On the Path Towards Chemical Distribution 4.0

  • Elisa Setién, FECCElisa Setién, FECC

Today, operating as the voice of the chemical distribution industry in Europe, the European Association of Chemical Distributors (FECC) represents 836 chemical distributors with about 30.000 employees and a combined turnover of around €28 billion. CHEManager asked FECC director general, Elisa Setién, to explain how the FECC is educating and supporting their members in adapting to their new role in a changing market and competition environment.

In today’s competitive global market, distributors face not only growing compliance demands but also aim to increase the added value to their partners in the supply chain.

FECC, as the voice of chemical distributors in Brussels, is committed to raise awareness among its members on the emerging European regulatory issues, analyzing the impacts they could have to the business environment of the chemical distribution sector and contributing to shape the emerging legislative initiatives.

These days, at FECC security is very much in focus, with the revision of the European explosive precursors regulation on-going, and the continuous efforts of the supply chain to increase its robustness.

Besides representing the interests of the members at European level, FECC also works to achieve workable regulatory frameworks for chemical distributors.

The last REACh deadline for lower tonnages - substances manufactured or imported from outside the EU above one ton but not more than 100 tons per year - copes most of the conversations these days. However, for chemical distributors the real challenge remains the huge amount of information that has to be exchanged along the supply chain.

Chemical distributors receive diverse information from different suppliers of the same substance, which they have to aggregate to provide their customers with a unique and consistent set of information. In this context, FECC hosted a technical workshop on digitalization of the supply chain information to ensure that members are well equipped to cope with the challenge.

Besides the on-going work on REACh, making the implementation of the new requirements to notify hazardous mixtures to poison centers under the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) workable for chemical distributors is also keeping the association.

In this complex regulatory environment new business models are also emerging, and FECC is supporting its members’ endeavours in the next phase of the Chemical Distribution 4.0, where digitalization, corporate social responsibility, circular economy and sustainability are key pillars.

Digitalization of the chemical supply chain remains both a challenge and a possibility for the sector.

Building on the success of FECC’s last year’s annual congress, focused on digitalization, the association is becoming a permanent platform to exchange experiences of the Chemical Distribution companies in the digital world and explore its potential.

Europe is transitioning to a more circular economy. For chemical distributors such transition holds a promise, and is an opportunity to generate new business models, like the chemical leasing to minimize the use of chemicals and their emissions, contributing to a sustainable, resource efficient and competitive economy.

Through a system of technical committees, specific workshops and regular publications FECC offers a platform for distributors not only to be well informed both on these and other regulatory and business trends, but also to share best practices, and discuss key topics as they emerge.

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