Chemistry & Life Sciences

Expert Statement: Gerd Bergmann, Chairman of the Managing Board, Nordmann

Prospects for the Chemical Distribution Industry

13.05.2022 - CHEManager asked executives and industry experts to share their views on the prospects for the chemical distribution sector.

The chemical distribution business is a diverse industry that provides customized solutions for important sectors such as pharmaceuticals, paints & coatings, agriculture, cosmetics, food & feed, and automotive. At the center of the supply chains of these sectors, distributors are critical partners for global corporations as well as for SMEs. This role has become particularly obvious and relevant during the corona crisis. But distributors also face many challenges in the aftermath of the pandemic and the current political and economic environment.

CHEManager asked executives and industry experts to share their views on the prospects for the chemical distribution sector. We proposed to discuss the following aspects:

  • What, in your opinion, are the most important lessons learned after two years of operating in a pandemic environment?
  • What will be the most important short- and long-term challenges facing the sector?
  • How do chemical distributors support the chemical industry on its path toward carbon neutrality?

Gerd Bergmann: The pandemic has shown just how vulnerable and interconnected global supply chains are – and how carefully we have to manage our resources. At Nordmann, our response to the extreme situation has been to communicate openly and coordinate efforts with all those affected by it (i.e., employees, suppliers and customers). Having a diversified product portfolio, supply chain excellence, a good level of agility and — above all — good long-standing relationships with our business partners have proven to be the most important factors for our continued success during this time. Crises like these can only be overcome together! Colleagues in China, for example, have helped very much with assessing the current reinforced lockdown situation in the country and its effects on our supply chain.
Even if the pandemic and the terrible war now being fought in Ukraine have made many other issues seem less important nowadays, for us the climate crisis remains one of the most important global challenges. New mobility concepts affecting material choices and our company’s portfolio are additional topics we have to tackle, as well as the use of renewable raw materials, the circular economy and CO2-neutrality. As an energy- and CO2-intensive sector, the chemical industry can play a pioneering role here – and in many respects, it is already doing more than the public tends to realize. Nordmann is a sustainable player that strives day by day to get better.

“The climate crisis remains one of
the most important global challenges.”

Serving as a distribution company and central link between manufacturers, Nordmann has been doing a lot to support sustainable and transparent value chains with the aim of mapping out entire cycles from raw material extraction to recycling so they can be easily understood. This includes now being ISCC-­certified and having been involved in sustainability initiatives such as Together for Sustainability and Responsible Care for many years already. Where our product portfolio is concerned, we have also been marketing products from sustainable or renewable sources for some time now, especially for plastics and cosmetics – partly in response to the significant increase in demand for these types of products. We will continue to use our product and application knowledge in order to help customers select raw materials and additives, as well as to provide advice on recycling and product shelf life.