Collaboration & Outreach

We presented our Mid-Century Strategy to our members and key downstream user associations and this outreach is already having promising results

Catherine Potter

COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Seamlessly collaborating in and outside Euro Chlor

 

Over the past year, as across most of the world, Europe continued to be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. This has influenced how we function as the chlor-alkali industry, as well as our lives at home. We all continued to adapt accordingly, combining working from home with a gradual return to the office to maintain operationality and availability during normal working hours and adapting a ‘new kind of normal’ with our members and external stakeholders. In 2021, Euro Chlor held a series of ‘online roadshow’ meetings with members to discuss Euro Chlor and the Mid-Century Strategy, as well as the individual company priorities, to ensure collaboration continued.

The Euro Chlor Working Groups and Committees, meanwhile, continued to meet to progress and endorse our key activities. These consisted predominantly of our Management Committee, our General Technical Committee and its safety and equipment sub-group (called the GEST), our Regulatory Affairs Committee, Communications Committee, Energy Task Force and Statistics Committee.

Technology Conference postponed

 

Following the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Euro Chlor postponed our 11th International Chlorine Technology Conference and Exhibition in Warsaw, Poland by one year to 4-6 May 2021. Unfortunately, as the crisis continued, this event was postponed again to 3-5 May 2022. In its place, 85 Euro Chlor members and partners attended a two-day virtual interim Technical Sessions on 4-5 May 2021 to get updates on our Mid-Century Strategy and related topics. Presentations are available from the Technical Library on the Euro Chlor website.

Connecting with 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 Diisocyanate & Polyol Producers Association (ISOPA). Euro Chlor also led the World Chlorine Council (WCC) for the third year running.

VinylPlus®: Marking 20 years of Progress Towards #CIRCULARVINYL and Setting the Path for the Coming Decade

2020 was the target year of the sustainability commitment launched in 2011, following the successful completion in 2010 of the Vinyl 2010 programme initiated in 2000. 2020 was also the moment for taking stock of past key achievements and mapping out the future. As we all know, it was a very disturbed year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which of course impacted the final year’s operation of VinylPlus. Despite this huge hurdle, VinylPlus expanded its efforts to boost PVC sustainability, and managed to devise and get broad support on a commitment for the next ten years, which will deepen and strengthen the drive initiated 20 years ago.

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Policy progress

Circularity remains one of our fundamental principles and has again been a key framework. VinylPlus confirmed its strong engagement and commitments to recycle 900,000 tonnes of PVC per year by 2025 and one million tonnes by 2030 in new products, in line with the ambitions of the European Commission Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA). VinylPlus took a prominent role in the CPA by chairing the Building & Construction Working Group, and by actively participating to all other CPA Working Groups.

Controlling the loop and making every step towards improving the sustainability of PVC is a top priority. Since 2000, VinylPlus has proven to be a frontrunner in the circular economy by ensuring continuously growing and safe recycling of PVC and was well on track to meet its recycling target of 800,000 tonnes per year by 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges faced by the industry in 2020, VinylPlus still achieved a great result, reaching more than 730,000 tonnes of PVC recycled and re-used into new products – above 91% of the programme’s 2020 target. Since 2000, the European PVC industry has recycled 6.5 million tonnes of PVC into new products – thus preventing the release of nearly 13 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere – and created 1,500 direct jobs in recycling plants.

VinylPlus goes further than the circular economy, addressing other sustainability topics such as energy efficiency, sustainable material sourcing and production, and the responsible use of additives. The energy needed to produce one tonne of PVC resin decreased by an average of 9.5% between 2007-2008 and 2015-2016. In the same period, CO2 emissions were reduced by 14.4% for the average PVC production. For converters, across main applications such as window profiles, pipes, flooring and films, energy consumption decreased between 16% and 26.5% in 2020 compared to 2010.

The Additive Sustainability Footprint (ASF) matured in a validated methodology for assessing the sustainable use of current and new additives used in PVC products, a tool now made available to PVC additives suppliers and converters.

The Vinylplus® Product Label

The VinylPlus® Product Label, the sustainability mark for PVC products in the building and construction sector, gained acceptance and credibility within the industry and by third parties. Following accreditation by the Italian accreditation body in 2019, the scheme received a positive evaluation and recommendation by the Belgian public purchasing body in 2020. In addition, the VinylPlus® Product Label became the very first certification scheme dedicated to plastic building and construction products to be recognised under the Responsible Sourcing Certification Scheme (RSCS) within BREEAM®, the world’s most used green building standard. All this is making the Product Label a highly desirable goal for downstream businesses. To date, 128 products and product systems manufactured by 11 companies in 19 European sites have been certified, and more applications are pending.

