Articles related to the low carbon economy

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.

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

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

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 congratulates Elysis for new carbon-free aluminum production process

Congratulations to Canadian aluminum sector leaders Alcoa, Alcana and Apple who, with the support of the Federal and Quebec Governments, have developed a new carbon-free aluminum production process that will eventually result in annual greenhouse gas reductions of more than six million tons in Canada alone.

“The process relies upon decades of research in totally new chemical reactions from those associated with carbon-based production methods,” said Vincent Christ, CEO of Elysis, the new joint venture.

This success illustrates that by working together, the resource, manufacturing and chemistry sectors can point the way to a more sustainable future while growing the economy, here in Canada, while at the same time reducing emissions. The new venture will be in Quebec and export the technology throughout the rest of the world.

Alcoa and Rio Tinto announce world’s first carbon-free aluminum Smelting Process

$558 million investment project will create and maintain thousands of jobs in Canada

Chemistry sector addressing plastic waste head on

As our leaders head to the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec on June 8 with the intention of proposing the “Paris Agreement for marine litter,” and as our colleagues at Plastics Europe and the American Chemistry Council propose aggressive targets to curb plastic waste, we are now at a decisive moment when it comes to public policy and the global plastics value chain.

I am confident that this inflection point will create conditions for optimism, innovation and meaningful progress in the Canadian chemistry and plastics sector, as we chart the way to a future with zero waste.

As part of this leadership, CIAC has partnered with the Canadian Plastics Industry Association and their members to announce the following waste reduction targets:

  • an aspirational goal of 100 per cent of plastics packaging is re-used, recycled, or recovered by 2040, and
  • an aggressive interim goal of 100 per cent of plastics packaging is recyclable or recoverable by 2030.

These targets will not be easy to achieve. They will require actions on behalf of all society. Likewise, the issue of marine litter requires all industry, every citizen and every government on the planet to come together.

We can all agree that plastics do not belong in the ocean, nor in any other water way – period. It is a significant waste of precious resources for plastics to be used once and then discarded as waste.

However, plastics remain central to our future. They are a key enabler to our modern and more sustainable way of living. They keep food fresher for longer, they make our cars and homes more energy efficient, they provide exceptional convenience and they do all that in a way that is cost effective and with clear environmental benefits over alternatives.

Industry, along with federal and provincial and municipal policy makers and other policy influencers, need to begin to work closer together to create the conditions where the value of plastics can be realized more than once, and in some cases multiple times across their lifecycle. Part of our role will include designing materials and applications for greater recovery, reuse and recyclability.

We also need to think globally. Neither Canada nor any other G7 nation is anywhere near being a significant contributor to ocean plastics litter. The nations that are key contributors need urgent technical and financial assistance to ensure access to modern, efficient waste management services which we in Canada largely take for granted.

In Canada and other G7 nations, we need to think differently about plastics and stop seeing them as a waste that needs to be eliminated. The chemistry industry is ready and willing to address this new challenge head on.

Panelists discuss Canada’s low carbon future at the Industrial Gas Users Association’s Spring Seminar

CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson gave a brief overview of chemistry’s role in Canada’s transition to the low-carbon energy future at a panel for the Industrial Gas Users Association Spring Seminar in Montebello, Quebec on Tuesday, May 15.

The topic of the seminar panel was Heavy Industry is Necessary in Canada’s Low Carbon Future. Speakers touched on topics such as the Paris Accord, the Pan-Canadian Framework, as well as near-term and long-term targets.

“Demand for chemistry products are forecast to triple in the next 20 years. And it isn’t hard to see why: the products our members make enable our modern, more sustainable way of life,” Mr. Masterson told the crowd.

“We all need sound policies from our government that encourage growth while meeting the needs of our global commitments to sustainability. The world truly needs more good chemistry – made-in-Canada chemistry – to meet our low-carbon goals.”

The invitation only, two-day event included key natural gas stakeholders including users, pipelines and utilities, marketers, regulators and policy makers. Other participants in the panel discussion included the Mining Association of Canada, the Forest Products Association of Canada and the Canadian Steel Producers Association.

Moving to zero waste will require industry, government and society collaboration, says CIAC

On April 24, the G7 Plastics Industry Coalition, including CIAC and representatives from our membership, met with government officials and other stakeholders in the plastics value chain to discuss Canada’s objectives for the G7 Plastics Charter, which the government plans to promote at the G7 in Quebec this June.

The event was organized by the Coalition, which was founded by CIAC, Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and the American Chemistry Council Plastics Division (ACC PD), to represent industry perspectives in the global and domestic plastics dialogue. CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson gave opening remarks for the workshop, setting the stage for collaborative discussion.

“It is undisputable that plastics do not belong in the ocean, nor in any other water way – period. It is indeed a significant waste of precious resources for plastics to be used once and then discarded as waste,” he told attendees. “However, plastics are not a scourge. They are, in fact, a fundamental contributor and key enabler to modern more sustainable living.”

Industry has a role to play in designing materials and applications for greater recovery, reuse and recyclability, Mr. Masterson told the audience, but addressing the issue of marine litter and plastic waste will require actions from society as a whole, not just industry.

“Our efforts will fail if the highly responsible and highly innovative plastics industry is set up as a villain for a marine litter issue that needs to be owned by every citizen and every government on the planet,” he said.

Also in attendance were: Carol Hochu of CPIA, Keith Christman of ACC PD, representatives from the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Beverage Association, Canada Fibres, Pembina Pipeline Corporation/ CKPC, InterPipeline, Emterra Group, Ice River Springs, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The day-long workshop was very well received by all attendees. CIAC and its partners in the G7 Plastics Industry Coalition will continue to regularly collaborate with the federal government and other stakeholders on the Plastics Charter in the lead up to the June G7 meeting.

Learn about chemistry’s role in clean tech and the low-carbon economy at the Sixth Estate

Please join Shannon Watt, CIAC Director of Environment and Health Policy, on May 1 for what promises to be a lively discussion on the growing business of clean tech in Canada.

From building insulation and lighter plastics for vehicles, to solar panels and wind turbines, the products that will help move society to a more sustainable future need chemistry. Canada must fully develop the potential of its chemistry industry so it can deliver solutions to reduce emissions both within the industry, throughout Canada and around the world.

Read Shannon’s op-ed on the topic here.

 The Sixth Estate Before the Bell panel discussion

National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin Street, Ottawa Ontario

May 1, 2018. 7:30 to 9a.m. ET

Speakers include:

  • Shannon Watt, CIAC Director of Environment and Health Policy
  • Industry experts from Export Development Canada, Business Development Bank of Canada, Ecotech Quebec and the Globe and Mail.

If you are not able to attend in person, watch live online here.

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