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LYB buys in on plastics recycling co., a podcast to stream, and more to know this week

Looking back at top energy transition news from the year, a podcast to stream, and more of what to know going into the last week of 2023. Photo via Getty Images

Editor's note: It's a new week — start it strong with three quick things to catch up on in Houston's energy transition: looking back on top news from 2023, a podcast to stream, and more.

LYB acquires German plastic waste sourcing and engineering company

Houston-based LyondellBasell, rebranded recently to LYB, announced earlier this month that it has acquired a minority share in Source One GmbH, Leiferde, Germany, a plastic waste sourcing and engineering company, that specializes specifically in solutions for hard-to-recycle post-consumer plastic waste. This investment gives LYB access to Source One's engineering and plastic waste sourcing services, according to a news release.

"We are committed to support the growing demand of our customers for circular solutions," says Yvonne van der Laan, LyondellBasell executive vice president of Circular and Low Carbon Solutions, in the news release. “With the investment in Source One we are taking another important step to secure access to plastic waste for our recycling activities and to strengthen our Circulen product portfolio of material made from recyclable or renewable resources.”

Podcast: Moji Karimi of Cemvita talks COP28, growth of the company, and more

Moji Karimi, CEO and co-founder of Cemvita, joined the Houston Innovators Podcast last week before he had even recovered from jet lag to talk about his biggest takeaways from 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties, more commonly known as COP28.

"It was a pretty amazing experience," Karimi says, comparing the event to how CERAWeek has evolved to really have a strong presence in its innovation-focused track called Agora. "This year you had a massive section for innovation and sustainability. I think that will become a theme in COP29 and beyond to bring entrepreneurs, investors, and more participating in the event."

Karimi's three big observations are outlined here, as is the full podcast with him sharing more about Cemvita's growth this year.

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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