28 December 2011 23:00 [Source: ICIS news]
By Chris Jahn
National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD)
Editor’s note: US chemical industry association leaders were given the opportunity to express their views on the challenges and opportunities for 2012.
As 2011 draws to an end, we look back on a productive year, despite uncertain economic and regulatory times. We were proud to celebrate the 40th anniversary of NACD and notably the 20th anniversary of the Responsible Distribution program. We made great strides in ensuring the quality and safety in the distribution of our products throughout the entire supply chain. In fact, NACD member companies’ 2010 safety performance rating was 80% better than non-member companies and more than twice as good as all manufacturing combined. NACD members continue to provide a vital service to US commerce and are conscientious about their stewardship and performance responsibilities.
Advocacy is NACD’s strength, and members appreciate the Association’s efforts to protect the industry. Our membership believes that NACD’s most important role in the future will be representing the industry before legislators and regulators.
In 2011 we made great strides in growing our grassroots advocacy program and in increasing our presence in Washington, DC. Many of our members hosted their representatives in Congress at their facilities this year. Not only were they able to see what chemical distributors do, but they witnessed, first hand, how proposed legislation would impact companies and constituents in their districts.
This year we had a record 80 members attend NACD’s Washington Fly-In to meet with their legislators, face-to-face, to educate them about the chemical distribution industry and about the regulatory challenges they face.
Moving forward we’d like to continue to work more closely with regulators, such as the EPA, OSHA, DOT, and DHS. We realize that both NACD and federal regulators share the same goals of safety and security. To this end, NACD will continue to support the extension of CFATS and sensible TSCA reform.
The Responsible Distribution program continues to be the cornerstone of NACD. Its value to members’ businesses has only increased in recent years. While regulations and tax policies may change, Responsible Distribution is a constant example of the industry’s commitment to self-regulation and excellence.
Responsible Distribution works and is taking hold beyond our domestic borders. Brazil and Canada are in lock step with their programs and Responsible Distribution will continue to grow as other countries see the value in third-party verification. NACD is committed to Responsible Distribution throughout the supply chain. We look forward to working with our peers from across the world in embracing this effort in the future.
The data presented in NACD’s current Membership and Safety Report reflects that our industry is strong and safe. The typical NACD member is a small business with $26m (€20m) in revenue, 26 employees, and three sites. Every five seconds our members safely deliver products to their customers, who represent virtually every industry sector in the United States. While there are areas for improvement, it is clear that our industry addresses them quickly and has made significant progress in the recent years.
Through Responsible Distribution, NACD member companies have business models in place that allow them to operate efficiently and safely. The chemical distribution industry is nimble, always watching the markets, and able to accommodate changes quickly. While focusing on their core expertise, they are always open to new opportunities. Perhaps the secret to their success is that they continuously foster their relationships with their supply chain partners. In doing so, they are very aware of the needs and future expectations of their suppliers and customers.
NACD continues to support the Chemical Educational Foundation (CEF) and its successful programs – most notably the You Be the Chemist (YBTC) Challenge program. The YBTC Challenge is a fun, educational competition that aims to engage students in grades five through eight in the study of science. The Challenge is rapidly growing. Competitions in 2011 took place in 19 states, with approximately 14,000 student participants, over 50 industry and educational institution sponsors, and hundreds of volunteers.
The YBTC programs aim to spark student interest in the study of science at a younger age, leading to the next generation of chemists, scientists and engineers – a welcome benefit to distributors and manufacturers alike.
Will the economy improve next year? Who will win the elections in 2012? Regardless of the outcomes, the chemical distribution industry and NACD members in particular will be ready. NACD member companies will continue to provide important links within the chemical supply chain, working with their industry partners to ensure safe and reliable chemical distribution. Our hope is that the industry will do more business with less uncertainty. And if the current politicians in Washington, on both sides of the aisle, can’t get the job done, hopefully new leaders will be elected who are equal to the task.
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