ICTA seeks to build bridges globally

ICTA seeks to build bridges globally

Robert stuyt, secretary general of the International Chemical Trade Association, is helping connect distributors with counterparts in other regions in the world, with a particular current focus on India and China.

Chemical trade is increasingly and perhaps even inherently an international business. Many distributors have networks of suppliers and customers across continents. In 2005 the world was predicted to become “flat” in a bestseller by Thomas Friedmann. He stated that economies would converge towards a global level playing field with increasingly interconnected supply chains across the world. Although chemical supply chains have indeed continued to internationalise, there are still significant differences between companies and regions. Not only do they differ in a commercial sense, but also in their capacity to work safely and responsibly with chemicals. By building bridges across regions, the International Chemical Trade Association (ICTA) aims to make our industry “flatter”. ICTA helps chemical distribution companies connect with counterparts in other regions of the world, at the moment in particular in India and China.

ICTA is building the capability in all regions to work safely and responsibly. By helping create higher and more uniform safety standards, ICTA hopes to simplify trade across regions. Currently, ICTA’s members are based in Latin America, North America and Europe. These include national associations and chemical distribution companies. Among them are distributors at the top of the ICIS 100 Ranking (Azelis, Brenntag, Univar Solutions, etc) as well as companies that are smaller, such as Brainerd, Cornelius, GB Chemie and Krahn. Given the importance of Asia in the chemical supply chains, ICTA is working hard to establish contacts in India and China.
ICTA has partnered with the Indian Chemical Council (ICC), which represents all branches of the chemical industry in the country. Following last year’s memorandum of understanding, both associations are organising workshops on safe and responsible chemical distribution in India.
ICTA is also teaming with the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF). At its Responsible Care meeting in April, the importance of supply chain responsibility was emphasised by the Chinese vice minister for Chemical Industry. ICTA has been invited to participate in a CEO roundtable with key players in the global chemical industry this autumn.

ICTA is active in representing the interests of the industry at international policy making forums. It is closely involved with developing the global policy framework for sustainable chemicals management. This framework will deter-mine the efforts of the UN related to chemicals for a decade to come. In a joint effort with other industry associations, ICTA is lobbying for rules that achieve real sustainability benefits without unnecessarily hampering industry.

Source: ICIS Chemical Business, 7-13 June 2019

Other international news

Other international news

Linking the BSR-conventions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
UN Environment has researched the links between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These conventions are legally binding and contribute to the sound management of chemicals and waste. The report focuses on the key issues and opportunities to link the discussions and actions concerning the targets and indicators. The report promotes taking a broader view that looks beyond minimizing the adverse effects of toxic chemicals and stockpiles on human health and ecosystems. Click here for the report.

Market research firms forecast chemical distribution market developments
The global third-party chemical distribution market will grow at a CAGR of over 7% from 2019-2023, forecasts Technavio, a market research firm. According to the researchers, one of the key factors contributing to the growth of the global third-party chemical distribution market is the growing focus on chemical distribution 4.0. Business requirements have changed along with evolving customer expectations, resulting in increased adoption of digital technologies by chemical manufacturers as well as chemical distributors. The APAC region is expected to further expand its market share through 2023 with an expected market share increase of over 2%. See here.

Another report, by Grand View Research, projects that the global chemical distribution market size will reach $317 billion by 2025, expanding at a CAGR of 5.7% from 2018 to 2025. It is noted that growing concerns regarding safety during transportation of hazardous materials have made distributors to carry out sustainable practices in their operations to maintain credibility among suppliers. Increasing sales of specialty businesses and innovations in development of green building blocks are key factors driving the industry growth. High demand from end-use industries, such as automotive, construction and pharmaceuticals, is likely to drive the segment. Carbon emission reduction is another priority. See here.

ICCA determines position of circular economy
As the global voice of the chemical industry, ICCA is committed to playing a key role in the systemic transition to a circular economy. ICCA has formulated an official position on the circular economy. On behalf of ICTA, Mr. Robert Stuyt has been closely involved in this process. This has resulted in references to the importance of using a holistic value-chain approach. See here.

This must help in preventing the extraction of resources. The UN has noted that over the past five decades, the population has doubled and global domestic product has increased four times. The report finds that, in the same period, annual global extraction of materials grew from 27 billion tons to 92 billion tons by 2017. This will double again by 2060 on current trends. The extraction and processing of materials, fuels and food contribute half of total global greenhouse gas emissions and over 90 per cent of biodiversity loss and water stress. See here.

Chemical industry contributes $5.7 trillion to Global GDP, new report showsgdp.jpg
A report has been published on the contribution to world GDP in 2017 of the global chemical industry, its supply chain and payroll-induced impacts. This is estimated at a whopping $5.7 trillion. In addition, 120 million jobs were created. The economic contribution was equivalent to seven percent of the world’s total GDP that year, while its employment contribution was broadly on a par with the population of Mexico.  

Of this total, the chemical industry itself is found to have directly added $1.1 trillion to global GDP in 2017, while directly employing 15 million people. Companies in the chemical industry spent $3.0 trillion with their suppliers in 2017, buying goods and services used in the manufacture of their products. This supply chain spending (indirect impact) supported an estimated $2.6 trillion contribution to global GDP in 2017, and 60 million jobs––spread across goods and services providers in a wide range of industries, from mining to wholesale trade. See graph below and here.

