Articles related to environmental policy

Canada’s chemistry sector sees opportunities and challenges on the road to carbon zero

Canada’s chemistry industry shares Canadians concerns on the impacts of a changing climate and the urgency of reducing emissions in line with scientific evidence and Canada’s international commitments.

Achieving the ambitious goal of net-zero carbon emissions for all of Canada by 2050 will require chemistry-based solutions, says Bob Masterson, President and CEO of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada.

“Our industry continues to be a solutions-provider to the world’s most challenging problems. We are ready to step up to the challenge, but we need close collaboration to meet this ambitious goal,” says Masterson. “Increasing global attention to mitigating carbon emissions presents an opportunity rather than a threat to Canada’s chemistry industry.”

Canada’s chemistry and plastics sectors create some of the lowest greenhouse gas-intensive products on the planet. Through the U.N. recognized sustainability initiative, Responsible Care®, CIAC’s members have engaged in safe, responsible, and sustainable chemical manufacturing for 35 years. Investments in research and innovation have allowed our sector to modify processes reducing our overall greenhouse gas emissions by 67 per cent since 1992. There is opportunity to do even more while providing Canadian-made products to help other sectors achieve further reductions.

To assist in meeting our shared objectives, our sector will be focused on working with federal and provincial governments in critical areas involving: carbon capture and storage; hydrogen production and utilization; energy efficiency; bio-based chemistries, and; creating a circular economy for plastics, which will allow carbon already in the economy (in the form of post-consumer use plastics) to be continuously recycled and avoid emissions from the production of new plastic resin.

Carefully designed, in collaboration with industry, Canada’s net zero carbon plan has the potential to strengthen Canada’s chemistry sector further and contribute to making Canada’s economy more resilient and competitive. Emission reductions in key sectors such as green buildings, sustainable transportation through light weighting vehicles for greater fuel efficiency, clean energy and sustainable agriculture would be impossible without chemistry and plastics.

To successfully transition to a low-carbon economy and achieve net-zero emission goals, the chemistry sector requires closer collaboration and alignment between the federal and provincial governments through: recognizing the important role of the chemistry sector in research, innovation, and the implementation of climate-focused solutions; promoting active engagement and collaboration with industry, and; supporting the low carbon transition of the chemistry sector.

Canada is a country with diverse energy resources and needs which will require regional solutions and a range of options to address the requirements of Canadians, businesses and industry. We also believe national standards and harmonization between the federal government and the provinces will be vital.

For more information, please see: Chemistry: Essential to Canada’s Transition to a Low-Carbon Energy Future.

CIAC Presents to Finance Committee

Bob Masterson, CIAC President and CEO, had the opportunity to speak in front of the federal government’s Finance Committee on Tuesday, May 26th. In his remarks, Masterson spoke about the resiliency of Canada’s chemistry and plastics sectors, and how both sectors are essential to protecting Canadians—including medical and frontline workers—from the transmission of COVID-19

Thank you, Chairman Easter. I am pleased to be with you on behalf of Canada’s chemistry and plastics manufacturers. The chemistry sector generates nearly $60 billion per year, making us the third largest manufacturing sector in Canada.

I would like to extend our sector’s appreciation to Parliament and the Government of Canada for the extra-ordinary and timely measures taken to support Canadians and Canadian business during this unprecedented challenge.

I have three messages I wish to share with the Committee: Canada’s chemistry sector is resilient; it is highly responsive to Canadian’s needs; and it remains well-poised to lead Canada’s economic recovery.

Our sector is resilient. There have been no “material” impacts to our sector or its supply chains. Half of our members are reporting ‘normal’ levels of production; 30% have seen production decreases while still maintaining operations; and 20% report production increases. The sector has not required economic supports and has experienced very limited layoffs to date.

