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Chemicals trends 2020: Winning strategies for an era of sustainable value chains

Key findings for the chemicals sector from the 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey

The chemicals sector is entering a new era

Value chains in the chemicals sector are being reconfigured as sustainability, economic and geopolitical shifts, new technologies and changing consumer demands are challenging companies’ bottom line and future profitability. COVID-19 has added even more complexity, causing significant shifts in supply and demand.

But these same factors also provide opportunities for growth and differentiation for companies that redefine their value chains and business models, adapt to the circular economy, capture the opportunities from digital technology, and upskill their people.

Chart illustrates which opportunities CEOs in the chemicals industry will be prioritising and/or investing in over the next 12 months

Explore the global report

What a difference two years can make. In 2018, PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey revealed a record level of optimism regarding worldwide economic growth. This year, as CEOs look ahead to 2020, we see a record level of pessimism. For the first time, more than half of the CEOs we surveyed believe the rate of global GDP growth will decline. This caution has translated into CEOs’ low confidence in their own organisation’s outlook. Only 27% of CEOs are ‘very confident’ in their prospects for revenue growth in 2020, a low level not seen since 2009.

What is clouding the view from the top? In a word, uncertainty. Conducted in September and October of 2019 (before the global outbreak of COVID-19), PwC’s 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey, which involved 1,581 chief executives in 83 territories, explores the sources and manifestations of uncertainty and how CEOs are taking action to address it.

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23rd Annual CEO Survey report cover

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Lucas Prat Bertrams

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Volker Fitzner

Global Leader, Chemicals, Partner, PwC Germany

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