Work on chemical legislation and policy in Argentina
At the end of 2017, Argentina was selected by UN Environment for a project aiming to improve the chemicals management in the country. A draft proposal for the first National Chemicals Law was developed, which will give the government information to evaluate and manage the risks of the chemicals used in Argentina. The Office of Substances and Chemical Products was established in March 2018. There are now proposals for creating a National Inventory of Chemical Substances and for setting up methods to ensure that sound risk assessment and management practices are in place. A bilateral agreement between Argentina and Brazil was signed to facilitate cooperation for the sound management of chemicals. See here.

Helping to improve chemicals management in Africa
A workshop has been organized by UNITAR, the German government and ICCA on implementing the UN GHS in Ghana. A similar workshop will occur in Cote d’Ivoire early March, following the country’s wish to set its own chemicals regulation. By implementing GHS, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire will reduce differences in chemicals management and facilitate trade.

At the workshop it was emphasized that the UN GHS system for the classification and labelling of chemicals should be implemented as a basic management requirement. The ICCA Regulatory Toolbox guidance (here) was presented, with special emphasis on safety data sheets and Responsible Care. These two workshops show how the UN SAICM program can contribute to the sound management of chemicals with support from the UN, countries and industry. See  here.

Footage of accident with LPG road tanker for study purposes
In 2018 a devastating incident occurred in 2018 in Bologna (Italy) involving an LPG road tanker that drove into a traffic jam. A pool fire started after the collision and after a short while the LPG tanker exploded. The driver of the road tanker was killed in the accident and 145 people were injured. ICTA shares footage of the incident that can be used in safety and accident training for drivers. See footage of the collision (here), the explosion (here) and (here).

Dow opens e-store on Alibaba’s 1688 Platform
Dow has opened an e-store on, the online purchasing and wholesale platform of Alibaba. The goal is to provide customers in China with an online channel for purchasing its products. In doing so Dow expanded its online presence and diversified its sales and service channels. The initial batch of products available include 14 of Dow’s most popular products, covering markets such as polyurethanes industrial solutions, food, personal care, coatings, automotive, building and home decoration, agrichemicals, textile and leather. See here.

UN course on classifying and labelling chemicals according to the UN GHS
UNITAR and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are organizing a technical GHS e-Learning course from 4 – 12 May. Key to management of chemicals and to facilitating trade, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) has become the reference for chemical hazards’ classification and communication worldwide, with almost 70 countries currently implementing it. This peer-reviewed, interactive course covers the different classes of chemical hazards (physical, health and environmental). See here.

Turkmenistan approves rules of road transportation of dangerous goods
Turkmenistan is to introduce rules for the transport of dangerous goods by road, following a decree by President Berdimuhamedov. The Ministries of Road Transport and Justice have been instructed to develop the necessary legislation, which will be guided by international standards. Local press reports suggest the announcement has been prompted by increasing international transport through the country, which borders Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. See here.

ICTA stresses importance of preventing diversion in chemical supply chains

ICTA stresses importance of preventing diversion in chemical supply chains

The G7 Global Partnership has revised its strategic vision to focus more on chemical weapons, a global culture of chemical security, capacity building and working with industry to raise awareness. In his role as chair of the Chemical Security Working Group, the representative of the Department of Homeland Security stressed the need to engage industry effectively. At that moment, however, ICTA was the only chemical industry representative in the room. It was noted that evidence shows Syria exploited weak links in international supply chains to source substances for their chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction program.

During the meetings the OPCW advised that their program and budget for 2019 had been approved. OPCW is recruiting for ten new posts to support the new work plan. There is broad support for OPCW’s work on verification, national implementation and terrorism, but some political divisions remain as key questions. There was for instance a perception that some members of OPCW sought to block effective OPCW action in response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria and UK (Salisbury). Verification planning in Syria is ongoing, but the planned work budget currently has a €800k shortfall. OPCW is also looking to fund cyber security, business continuity and physical infrastructure.

The EU gave a presentation stating that CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) threats are real. Internet terrorist propaganda and handbooks are spreading quickly, despite counter efforts. The attack in Salisbury was an eye opener at EU level. It has triggered actions to strengthen resilience to attacks with chemical weapons. The EU has therefore launched a CBRN Centre of Excellence initiative with €156m funding to build capacity. The EU is also developing a common list of threat chemicals, which it has almost finalized and is based primarily on the USA CBRN list. The EU’s next steps is to intensify dialogue with private actors in the precursor supply chain. The EU also wants to improve detection technology and first response capabilities.

On behalf of ICTA, Peter Newport welcomed the redevelopment of an EU list of threat chemicals. He pointed out that the existing list is based on risk perception, not science. He expressed the importance of taking a scientific approach when composing the new list and the importance of sharing the new list with industry. Without information sharing, there can be no effective control of listed substances. It became clear that the EU still concentrates on post supply chain diversion detection technologies, instead of on preventing the diversion in the first place. Meetings have been held with detector technology and equipment vendors, but not yet with chemical vendors. ICTA has expressed its firm belief that the focus should be on preventing diversion.

ICTA will continue to be involved with chemical security in 2019. Chemical security events in Bangladesh and Brussels (for EU & Turkey) took place and are expected to take place in March respectively.

The official report can be found here.