Due to travel restrictions, several European and world-wide events took place online but allowed nevertheless VinylPlus to further raise sustainability awareness while keeping informed of initiatives in other parts of the world, as well as keeping up its collaboration with the United Nations. Engaging with sports communities proved a very effective way to promote PVC sustainability. As part of this strategic partnership, VinylPlus was a main partner of the Brussels Yoga Day 2020 held in June.

Vinylplus 2030 Commitment

2020 was also marked by a large effort to gather information setting the scene for the next ten years, to widely consult internal and external stakeholders. By building on this wealth of information, a wide range of proposals was developed, debated, and carefully reviewed. By the end of the year, a consensus was emerging on a set of ambitious yet workable actions and targets for formal adoption in June 2021. VinylPlus 2030, the new 10-year commitment of the European PVC industry, will pursue the successful actions initiated twenty years ago, while also supporting innovation and addressing new challenges which became more prominent in the last decade, such as minimising environmental footprint and contributing to fighting climate change. Partnering with civil society, customers and raw materials’ suppliers will be further developed. All this will ensure VinylPlus continues to bring a valuable and highly appreciated contribution towards a more sustainable society.

 

For more information:

VinylPlus Progress Report 2021 – highlighting 2020 activities and summarising the key achievements of the past 10 years

ISOPA focuses on EU policy, sustainability and product stewardship

It is impossible to look back at the political context for the diisocyanates industry in 2020-2021 without focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic, which showed how fragile our societies can be, but also the strength and potential of the European Union.

Despite the pandemic, 2020 was a year with many important new initiatives that will have a long-lasting impact on the future of the industry. The Member States came together and agreed on the €750 billon Next Generation EU to finance the economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. This unprecedented step could support the diisocyanates value-chain by boosting demand for polyurethanes in construction. This is because the economic recovery will be green. European Commission (EC) Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans made it very clear: “The Green Deal is Europe’s new growth strategy”. The EC started to deliver on this growth strategy in 2020 with the aim of making the EU a climate neutral and circular economy.

The EC also presented the ‘Renovation Wave Strategy’ aiming to double the annual energy renovation rate for buildings by 2030. This represents a major opportunity for polyurethanes. At the same time, the circular economy action plan and the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability set out new visions for the regulatory future of the industry.

In 2021, the diisocyanates industry was hard at work to make the new training requirements for workers a success under the REACH Restriction. This involved rolling out the training and working effectively with customers to raise awareness and answer their questions.

At the same time, the EU Occupational Exposure Limit process continued. ISOPA needs to ensure the association and the wider group of affected stakeholders secure a positive and workable outcome.

For more information, see ISOPA – The Association of diisocyanates & polyols producers, representing the manufacturers of the main raw materials for polyurethanes in Europe. ISOPA’s Linked In channel also features 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 was due to lead the operations of this global network that represents global chlorine and chlorinated products industries until the end of 2021. Following the departure of the American Chemistry Council’s Chlorine Chemistry Division (ACC CCD), one of WCC’s two US members, in 2021, Euro Chlor agreed to manage the Secretariat for a third year to help WCC’s other US member, the Chlorine Institute, take over ACC CCD’s role.

As part of this Secretariat role, Euro Chlor held a successful WCC online safety seminar in November 2020 and helped to define WCC’s future tasks and projects from 2021 onwards in a key Spring meeting. We continued to hold meetings on global advocacy and science, safety and communicating the benefits of chlor-alkali chemistry. At the WCC meetings and in WCC newsletters, regions report on their highlights related to their internal organisation, regional legislation, safety and plant security, transportation, climate change and energy and substance-related issues. As Euro Chlor does at European level, we continue to encourage all WCC members to share regional incidents with the rest of the group.

We also continued our collaboration and outreach on our www.eurochlor.org website and social media with the following results:

Over the past year we have seen that:

25%

There has been a 25% increase in people engaging with our posts on Twitter

22%

Our Facebook followers increased by 22% over the past year

1,000

LinkedIn is the biggest source of audiences from Social Media to our website and we now have more than 1000 followers!

289,285

289,285 page views on the eurochlor.org site over the past year