CIAC welcomes New Chair and Vice Chair to its Board of Directors

The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) welcomes Marcelo Lu, President of BASF Canada, as Chair of the Board of Directors for 2018-2019 and Ed Bechberger, President for ERCO Worldwide, as Vice-Chair.

“I am honoured to serve as Chair of the CIAC, a diverse association of innovators, solution providers, and stewardship pioneers, working together to present a strong voice for our country’s chemistry sector. For me, this is a unique opportunity to connect the private and public sectors and leverage the chemistry industry’s commitment to drive sustainability in Canada,” said Mr. Lu.

Mr. Lu follows outgoing Chair, Pierre Ducharme of Olin Canada ULC.

“CIAC is very pleased to welcome our new Chair and Vice-Chair. Marcelo and Ed’s deep knowledge of the industry will be key in realizing the association’s strategic objectives in the year ahead. We will continue to have a strong, dedicated Board and Executive Committee to guide the business of the association,” said Bob Masterson, President and CEO of CIAC. “I would also like to thank outgoing Chair Pierre Ducharme for his vital contribution.”

Additionally, CIAC welcomes David Chappell of Inter Pipeline to its Board of Directors. View the full CIAC Board of Directors here.

 

Marcelo Lu

President, BASF Canada
Chair, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada

Mr. Lu was appointed President of BASF Canada in early 2016 and since then, has chaired BASF Canada’s Executive Committee and Leadership Team. He is responsible for implementing regional and global strategies, working across the organization to bring BASF’s corporate purpose “We create chemistry for a sustainable future” to life. Previous to his appointment as Chair of CIAC, he served as Vice-Chair, championing BASF’s commitment to Responsible Care® in all aspects of the company’s business, including operations, product stewardship and environmental, health and safety performance.

Prior to moving to Canada, Mr. Lu was Vice-President, Business Management Polyamides and Precursors, for BASF in Asia Pacific. Throughout his career he has worked towards integrating sustainability into business strategies and procurement practices while holding various positions within BASF Group. Prior to joining BASF, Mr. Lu held several consulting positions at International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector development arm of the World Bank, in Washington, DC.

 

Ed Bechberger

President, ERCO Worldwide
Vice-chair, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada

Mr. Bechberger was appointed President of ERCO Worldwide in 2015. Previously, as Vice-President for Operations, he was responsible for all aspects of ERCO’s operations and strategy development. Since 1980, he has held various progressive positions at ERCO, including Senior Vice-President Sales and Operations, Vice-President and General Manager for Chloralkali Business, Vice-President Business Development and numerous manager and technical roles. Mr. Bechberger has commissioned over 30 chlorine dioxide plants around the world.

Exploring solutions to marine litter at the Great Lakes Plastics Forum

CIAC and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association joined Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Rod Phillips, and several environmental NGOs in a day-long information session in Toronto on October 11 to discuss the improper disposal of plastic waste in the Great Lakes.

Discussions centred on the current state of the Great Lakes regarding plastic waste, possible innovations and solutions to enable the circular economy and the need for sound public policy to support these solutions.

“Plastics are in the medical equipment that has probably at one time saved you or a loved one’s life, they keep food fresher longer allowing us to feed the world in a way that was unthinkable just a few generations ago, and they create the sustainable energy that will power our low carbon future. The materials our members produce, however, do not belong in our waterways or environment,” said Bob Masterson, President and CEO of CIAC in his opening remarks.

“Nearly 80 per cent of post-consumer plastics packaging now ends up in landfills. Our industry sees opportunities to triple mechanical recycling rates and to make chemical recycling more mainstream, noting this will take monumental changes to waste management activities in Canada.”

Participants included Pollution Probe, the Clean Water Foundation, the Council of the Great Lakes Region, bottled water company Ice River, ONRamp University of Toronto Entrepreneurship and the Ontario Government.

See the full agenda here.

Government and industry collaborate to develop a Framework for Zero Plastic Waste

CIAC representatives attended a very successful and collaborative workshop on how to best tackle the issue of plastic waste domestically at the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Deputy Ministers briefing session October 11 in Calgary.  Attendees included a broad cross-section of stakeholders including officials from federal/provincial/territorial governments, downstream recyclers, manufacturers and producers developing solutions through innovation and environmental organizations.

The federal government hopes to finalize a CCME Framework for Zero Plastic Waste at their meeting in Ottawa November 23. In preparation for that meeting, the Alberta Deputy Minister of the Environment hosted their provincial counterparts to finalize the details of the agenda and sought out the briefings from stakeholders like CIAC to help frame the plastics issue.

There were several informative case studies of innovative solutions from industry including from Keurig, Cascades Canada and Enerkem. NOVA Chemicals presented a case study on designing products for greater longevity, reuse and recycling by demonstrating their recyclable all-polyethylene stand-up pouch package. The pouch is compatible with #2 HDPE recycling streams, while meeting customer needs of performance, processability and cost.

“There was excellent representation from across the plastics value chain,” said Isabelle Des Chênes, who participated in a workshop.

“A running theme was that governments can help by addressing conflicting regulation and policy, harmonizing these as much as possible into a sort of national regulatory framework. That regulation should not be prescriptive and should allow room for industry to innovate. All levels of government should be implicated.”

