innovation inspires us. Winning this award is clear confirmation that our biosolutions are driving the revolution toward sustainable chemicals,” said Johann-Caspar Gammelin, president of Evonik’s Nutrition & Care division. 

Dr Lisa Maus, director strategy of Evonik Care Solutions, and Yann d’Herve, head of Evonik Care Solutions (Image: Evonik)

Supporting the transition to sustainable surfactants

Evonik’s glycolipid biosurfactants are developed using its biotechnology platform, which is an integral part of the company’s life sciences division Nutrition & Care. The division uses innovative biosolutions to drive a revolution in cleaning and beyond by closing carbon loops using biogenic carbon as a raw material and ensuring the biodegradability of end products. 

“Together with our partners, we are changing the game for consumers and bringing sustainability into everyday products,” said Yann d’Hervé, head of Evonik’s Care Solutions business line. 

Evonik was the first company to develop an IP-protected biotechnological process to produce rhamnolipid biosurfactants at commercial scale. In 2022, Evonik announced a triple-digit million-euro investment in a commercial-scale biosurfactant plant in Slovakia. There is strong market demand for biosurfactants and a rapid transition to these sustainable surfactants is underway. However, until recently, the commercial production of biosurfactants has been very challenging due to low yields in production processes and high recovery and purification costs. 

Eco-friendly glycolipids for home and personal care

Evonik’s sophorolipid and rhamnolipid biosurfactants are eco-friendly glycolipids that are commercially derived through a bio-fermentation process with a low carbon footprint, using a responsibly sourced and 100 percent renewable feedstock. In addition to their strong sustainability profile, Evonik’s glycolipids have foaming, cleansing, and solubilising properties that make them highly suitable for personal care applications such as shampoo and shower gel, and home care applications such as hand dishwashing, hard surface cleaning and laundry applications. Further areas of application for biosurfactants are currently being evaluated. 

Founded in 1972, Cefic is the voice of chemical companies across Europe. Since 2005, the European Responsible Care® Award has recognised the chemical industry’s work to improve safe chemicals management and achieve performance excellence. 

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