Collaboration & outreach

“I am proud of Euro Chlor’s proactivity, transparency and collaborative spirit. Even under difficult circumstances, we continue expanding our outreach to members, sister organisations and key stakeholders ”

Marleen Pauwels

Managing Director

Seamlessly collaborating within and outside Euro Chlor

Europe has been struck hard by the COVID-19 crisis. It has influenced how we function as the chlor-alkali industry, as well as our lives at home. We have all had to adapt accordingly. Together with our Cefic colleagues and like many of our members, the Euro Chlor secretariat has been working from home since mid-March to maintain operationality and availability during normal working hours. As of the end of May, the team started to return to the office. Due to modern technologies, this challenging period has had little impact on everyone’s productivity and efficiency and the secretariat was flexible and resourceful in adapting our plans for the year. Now we continue to adapt to this ‘new kind of normal’.

Technology conference postponed

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Management Committee decided to postpone our 11th Euro Chlor International Chlorine Technology Conference and Exhibition in Warsaw, Poland by one year to 4-6 May 2021 (instead of 5-7 May 2020). The theme of this event remains “Chlor-Alkali: contributing to a clean planet for all” and participation is open to Euro Chlor members, partners and all other industry stakeholders such as engineering companies, equipment manufacturers and service suppliers. This postponement meant that the launch of our European Mid-Century Strategy (MCS) for a Sustainable Chlor-Alkali Industry was also pushed back to the Euro Chlor Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 10-11 September 2020, which itself evolved from a physical event in Munich, Germany, to a virtual meeting.

Euro Chlor Groups helping to build the Mid-Century Strategy

As can be seen here, Euro Chlor has a range of Working Groups and Committees who have worked over the past year to provide significant guidance to the development of the MCS, as well as carry out other activities, with some key ones highlighted here:

  • Our Management Committee stepped up to finalise and endorse the MCS, as well to direct the planning and materials produced.
  • Our General Technical Committee (GTC), which maintains its focus on worker health and safety and environmental protection, has been developing the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) needed to measure our new MCS. The MCS will also form the basis of our third 10-year Sustainability Programme due to begin in 2021. In parallel, the safety and equipment sub-group of the GTC (called the GEST) has updated many recommendation documents in the past 12 months based on the lessons learned from safety incident reports and worked to develop the new interactive safety game. The equipment working group, meanwhile, did a lot of work on the re-approval of the global valves used in liquid and gaseous chlorine. 
  • Our Regulatory Affairs Committee covered the Green Deal, Euro Chlor’s MCS and several other key topics, including mercury, energy and the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) across three meetings in 2019/2020.
    The group also supported the Call for Evidence discussions on PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and the German REACH restriction proposal on PFHxA (Perfluorohexanoic acid). This is due to the essential presence of fluoropolymers in membrane materials, gaskets and other equipment. Further work is expected here in the coming year to determine if there is any release of such fluoropolymers into the environment.
  • Our Communications Committee, meanwhile, endorsed the MCS communications plan and tools, our Energy Task Force gave the necessary input to the draft ETS State Aid Guidelines and our Statistics Committee produced our monthly overview of chlorine and caustic soda production.

 Our downstream stakeholders

This past year, we also kept developing our connections with our downstream stakeholders, most notably VinylPlus®
and the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers (ECVM) and the European Diisocyanite & Polyol Producers Association (ISOPA).

VinylPlus®: Steering the PVC Industry Towards the Circular Economy

During this year of continued increased public, political and regulatory pressure on plastics, the following three successes of VinylPlus®illustrate what can be achieved by voluntary actions with concrete targets and supported by the full commitment of an entire value chain.

Policy Progress
Circularity remains one of the VinylPlus®fundamental principles and has again been a key framework. Having positively responded in 2018 to the European Commission (EC)’s request for voluntary pledges, with commitments to ensure the use of a minimum of 900,000 tonnes of PVC recyclate in new products by 2025, and a minimum of one million tonnes by 2030, in 2019 VinylPlus®accepted the EC’s invitation to be part of the Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA), a high-level multi-stakeholder platform aimed at boosting plastics recycling in Europe. More than 215 organisations have signed the CPA declaration to date, officially launched in September 2019, including VinylPlus®, several of its partners and PVC sectoral associations. Since December 2019, the VinylPlus®Managing Director is chairing the CPA Construction Working Group. VinylPlus®will play a key role by contributing its decades of experience and best practices to the activities of the CPA platform.

Controlling the loop and making every step towards improving the sustainability of PVC is a top priority. The PVC industry delivered in 2019 with 771,313 tonnes of PVC recycled – 96% of the programme’s 2020 target – bringing its cumulative total to 5.7 million tonnes of PVC recycled since 2000. The PVC industry is well on track to meet VinylPlus®’ ever more challenging recycling targets for 2025 and 2030.

