Envisaging the Future Through R&D: A Future that Only Mitsui Chemicals Can Envision

A Future that Only Mitsui Chemicals Can Envision

It can be said that the 100-year history of Mitsui Chemicals began from solving social issues.

In 1912, Mitsui Chemicals began manufacturing raw materials for fertilizers from the byproduct gases released in the production of coal coke. This contributed to resolving the problem of food shortages that accompanied a rapid population increase.

In 1958, we constructed Japan’s very first petrochemical complex, making a contribution to the Japanese industrial advancement that has continued to the present day.

Now, Mitsui Chemicals Group defines its ideal future society as embodying “a cohesive society that is in harmony with the environment,” “health and happiness in an aging society,” and “industrial platforms that are in harmony with local communities.”

In an effort to visualize the contributions of its products and services to the environment and society, the Group has also established its own value standards with regard to contributing to the environment (Blue Value™) and improving quality of life (QOL, Rose Value™). Products with high value in these areas are certified as Blue Value™ and Rose Value™ products.

In our R&D activities, too, we maintain a strong awareness of Blue Value™ and Rose Value™, and are investing our energies into the development of technologies and products that solve key environmental issues such as climate change and marine plastic, and improve QOL for people around the world.

The power of chemistry, which transforms various substances and materials into their most ideal shape and form, is essential in achieving the realization of a sustainable society and creating a world in which people can live in happiness.

Mitsui Chemicals has so far leveraged the power of chemistry to contribute to the resolution of social issues.
We have a history of tackling numerous new challenges to match the changing of the times.

In view of this history of creating various materials, we believe there is a future that only Mitsui Chemicals can envision.

Holding tightly to this history and set of values, we are engaged in R&D efforts to create a better future, by deepening our level of communication in various fields, and quickly designing products and services that match wants and needs as soon as we identify them.

Mitsui Chemicals’ Sentiments with Regard to R&D

Mitsui Chemicals aims to give shape and form to the hopes and wishes of customers and society as quickly as possible; to create happiness for people around the world through the power of chemistry; and to continue to be a company that is closest to the hopes and happiness of everyone, a company that people can consult with casually. We want people to feel that they can ask Mitsui Chemicals first.

These are the sentiments at the root of our R&D efforts.

Mitsui Chemicals has now added a new axis to its R&D strategy, in the form of “Communication & Design,” as the fourth axis in combination with the existing core technologies of Polymer Science, Materials Science and Process Technologies. With these four axes, we will take on the challenge of developing new technology base.

In order to further accelerate the pace of our R&D efforts in carving out a better future, we also plan to expand R&D spending to 70 billion yen by 2025 (twice the amount spent in 2016), and are working actively to develop new areas of R&D.

Mitsui Chemicals’ Communication & Design R&D Strategy

So, why is it that a chemical manufacturer like Mitsui Chemicals requires communication and design in its R&D strategy? The reason is that we are now entering an era in which the conventional approaches to manufacturing are no longer effective.

The rapid advancement of digital technologies, the acceleration of globalization, and the increasing seriousness of globally shared social issues such as climate change and marine plastic demonstrate how all manner of changes are taking place on a global scale, and at an accelerating pace; and how the issues faced and hopes harbored by customers and society are becoming increasingly diverse and complex.

At such a massive turning point, it is no longer possible for us to respond to the speed of social changes using 20th century materials development methodologies, such as simply creating new materials and then finding applications for them.

In view of this, we have added a new perspective to our R&D activities in the form of our Communication Strategy, which seeks to identify wants and needs in society at an early stage, and our Design Strategy, which aims to propose and deliver solutions to those wants and needs to the world as tangible solutions as soon as possible.

In our Communication Strategy, we are working to deepen the level of our communication with our various customers by acquiring new common languages, enhancing our intelligence capabilities, and bolstering our information communicating functions. In our Design Strategy, we are fusing materials science with information science, and introducing new design technologies and rapid prototyping.

To accelerate these new approaches, we are engaging in open innovation with universities and venture companies, enhancing our parallel management of both technologies and personnel, and engaging in initiatives not using the conventional approach of developing customers after the R&D process but rather developing products and services and commercializing them from the perspective of customer needs, and with a greater sense of speed.

Through these efforts, we aim to discover what is needed by society at the earliest possible stage, and to provide new value through the application of the technologies that we have accumulated and enhanced over the course of our many years in the industry.