Tuesday, 8 May 2012

European Chemicals Sector publishes first-ever Sustainability Report

Today (8 May) Cefic launched its sustainable development vision at a special event at the European Parliament in Brussels. The European chemical industry is determined to play a key role in ensuring that by 2050 the world population of over nine billion people can live within the resources of the planet.

The evening event marked the publication of Cefic’s first-ever sustainability report: ‘The Chemical Industry in Europe: Towards Sustainability'.

The report presents a vision of how the chemicals industry will help meet future challenges and was unveiled in the European Parliament (below) at a special event hosted by MEPs Karl-Heinz Florenz and Vittorio Prodi. The report provides 17 key performance indicators that serve as a benchmark of ongoing industry sustainability initiatives that the sector can measure future progress against.

Cefic President Giorgio Squinzi, outlining the report’s vision, said: “All of the industry’s activities will be directed towards enabling a future where people have access to the necessities of a healthy life, to economic prosperity and to societal progress.”

Three pillars

The 70-page report details the three “pillars” of sustainability - planet, people and profit – and includes case studies drawn from across Europe that illustrate contributions to sustainability, including energy-efficient water purification, lightweight materials for cars and better building insulation.

Carl Van Camp, Cefic Sustainability Strategy Group chairman, said: “[The chemical industry has] a good track record when it comes to sustainability, and remains committed to programmes like Responsible Care. We are a partner in ensuring that the REACH chemicals legislation works and stand ready to have a lead role in EU-led public-private projects such as key enabling technologies.”

Initiatives such as SusChem – and its predecessor programme SusTech – have played and will continue to play a key role in the chemical sector’s commitment to enabling sustainable development.

The European chemical industry is in no doubt that sustainability is not an option but an absolute necessity, not only for the industry itself, but for all businesses and society as a whole. Cefic hopes that the report will stimulate a genuine dialogue on what can be achieved if industry, academia, government and society at large work together.

Sustainable start point

The Cefic report will serve as a starting point in developing a sustainability framework for the European chemicals industry. It will also help the trade group identify flagship initiatives to increase and improve the sector’s contribution to the sustainability policy agenda, which includes environmental, health and safety, and chemicals management practices.

Squinzi concluded: “Sustainability is about a mindset change in the way we work and high-tech products the chemicals industry makes. The flagship initiatives are one way in which stakeholders expect us to continue to drive the technological breakthroughs that society will need.

“We can help ensure a sustainable future by working with stakeholders, having a well-trained workforce in place, and through strong business performance that attracts further investments.”

The full report can be downloaded direct from the Cefic website.

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