WASHINGTON (CNI)--The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the American Plastics Council (APC) agreed Thursday to move forward with steps to merge the two organisations by January.
The merged organisations will retain the American Chemistry Council name and will have a single board of directors and executive committee. Fred Webber, president of chief executive offer of the existing ACC since 1993, will lead the new group.
Officials said the APC will maintain its name and identity in public communications and receive direction from an operating board of plastics executives.
The decision, they said, recognises the common goals across the two groups' memberships to build a stronger voice for the industry, address the growing importance of global chemicals and plastics issues, and improve association financial efficiency and program synergy.
"This is a momentous decision that responds to a series of important challenges and opportunities affecting the various businesses of the membership and is designed to take our trade association activities to a new level of performance," stated Dennis Reilley, chairman of the ACC's board of directors.
"It represents a commitment to further improve our reputation be being more action oriented," added Reilley, who is also chairman and chief executive officer of Praxair.
In a joint statement, the two groups said the new ACC will:
- enhance its focus on issues of concern to key customers;
- achieve further improvements in environmental health and safety performance through the chemical industry's Responsible Care initiative;
- conduct environmental research and testing of chemical products;
- communicate product and other benefits; and
- strengthen advocacy on key public policy issues at the state, federal and international levels.
The plastics group will continue its national advertising program, customer outreach and external communications focused on plastics and other issues.
"The new American Chemistry Council will take the best from both organisations and integrate them in ways that will enable us to achieve greater societal recognition of the benefits of our products and our industry," said James Harris, chairman of the APC board of directors and senior vice president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company.
He said the new organisation will remain committed to maintaining the "brand equity" established for plastics over the past decade.
"We believe the American people support a strong and competitive chemicals and plastics industry and, through this decision, we plan to more effectively demonstrate how we improve the standard of living and lifestyles," Harris added.
The decision to move the merger plan forward represents the culmination of a three-month review by a committee comprised of chief executive officers from member companies of both ACC and APC.