Second, our sector is highly responsive. Canada’s chemistry sector produces important water treatment and disinfection chemicals essential for public safety which have been in steep demand to support the COVID-19 response. Plastics also play an important sanitary role in the medical and food sectors. Demand for these products has increased significantly as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Our members have reconfigured value chains and production activities to assist in the COVID-19 response. For example, Shell Canada, BASF Canada and Proctor and Gamble have all reconfigured operations to make hundreds of thousands of litres of hand sanitizer, which they have donated to assist in the response.

Led by BASF Canada and Trimac – both CIAC members, our sector has supported the development of the Rapid Response Platform. This Platform matches PPE producers with those with PPE needs. In its first week of operation alone, more than 8,000 PPE matches were successfully completed through the platform.

Finally, while being resilient and responsible, the sector also stands poised to contribute to Canada’s economic recovery.

Currently, over $7 billion of capital investment in the sector remains underway and scheduled to come into production in late 2021 / early 2022.

We anticipate that a significant portion of the additional $11 billion in committed or announced capital investment that was deferred due to COVID will materialize to assist the recovery.

All our major facilities have deferred scheduled major maintenance activities and it will be of utmost priority to get these projects underway as soon as possible. These projects can involve thousands of contractor staff and total in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In addition, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia are all looking towards the chemistry sector for significant additional investment growth beyond that already announced.

Let me close by offering advice on what Canada can do to support future growth in Canada’s chemistry and plastics sectors;

First, it is essential that the Government of Canada embrace the investment growth potential of the chemistry sector.

The Government of Canada should begin to work collaboratively and in a coordinated manner with the provinces to deliver a Team Canada approach to attracting global investment into Canada’s chemistry sector. Governments working together has benefited Canadians in the response to COVID-19. We need to see the same coordinated approach as we restart and grow our economy.

Second, while it needs to retain a focus on addressing the challenging issues of plastic waste, the Government of Canada must use tools other than the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and its Schedule 1 List of Toxic Substances to regulate plastic waste. Declaring plastics toxic in Canada will greatly undermine the confidence of global investors. It will deliver a message that Canada is indeed ambivalent about growing the sector, despite the resilience, responsiveness and economic opportunity demonstrated through this crisis.

I look forward to responding to your questions. Thank you again for the opportunity to speak with the Committee this evening.

MP Dane Lloyd addresses importance of Made-in-Canada plastics in House of Commons

Dane Lloyd (MP for Sturgeon River – Parkland, AB) addressed the House of Commons recently, speaking about the importance of single-use, Made-in-Canada Plastics. In his address, Lloyd highlighted how Canada relies on plastics—which are key components in medical equipment—to help ensure the health of Canadians and how single-use plastics (gloves, masks, bags, etc.) protect Canadians from getting or transmitting the coronavirus.

Lloyd also points out that the federal government intends to designate certain types of plastic as “toxic” under Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environment Protection Act (CEPA).

Watch MP Lloyd address the House of Commons: https://youtu.be/0jpDRD72ANU

Canada’s chemistry and plastics industries making strides to tackle plastic waste

Canada’s chemistry and plastics industries making strides to tackle plastic waste

June 6, 2019

In celebration of Environment Week, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) are highlighting the important headway their members are making in tackling the global challenge of plastic waste in the environment.

Canada’s chemistry and plastics industry are also providing international support to tackle this global issue where it is most critical:

  • BASF, Dow, NOVA Chemicals, P&G, and Shell are founding members of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. This global alliance has committed over US$1 billion over the next five years to help end plastic waste in the environment by working with international agencies.
  • In 2018, NOVA Chemicals announced a three-year investment of nearly $2 million to prevent plastic debris from reaching the ocean. Its first partnership is with Muncar, a coastal fishing community located in Banyuwangi, Indonesia.
  • In Indonesia, Dow worked with the government and various stakeholders to complete the first plastic road trial in Depok, Indonesia. Approximately 3.5 metric tons of plastic waste was mixed with asphalt to create a 1.8 kilometer road. The result of the two-month project was a plastic waste-based road that was more durable and stronger than typical roads. In addition to the roads lasting longer, they also reduced estimated greenhouse gas emissions by 30 tons by replacing nearly 10 per cent of bitumen that would be used in road asphalt.

