Smart science to improve lives™

Croda joins forces with academic experts to develop sustainable polymers for a clean future

22 May 2023: Croda International Plc and the Universities of Nottingham and York have today announced a collaborative partnership to develop novel, sustainable polymers for liquid formulations.

Croda, which uses smart science to create high-performance ingredients and solutions that improve lives, and the Universities of Nottingham and York are bringing together expertise and passion for innovative sustainable solutions to approach the challenge of developing novel biobased and biodegradable polymers for liquid polymer formulations. This new collaboration is funded through an ESPRC Prosperity Partnership and brings together experts from industry and academia to undertake new research, combining this with Croda’s unrivalled understanding of product performance and market requirements.


Used in a number of day-to-day items including crop protection and personal care products, these special polymers for liquids provide the key function of emulsification and stabilisation, without which, widely used items would be unable to meet consumer requirements. Despite their critical part in formulations, to date there has been no coordinated effort to develop more sustainable versions, and it is estimated that more than 36 million tonnes (enough to fill Wembley Stadium 32 times over) of these polymers are not recovered after use, entering the environment as plastic waste1.

Speaking on the project, Dr Ian Tooley, Vice President – Chemistry at Croda said: “Croda’s ambition to be the most sustainable supplier of innovative ingredients is key in our drive to find sustainable solutions for these widely used polymers. We are excited to be partnering with these like-minded, innovation driven universities to help bring sustainable, biobased and biodegradable alternatives to our markets.”


Steve Howdle, Professor and Head of School of Chemistry at University of Nottingham commented: “We are delighted that we have the chance to contribute to solving this very important societal issue. Working with our industrial and academic partners we will create new sustainable polymeric materials that are going to have an impact on our supermarket shelves. I’m excited!”

Professor Helen Sneddon, Director of the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, University of York added: "This is a great opportunity to further explore the potential of bioderived, biodegradable soluble polymers, understanding the different properties they can offer relative to current petrochemically-derived ingredients, and having an impact in an important, and often overlooked area."

1Royal Society of Chemistry, Polymers in liquid formulations summary report, 2022




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About Croda


Established in 1925, Croda is the name behind sustainable, high performance ingredients and technologies in some of the world’s most successful brands: creating, making and selling speciality chemicals that are relied on by industries and consumers everywhere.

Croda is a FTSE 100 company with over 6,100 passionate and innovative employees, working across manufacturing sites and offices around the world with a shared Purpose to use Smart science to improve lives™. As part of this Purpose, and with around two thirds of its organic raw materials already from bio-based sources, Croda has committed to be the most sustainable supplier of innovative ingredients, becoming Climate, Land and People Positive by 2030. 


About University of Nottingham

Ranked 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.


The University is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. 


The University is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research. We lead the initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home. 


About University of York

The University of York prides itself on academic excellence in teaching and research, it is a member of the prestigious Russell Group, we are a dynamic, research-intensive university. We work collaboratively in partnership with institutions across the world to develop life-saving discoveries and new technologies that tackle some of the most pressing global challenges. Our 30+ academic departments undertake groundbreaking research that underpins our inspiring teaching and challenges students to dream big, think critically and change the world. The University is deeply embedded in the local community of North Yorkshire. Our values and commitment to the public good have never been more important. We are a hub for sharing knowledge, inspiring collaboration and enriching lives.