After the critical review by an independent LCA expert from the University of Manchester, UK, the validation of the VinylPlus®Additive Sustainability Footprint (ASF), a methodology to evaluate the use of additives in PVC products from the perspective of sustainable development, has now been fully achieved. After the first ASF for window profiles, generic ASFs for other applications are being developed and the tool is made available to VinylPlus®’ partner companies for their own assessments.

VinylPlus® Product Label
The VinylPlus® Product Label, the sustainability mark for PVC building and construction products, is increasingly requested by converters. The Product Label makes it simpler for customers, specifiers and markets to identify products delivering the highest sustainability performance and contribution to the circular economy. To date, 112 products and product systems manufactured by 10 companies in 18 European sites have been certified. In 2019, the Label has been officially validated by the Italian accreditation body ACCREDIA. VinylPlus® is working to extend accreditation to other parts of Europe.
Societal Partnership
As part of its commitment to sustainability awareness, in 2019 VinylPlus® gave new impetus to its involvement with the sports community by engaging with an active youth audience and demonstrating how to reduce the environmental impact of sporting events using materials such as PVC that can be reused and recycled. This included the #BEACTIVE – European Week of Sport in September 2019 and such strategic partnerships proved to be an extremely effective means to raise awareness of the European PVC industry’s contribution to the circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Looking towards 2030 and beyond

Work was initiated in 2019 on developing the VinylPlus® programme for the next decade and beyond. A series of internal workshops in 2020 provided valuable inputs on the expectations of the PVC value chain. An external consultation is now being carried out to gather feedback from key external stakeholders. The new programme will be launched in Brussels, Belgium in May 2021. The Progress Report 2020 summarises VinylPlus® achievements in 2019. / /

Twitter @VinylPlus_EU / LinkedIn Vinylplus EU / Vimeo vinylplus

ISOPA focuses on EU policy, sustainability and product stewardship

ISOPA – The Association of diisocyanates & polyols producers, representing the manufacturers of the main raw materials for polyurethanes in Europe, is kept busy with the three main topics of EU policy, sustainability and product stewardship. The past year, the Association has worked hard with ECHA and the European Commission (EC) to ensure the highest levels of safety in the handling, use and transportation of the chemicals and welcomed the REACH Committee’s decision to adopt a restriction on diisocyanates. Separately and as part of the Industry4Europe coalition, ISOPA has united with European industries to call for an ambitious EU Industrial Strategy.

The EC decided back in April 2019 to choose diisocyanates to become the subject of a potential EU-wide Occupational exposure limits (OELs) value setting. As this might have a severe impact on our industries, ISOPA is strongly engaged with authorities and industry. As part of its product stewardship programme, ISOPA has also updated its transport bulk guidelines, as the previous edition from 2006 required this.

Besides those activities, ISOPA has also started to investigate potential activities around the circular economy. Many ISOPA members, who of course overlap with the Euro Chlor membership, are currently taking many initiatives to make their products more sustainable and these can be found on ISOPA’s LinkedIn channel along with interesting stories about product applications.

World Chlorine Council Secretariat Update       

Euro Chlor took over the Secretariat of the World Chlorine Council (WCC) as of January 2019 and is leading the operations of this global network that represents global chlorine and chlorinated products industries until the end of 2020. Click here for more details.

In early October 2019, the Japan Soda Industry Association (JSIA) successfully hosted 28 international delegates for the WCC Annual Meeting. Co-organised by Euro Chlor, it started with reports on activities and issues from the Global Advocacy & Science Team (GAST), Global Safety Team (GST) and Global Communications Team (GCT) were given from the Euro Chlor staff that lead these groups. The day closed with a Management Committee meeting to discuss the budget, goals and events to be presented to the WCC Governing Council later in the week.

The second day featured an informative plant tour to the AGC Inc. Kashima plant near Tokyo where dedicated employees explained the chlor-alkali process and delegates visited the different stages of their plant. On the final day, the General Assembly meeting covered detailed reports from each WCC region. The whole meeting concluded with the WCC Governing Council, chaired by Andrew Jones from Dow, featuring the Management Committee outcomes and overview from the teams. Participants also included company representatives from Covestro, Dow, Olin and Tosoh Corporation who agreed upon the WCC budget, next steps and events for 2020.

This was followed by a virtual spring update meeting on 30 March 2020. COVID-19, regulatory issues and key events were high on the agenda here. The 2020 WCC Annual Meeting will be held, virtually, in October 2020, rather than in Poland as originally planned due to COVID-19.

As part of its commitments here, Euro Chlor updated the WCC Sustainability Report, basing it on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This global brochure describes how we, and our worldwide partners, contribute to these important goals.