Some of the key innovations already being employed by the Canadian chemistry and plastics industry include:

  • NOVA Chemicals and Dow have developed versatile, all-polyethylene versions of the popular stand-up pouch that are widely accepted at recycling centers while retaining the performance, processability and cost-competitiveness of existing mixed-material structures.
  • NOVA Chemicals tougher and more sustainable packaging including abuse-resistant, recyclable film structuredesigns and lightweight ARCEL® resins that protect fragile goods in transit.
  • Building on successful programs in the United States, Dow is working with a community in Ontario to bring THE Hefty® EnergyBag® program to Canada later in 2019. The first Canadian city will receive grant funding from the Dow Community Foundation to help launch the program in their community. The program complements mechanical recycling programs and uses existing curbside recycling infrastructure to capture many plastic materials that can’t currently be recycled. Once collected, these materials are diverted from landfills and converted into useful resources such as diesel fuel, oils and waxes.
  • Canada Kuwait Petrochemical Corporation and Inter Pipeline Ltd will invest $7 million and $10 million respectively on research and development to facilitate the reduction of plastic waste, recycling and other improvements.
  • BASF is breaking new ground in plastic waste recycling with its ChemCycling project. Chemical recycling provides an innovative way to reutilize plastic waste that is currently not recycled, such as mixed or uncleaned plastics. Using thermochemical processes, these plastics can be utilized to produce syngas or oils. The resulting recycled raw materials can be used as inputs in BASF’s production, thereby partially replacing fossil resources. BASF has for the first time manufactured products based on chemically recycled plastic waste and is thus one of the global pioneers in the industry.
  • ReVital Polymers, Pyrowave and INEOS Styrolution announced a partnership in 2018 to recycle polystyrene packaging. This Canadian solution then uses the recycled polystyrene in the manufacturing of new products and packaging.
  • In 2018, Total S.A., a global energy producer, and Polystyvert, a Montreal-based clean technology startup with an innovative method for polystyrene recycling, teamed up to work on the dissolution and purification of household post-consumer polystyrene to generate high-quality recyclates addressing a broad range of polystyrene market requirements.
  • GreenMantra Technologies and INEOS Styrolution have signed a joint development agreement to align GreenMantra’s patented technology and INEOS Styrolution’s manufacturing infrastructure to convert waste polystyrene into chemical monomer building blocks, replacing a portion of virgin monomer feed in INEOS Styrolution’s polymerization process

Representing the broad plastics value chain in Canada, CPIA and CIAC and their members announced waste reduction targets on June 4, 2018: 100 per cent of plastics packaging being re-used, recycled, or recovered by 2040, and; 100 per cent of plastics packaging being recyclable or recoverable by 2030. These are just some of the projects and initiatives in progress that will help CPIA and CIAC members achieve these targets.

“Plastics offer myriad of benefits for a modern and sustainable society. But the issue of what to do with plastic waste continues to be a global challenge that must be addressed. Canadians and indeed the world want real, workable solutions,” said Carol Hochu, President of CPIA.

“The innovation and ingenuity of the chemistry sector will be key in solving this problem and our industry is already stepping up to do our part and reach our goals of a zero plastic waste future,” said Bob Masterson, President and CEO of CIAC.

For more information, please see CIAC’s report: Role of Chemistry in a Circular Economy for Plastics.

CIAC holds press conference on the proposed Clean Fuel Standard

On April 9, CIAC held a press conference and met with numerous government official to sound the alarm on the Government of Canada’s proposed Clean Fuel Standard (CFS).

To start out the day, CIAC Chair and President of BASF Canada, Marcelo Lu and CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson held a press conference to the Parliamentary Press gallery explaining the industry’s position and concerns regarding the CFS.

