Toward a Sustainable Future

Chemical Distribution Industry Continues Seeking Ways to Add Further Value

  • Dr. Uta Jensen-Korte, director general, FECCDr. Uta Jensen-Korte, director general, FECC

Chemical distribution is and will continue to be a vibrant and professional industry that has demonstrated its strength by overcoming challenges and emerging intact despite the economic context of recent years. Without a doubt, the industry plays a key role in the supply chain and adds value to the manufacturers with which distributors work closely and to the customers they serve.

In response to these realities, the chemical distribution industry has to continue seeking ways to add further value and to answer customer demands. The legislative burden on the industry is ever increasing. While we welcome the initiatives of the European Commission to improve the regulatory landscape, it is also vital that distributors are fit for purpose, ensuring they meet all legal and environmental requirements.

A revised four-year strategy was approved at the extraordinary general assembly meeting at the membership meeting in November.

The strategy is established to guide the actions of the European Association of Chemical Distributors (FECC) between 2015 and 2018. Under the slogan "We are THE voice of our industry," the strategy presents objectives and a value proposition as means to achieve a vision for FECC. The vision is for our association to "become THE opinion maker within our industry so that we are the natural partner for our members, European institutions and stakeholders."

The strategy objectives mark the way for our association to:

  • Promote the chemical distribution industry
  • Represent FECC members' interests on European and global levels
  • Ensure a sustainable business environment for distributors
  • Develop chemical distribution as an added value partnership in the supply chain
  • Foster cooperation with relevant sectors in the chemical supply chain
  • Drive Responsible Care and sustainability
  • Support the national associations

The integration of these principles with FECC's vision led to four basic values: expertise, advocacy, networking and communication.

The four categories have working topics that are related to FECC objectives. The execution of the strategy lies mainly with the FECC working committees and the secretariat.

FECC's efforts continue to support our members with high quality services through our expert committees and by organizing specialized workshops. They cover topics such as regulatory and quality standards related to food, cosmetics and excipients; how to comply with food safety as a chemical distributor; or the workshop of FECC with CEFIC, Eurometaux and DUCC about "how to classify mixtures under CLP - be able to check your software results" to support our members' preparation for the classification, labeling and packaging (CLP) deadline in June.

A major achievement of the association's committee work has been the launch of a model distribution contract. Such a model contract will support our members in their discussions with their suppliers.

The FECC model contract contains the substantive rules for a distribution contract, i.e., the main rights and obligations of the parties, the remedies for breach of contract, and the general rules that apply equally to both parties, among others. It also contains the boilerplate clauses broadly accepted in commercial contracts.

The model contract can be viewed as a general flexible framework and needs to be adapted to the nature of each contract as well as to the specific requirements of the applicable national law.

The Responsible Care Committee worked on the revision of the FECC European RC program to improve clarity and to implement criteria enabling the evaluation of quality assessments performed with alternative third-party validation tools. The revised program was launched at the beginning of this year.

REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) remained important amid the preparation for the 2018 registration deadline and the dedicated support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the authorization process, extended safety data sheets (SDS) issues and supply-chain communication. In this context, FECC advocates for the simplification and reduction of the overall costs of the process. FECC is actively involved in the Expert Network on Exposure Scenarios (ENES) platform set up to promote workable solutions and practical improvements for exposure scenarios implementation.

To evaluate the regulatory landscape of Europe and the competitiveness of the chemical industry, the European Commission launched a high-level study with the aim to analyze cumulative costs of the relevant EU legislation that specifically affects the chemical industry, including: chemical legislation, energy legislation, industrial emissions and processes legislation, workers safety legislation, customs and trade legislation, transport legislation, consumer health legislation, and chemical product legislation.

In addition, the study will seek to provide an initial comparison (quantitative, where possible) of costs incurred by the chemical industry in Europe versus costs of main competitors on the world market. The distribution sector might not be the core sector covered by this study, but taking into account its relevance distributors will be consulted.

We intend to help our many stakeholders understand the global marketplace and the regulatory framework surrounding it.

On a positive note, the past year has seen our association gain three members: CG Chemikalien, 2M Holdings and Millchem, our first member from Africa. This year we are proud to welcome Safic-Alcan from France, Interallis from Cyprus, PolymerTorg, our first member from Belarus, and Synergy from Greece as new members. All of them are true success stories in the chemical distribution industry. Membership development remains a priority to strengthen our position as the European voice of the chemical distribution industry.

FECC will continue working to ensure that the chemical distribution industry is sustainable and that our members remain fit to tackle the challenges of the future.

Therefore, the theme of the FECC Annual Congress in Athens, Greece, May 6-8, aligns with the motto of FECC's 2015 business plan "Moving Ahead, Building a Sustainable Future."

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