A Conversation With Amber Wellman, Chemours’ Chief Sustainability Officer

Jul 10, 2023 7:45 AM ET
Our products are essential components in everything from electrified transport and smartphones to medical devices and clean energy technologies. Chemistry is the foundation of the world. Sustainability is the foundation of our chemistry. - Amber Wellman

In early 2023, Chemours named Amber Wellman, Ph.D., as Chief Sustainability Officer, where she brings 15 years of experience innovating in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. She has been with Chemours since its founding in 2015, where she most recently led sustainability for the Advanced Performance Materials segment. Read more from Amber and Chemours’ sustainability progress in their latest Sustainability Report.

What inspired you to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry? 

I’ve always been curious—wanting to know how things worked. I wanted my first microscope set as early as I can remember. Growing up in rural Virginia, I did not have many role models in advanced STEM education, but I was blessed with encouraging parents and teachers. My high school chemistry teacher inspired me to pursue chemistry, and I began to realize the role that chemistry played in everything around me and how it could be used to answer questions and solve problems. I benefited from professors and advisors who kept me going and growing from there.

What does sustainability mean to you? 

When I think about what makes this personal to me, it’s simple. I want to leave the world a better place, for my son and all future generations, and I know that means there will have to be meaningful collaboration among business, governments, and communities to find solutions to the challenges we face. It will take courage, and it will take chemistry! We can, and should, all be sustainability leaders!

How does Chemours remain committed to making chemistry as responsible as it is essential? 

We put science first, and we’re driven by our commitment to responsible manufacturing. To us, that means setting ambitious corporate responsibility goals and applying investment, creativity, and energy to achieve them. Our products are essential components in everything from electrified transport and smartphones to medical devices and clean energy technologies, and we are very mindful of the manufacturing process and end-of-life management. Chemistry is the foundation of the world. Responsibility is the foundation of our chemistry.

What current project excites you most? 

It is so hard to pick just one, but I’m really excited about our involvement in the ARCH2. The ARCH2 brings together producers, end-users, technology experts, and the necessary infrastructure to advance the production, use, and delivery of hydrogen energy in Appalachia. As the United States continues to transition toward cleaner energy sources, clean hydrogen energy can be a real game-changer.

How is sustainability embedded across the Chemours organization? 

I think about sustainability as creating harmony between economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection. It’s about meeting the needs of today without compromising the future. It’s about resilience! While we are very proud of our Corporate Responsibility Commitment (CRC) goals, we recognize that our responsibility to all stakeholders goes well beyond those specific goals, and our commitment to sustainability cannot be separated from our growth strategy or our vision. In reality, our Chemours vision is a sustainability vision. We are committed to creating a better world through the power of our chemistry—and doing that—together. That is why this year in our Sustainability Report, we are aligning our focus and actions to the four key areas that support our Chemours vision: Innovation and Sustainable Solutions, Environmental Leadership, Community Impact and Greatest Place to Work for All.

How is Chemours helping to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges? 

As a female scientist, it begins with diversity of thought and fostering a more inclusive and diverse workforce to discover the next game-changing innovations. How can we expect to solve the world’s most pressing problems doing the same things we have always done? From decarbonizing our economy to preserving our natural resources, Chemours will not be able to address these challenges without sustainable innovation and transformative partnerships. Together, we all have an important role to play.

Chemours continues to build on its progress and make a meaningful impact on the planet and communities in which we operate. That information is detailed in the recently published 2022 Chemours Sustainability which is available here.