22 November 2004 16:50 [Source: ICIS news]
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The European chemical industry council (Cefic) has had to go to its members to raise more money recently, as resources to fight Reach (registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals) and other pan-European Union (EU) issues have had to be bolstered. The
The good news is that these are much healthier than they were two years ago. For the 12 months to end June 2004, the CIA reports a £423 000 ($772 000/Euro602 000) surplus on income of £5.58m. Subscriptions from its 150 member companies were, however, reduced to just £4.65m – an average of £30 000 per company.
You have to ask, just what sort of representation can you expect for this type of outlay? The answer, apparently, is a heck of a lot! The chemical industry is facing a host of challenges and companies expect big things from their industry champions. There is continuing work to be done on Reach, to make it workable; on UK energy policy and pricing; EU emissions trading; land-use planning applications under Comah legislation…the list goes on and on.
Responding to these conflicting pressures, the CIA has reviewed its operations and launched a new campaign on member retention and recruitment. CIA president Alistair Steel says it is only right that the association seeks to broaden its membership and strengthen the representative base of the sector. But at the same time, it has to contain the financial demands on the existing membership.
CIA director general Judith Hackitt says that with the launch of the new recruitment and retention drive, she wants to communicate a new value proposition to the existing members and offer a new basis for future members and partners to consider.
One of the main changes has been to move to a much more flexible issues management approach, away from a system which is driven by functional committee/advisory group structure. But Hackitt has also made it clear she wants to work more closely with other chemical trade associations to see how partnership can be developed.
The CIA will increasingly focus on its core propositions of "advocacy, authority and action" and is asking members to judge it on six criteria: representation at the highest level; ensuring sustainable development; providing information; improving performance standards, harnessing innovation for the future and providing strong leadership.
Hackitt can already point to closer contacts with
Thus, the name of the game for trade associations, be they in Washington, Brussels, or EU member states, is increasingly political influence in high places, rather than technical representation and trade expertise. Whether the shift in emphasis will bring in more members and funding remains to be seen, but there is no doubt, an increased drive to protect the industry is a must.
By John Baker
+44 208 652 3153
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