Sustainability is becoming the most critical and talked about factor

Mr. Ananth Muthupandian, Director Polyurethanes, PO/PG, Dow Chemical International Pvt Ltd

In his first interview with Comfort Times, Ananth Muthupandian, Director – Polyurethanes, PO/PG, Dow Chemical International Pvt Ltd, India shares details about the company’s contribution to the Indian mattress industry and sustainability efforts.

Q What is Dow India’s contribution to Indian Mattress industry?

Dow Chemical International Pvt Ltd. (Dow India) has contributed to Indian Mattress industry in multiple ways over the decades now and had been a key pillar to its growth. Some of which are,
• Bringing in global technologies and sharing global best practices directly and indirectly through making connections to our customers. Working closely with customers and using the capabilities of Dow India to develop bespoke technologies for the unique needs of the Indian consumer.
• For more than 2 decades, a recurring issue for customers in India was product availability due to uncertainties in supply-chain, given that most of the raw materials had to be imported, when the Indian Mattress industry was evolving and growing, we were the first company to invest in a bulk tank facility located in India. Thereby becoming a virtual manufacturer with the capacity to deliver product to customers. This commitment ensured reliable supply helping our customers grow faster and serve the market better.
• To respond to the evolving needs of the aspirational and well-informed Indian consumer, especially when it came to benefits derived from optimal levels of comfort, we introduced our ComfortScience approach. This essentially attempts to combine Dow’s material science expertise and application knowhow with insight from our customers to deliver the most comfortable products possible.
• Foam handling and mattress manufacturing facilities are highly prone to accidents, especially fire related. We have conducted many programs for customers and potential customers to bring awareness on how simple measures could be adopted to avert major accidents.

Q What thrust areas are expected for PU in India?

India is estimated to grow over 7 percent – with the thrust of investments in a slew of manufacturing-driven companies, a bounce back for the chemical and petrochemical industry is already happening. In a Sector like automotive, components are likely to contribute to growth specifically for the PU business. Similarly, we see a huge upside in Insulation demand as the government is actively supporting growth in reefer transport and related infrastructure. A huge consumer base and digitalization will increase the reach and affordability of consumer products like mattresses and footwear. In India, while the outlook is good, and demand will continue to grow, we see new challenges emerge on the horizon. Eg., sustainability is becoming the most critical and talked about factor in the industry. Its impact includes resource and materials substitution, decarbonization, renewable energy and waste elimination, outweighs any macroeconomic concern. This is leading to many R&D initiatives on making sustainable chemistry innovation, part of products and processes.

ISPF is an industry body which promotes importance of sleep and role of mattress for a Indian consumers. ISPF plays very important role in connecting Indian bedding industry ecosystem. ISPF also acts as bridge between India and international players.