[ID] => 11468
[post_author] => 34
[post_date] => 2019-10-07 12:43:02
[post_date_gmt] => 2019-10-07 11:43:02
[post_content] => We live in interesting times. Geopolitical and geostrategic factors are impacting confidence and exacerbating the already volatile and unpredictable economic environment. Growing awareness of impending environmental crises is generating increasing public and political pressure to make changes. And the mature markets are seeing demographic shifts that are having a profound impact on how both young and old see their roles in the workplace.
So interesting times are not good for business. Nowhere is that more true than in the petrochemical industry, which – at least in Europe – is coming under immense pressure to make changes and to do something about closing the plastics waste stream. Industry has been talking about environmental stewardship and sustainability for years – but the time for talking is over and it is now time to make some concrete changes.
The European Petrochemical Association’s (EPCA) Annual Meeting, which takes place this month in Berlin, comes therefore at a crucial time for the industry. While it may have recovered well in the past few years, after something of a slump following the 2008 financial crisis, that very success has helped to highlight some vital issues, and nowhere more so than in the areas of sustainable development and inefficiencies in the logistics sector.
It has been clear for years now that the petrochemical industry must work hard to attract, retain and develop young talent. In this, its efforts are in competition with other industries, which is bad news for a sector that has often struggled to present the sort of image that the young are likely to find attractive. And it is in youth that the industry will find the energy and the new ideas that will be needed to drive the transformation that is necessary – and increasingly urgent.
EPCA has worked hard in recent years to do something to change that image, by providing the space where its members can discuss the issues of talent and diversity in the workplace, and by promoting scientific and technical education in schools. But in this crucial year, EPCA’s Annual Meeting will also be looking in particular at developing leadership talent to drive the industry’s response to the need to become more sustainable.
Sustainability is also pressing on the supply chain and, while digitisation has made some headway in reducing inefficiency in the logistics function in recent years, there is still more to be done. The chemical supply chain in Europe has also been hit by infrastructure bottlenecks, with a lack of progress in improving the usability of rail, growing road congestion (not least around Antwerp) and disruption in inland waterway transport caused by more frequent occurrences of low water – something that may well be related to climate change.
All of these themes will be topics for discussion at EPCA’s Annual Meeting, which once more has drawn some very knowledgeable speakers and panellists. It has, as ever, also drawn a huge list of delegates, who attend as much for the business opportunities as for the speaker presentations.
However, this year more than ever, delegates should not miss the chance to sit in on those business sessions. The European petrochemical industry is in the midst of a period of fundamental transformation and businesses need all the help they can get to navigate what will inevitably be choppy waters ahead. HCB looks forward to seeing you in Berlin! Peter Mackay
[post_title] => Editor's letter from Berlin
[post_status] => publish
[comment_status] => open
[ping_status] => open
[post_name] => editors-letter-berlin
[post_modified] => 2019-09-09 12:45:17
[post_modified_gmt] => 2019-09-09 11:45:17
[post_parent] => 0
[guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=11468
[menu_order] => 0
[post_type] => post
[comment_count] => 0
[filter] => raw