Research - 17.11.2023 - 11:00 

Innosuisse flagship project: How plastics can be produced and used sustainably

HSG researchers are working with partners from science and practice to reinvent the plastics industry. The aim is to make them emission-neutral – with the help of the circular economy. Research is being conducted on this topic as part of an Innosuisse flagship project funded with 4 million Swiss francs. The Swiss agency for the promotion of innovation aims to sustainably strengthen the economy and society in Switzerland.
Project «Towards a NetZero Plastics Industry»: HSG researchers are combating rising CO2 emissions from plastics with the help of the circular economy.

"Climate change is a major challenge for humanity, but also a great opportunity for Switzerland to demonstrate its innovative strength," says the Innosuisse flagship project call for proposals. An interdisciplinary team has taken up this challenge: Swiss universities such as OST, SUPSI, ETH, EPFL and HSG as well as 18 businesses are contributing their expertise to bring about lasting change in the plastics industry. The knowledge gained is being directly implemented by the 18 companies in new value chains and production processes.

Combating environmental pollution and emissions

The HSG-led project "Towards a NetZero Plastics Industry" is combating rising CO2 emissions from plastics with the help of the circular economy in Switzerland. The project is scheduled to run for four years and has a budget of CHF 8 million. "By using digital technologies, innovative materials and new processes, we are promoting collaboration and driving systemic change in the plastics industry," explains project manager Dr Lukas Budde. He works together with Moritz Häussler and Professor Thomas Friedli at the HSG's Institute of Technology Management. "The overarching goal of our project is to establish and initiate an innovation ecosystem for the plastics industry in order to promote the circular economy in the Swiss plastics industry." Budde's current research topics include "Digital platforms" and "Smart manufacturing for the digitisation and reorganisation of global value chains".

The loss of value due to plastic packaging waste is estimated at 80-120 billion US dollars. For Moritz Häussler, the focus on plastics and other synthetic materials is obvious: "The production of plastics accounts for 3.4 per cent of global CO2 emissions," says the HSG researcher with an orientation towards production management. "Today, we produce more than 390 million tonnes of plastic waste per year. Systematic changes are needed to prevent plastic waste from entering the environment, rivers and oceans. This is what we want to initiate with our project," continues Häussler.

Scarce resources require new materials and production processes

Switzerland has the potential to develop net-zero solutions to this global challenge. As resources become scarcer, it is all the more important to utilise sustainable sources and renewable energies. On the way to an emission-free society and economy, material supply, raw material utilisation and material recycling are becoming increasingly important. Technologies for new materials, material savings, recycling and upcycling are therefore crucial for the future and for overcoming the challenges. In addition, research into new materials in the individual sectors is important in order to maintain innovation leadership and increase independence from critical global supply chains.

High strategic importance for HSG 

Sustainability is an integral part of the HSG's Vision and Strategy 2025, which sees the circular economy as one of the three key solutions for tackling the climate crisis and the waste of resources. HSG is therefore pursuing approaches that integrate the circular economy into research, teaching and on campus. In the Circular Lab and the Innosuisse flagship project, as well as in the INOS platform "Circular Economy", knowledge is generated that contributes to solving the pressing issues.

Further information can be found at: Current flagships (

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