Chemical legislation provides a commercial and legislative driver to review material and chemical portfolios, causing a need to substitute with very little notice. Many customers’ products have lifecycles measured in decades rather than years. Substitution can only take place in many cases if replacement materials exceed the capability of existing ones, irrespective of specification requirements. Development of innovative alternatives therefore takes significant time and customer engagement to enable substitution in existing as well as new products. Without customer engagement, withdrawal of existing materials and chemicals can have a substantially disruptive downstream impact. Engagement of the ultimate customer and their product needs is therefore key to successful innovation.