CIAC looks forward to continuing to work with all levels of government as the Framework for Zero Plastic Waste is finalized.

Action needed to strengthen industry’s competitive edge, CIAC tells House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance

Isabelle Des Chênes, Executive Vice-President of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance’s pre-budget consultation hearings in Edmonton Wednesday, October 17.

In her address, she stated that urgent action was needed to ensure that Canada can compete with other jurisdictions for the next wave of chemistry industry investment.

“You might have read the eye-catching headlines last month saying that left un-checked, tax reforms south of the border would put 635,000 Canadian jobs at risk and potentially reduce Canada’s GDP by $85 billion – or nearly five per cent of the economy,” she told the committee.

The Pricewaterhouse Coopers report commissioned by the Business Council of Canada specified that the petrochemical sector will be particularly hard hit by these reforms which pose a ‘serious risk’ to chemistry manufacturing in Canada. These are issues that have been on CIAC’s radar for quite some time and others are finally starting to notice.”

Action items included adopting a temporary 100 per cent Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance (ACCA) for the chemistry industry; investing in programs to allow Canada to become a leader in the commercialization of technologies to recycle, recover or transform all plastics by 2040; and renewing the National Trade Corridor Initiative including investments in rail and ports and re-funding the Rail Safety Improvement Program and expanding it to include education and resources around the transportation of dangerous goods.

Addressing public perception of the chemistry industry and how to improve it

 

CIAC President and CEO, Bob Masterson, discussed the pressing issue of marine litter, plastic waste and how to change the public’s perception of the chemistry industry in a keynote address at the annual Chemistry Canada Conference in Edmonton on September 25.

Mr. Masterson presented findings from a survey of Canadians’ perception on plastics, explained how plastics are essential to our modern and sustainable way of life, and what the chemistry industry must do to turn public perception around.

CIAC supportive of recommendations in Commissioner’s status report update on toxic substances

Promoting sustainability through chemistry at the G7 Ocean Partnership Summit

CIAC’s, Executive VP, Isabelle Des Chênes spoke to the benefits of plastic and the need for better waste recovery efforts in a workshop on Ocean Plastics and Marine Litter during the Ocean Partnership Summit held in conjunction with the G7 Environment, Oceans and Energy Ministers’ meetings in Halifax September 19 to 20.

The workshop included a framing panel session and stakeholder dialogue chaired by Professor John Nightingale of Ocean Wise. Joining Ms. Des Chênes were Susan Ruffo of Ocean Conservancy, Lisa Svensson of UN Environment and Rob Kaplan of Circulate Capital.

Panel members spoke of the opportunities for improved, broader cross-sectoral collaboration, both with government and between governments, the importance of engaging communities, incubating and investing in waste and recycling infrastructures in developing nations and much more.

“We believe that plastics are central to our modern and more sustainable future,” said Ms. Des Chênes. “They are an extremely efficient material that helps lower our environmental footprint in almost every part of modern life. At the same time, they unequivocally do not belong in our oceans nor in our natural environment.”

Ms. Des Chênes also noted, “We need to do a better job of recycling and recovering plastics after they are used, and designing plastic applications with recovery in mind, because plastics have a tremendous value that needs to be captured. That’s where the drive towards an increasingly circular economy for plastic packaging can make a difference.”

Following the panel discussion, stakeholders were invited to discuss and vote on key recommendations to share with the G7 Ministers during their deliberations the next day. The recommendations included:

  • Developing perspectives, policies and regulations that enable and direct business and industry to move towards circular economy solutions, including alternatives, new polymers, new manufacturing processes and new business perspectives.
  • Incubate and invest in waste and recycling infrastructures in developing nations.
  • Support increased public understanding and involvement as it relates to plastic disposal.

Canada to lose 635,000 jobs, petrochemical industry at ‘serious risk’ due to U.S. tax reform, says PwC report

Last year’s U.S. tax reform poses a substantial risk to the long-term viability of a large portion of Canada’s petrochemical and other chemical industry, as well as the Canadian economy at large, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report commissioned by the Business Council of Canada and released on September 12.

The impacts of U.S. tax reform on Canada’s economy, looks at numerous sectors in the Canadian economy. Key findings indicate that the U.S. tax reforms would put 635,000 jobs (3.4 per cent of Canada’s employment) at risk and potentially reduce Canada’s GDP by $85 billion (4.9 per cent of the economy).

The petrochemical sector will be particularly hard hit. The report indicates that with the U.S. tax reform, Canada is falling even further behind the U.S. in terms of competitiveness posing a “serious risk” to petrochemical manufacturing in Canada.

“The relative attractiveness of the U.S. is reflected in the fact that, capital expenditure in chemical manufacturing has decreased by 0.3 per cent in Canada over the past five years, while increasing by 10 per cent in the U.S.,” The report states.

These findings echo the concerns raised in CIAC’s 2019 Federal Pre-Budget Submission. The submission notes that although Canada used to enjoy an advantage through its marginal effective tax rate to help overcome construction, utility, labour and logistics disadvantages, that advantage is now gone with the U.S. tax overhaul. CIAC is calling on the government to take urgent action to ensure the Canadian chemistry sector remains competitive to keep business – and jobs – within Canada.

Read more in CIAC’s 2019 Federal Pre-Budget Submission

Read the full Business Council of Canada report