The CFS as currently designed will be the first standard in the world to include industrial natural gas and propane. The Government of Canada has proposed a phased-in approach targeting liquid fuel in 2022. If implemented as proposed, the CFS will push the total carbon price in excess of $200 a tonne, effectively doubling the cost of natural gas for the industry.

Natural gas costs to double for chemistry industry under the proposed Clean Fuel Standard

Hill Times opinion piece: Let’s end plastic waste

In the February 27 edition of The Hill Times, a joint opinion piece by President of BASF Canada and Chair of CIAC Board of Directors, Marcelo Lu and President and CEO of CIAC Bob Masterson laid out the Canadian chemistry industry’s plans for tackling the issue of plastic waste.

Hill Times Wednesday February 27th 2019

CCME workshop explores Canada-wide action plan on zero plastic waste

On February 19 and 20, CIAC’s Executive Vice President, Isabelle Des Chênes, participated in the Canadian Council of Minister’s of the Environment (CCME) workshop to develop a Canada-wide action plan for zero plastic waste. CIAC members NOVA Chemicals, Dow Canada, Inter Pipeline, Imperial and BASF were also in attendance. The goal of the workshop was to identify and prioritize government and sector actions to support the movement towards zero plastic waste.

Workshop objectives included:

  • develop a common understanding of the CCME Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste and approach
  • discuss potential government and participant actions, priorities, roles and responsibilities
  • receive feedback from participants on their respective sectors’ readiness to achieve zero plastic waste and how governments can support their efforts to innovate and minimize waste.

The workshop brought together over 150 stakeholders from across the plastics value chain as well as collectors, recyclers and civil society. Discussion was focused on the first five key results areas of the CCME Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste: product design, single-use, collection systems, markets and recycling capacity.

Attendees delivered a series of recommendations to CCME including the need to focus on outcomes and performance rather than being prescriptive. There was also broad agreement that governments have a lot of policy and regulatory levers but it is important to leave room for industry to innovate. These recommendations will be reviewed over the coming days and considered in the action plan which will be delivered to CCME in June. Additional stakeholder consultation will take place via webinar in March. CIAC and its members continue to be actively involved.

For more information, please see the CCME Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste and the CIAC report The role of chemistry in a circular economy for plastics.

Tackling climate change needs chemistry, CIAC tells Sixth Estate panel

The chemistry sector is uniquely qualified to help tackle the global issue of climate change, Bob Masterson President and CEO of CIAC, told a panel discussion on climate change In Ottawa January 31.

Pictured: Catherine Clark and CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson

The Climate Change and the Environment panel, organized by the Sixth Estate News online broadcaster, also included leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Sean Fraser; and the vice-president of federal affairs for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Craig Stewart. It was moderated by Catherine Clark.

David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data also provided interesting findings showing that the majority of Canadians think climate change is an important problem and that they didn’t know which political party was best suited to tackle the problem.

“Chemistry is a key driver to sustainability and Canada has a low carbon feedstock making us carbon-advantaged over other jurisdictions that use coal,” said Mr. Masterson. “So how do we make these changes happen faster? Price the things you don’t want – like carbon, GHGs – and reward the things you do want – like jobs and growth.”

Ms. May even jumped in to support Mr. Masterson’s comments on the U.N. Kigali Accord, which came out of the Montreal Protocol in the 1980’s, starting in 2019, new refrigerants from the chemistry sector will avoid 0.5 C of global temperature increases, making them the single largest contributor to addressing climate change to date.

“We can, when we seek to do it, make real change,” Ms. May told the panel. “Like the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer in the late ‘80s, we can take the same approach with climate change. We have to talk about our success stories.”

Other panelists included Dale Marshall, national program manager at Environmental Defence, Rachel Curran, principal at Harper and Associates and Velma McColl, managing principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group, in a segment hosted by Global News Chief Political Correspondent David Akin.

Watch the recording or read a full rundown of the panel discussion.
Read Bob Masterson’s opinion piece Chemistry: Essential to Canada’s Transition to a Low-Carbon Energy Future

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