By Liz White, editor
San Antonio, Texas - "The PU industry must definitely in my opinion become more proactive," said Wolfram Frank, secretary general of ISOPA (the European diisocyanate and polyol producers association). "We should not always be issue-related and react," for example to edicts from Brussels, Frank added.
Taking a reactive stance may be necessary "when there are papers coming out that we don't agree with," to correct and clarify the position, the ISOPA executive said, in a 30 Sept interview during the meeting of the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry, in San Antonio.
"But this is not enough. We must become proactive and I think that the current situation and discussion in Europe and also the USA, this awareness of green, of sustainable products, this trend in my opinion is prosperous for the polyurethane industry because PU is a sustainable material and we can prove this by numbers, by life cycle assessment," he continued, in a 30 Sept interview during the CPI conference.
ISOPA has discussions and exchanges information with the CPI and these have been fruitful, Frank indicated. As a result, "CPI and ISOPA took the initiative to intensify contacts with our Asian colleagues," from the polyurethane associations of China, Korea, Japan and India. "We had the first meeting with them during the Shanghai exhibition (UTECH ASIA/PU CHINA 2008, 3-5 Sept) and we agreed to extend this relationship," he continued.
These groups represent markets with high-paced growth, and it is clear that a big group in the CPI and ISOPA, many of the members, "are all very active in China," Frank indicated.
Frank added that the associations have similar directions and goals, mentioning CPI director Neeva-Gayle Candelori's presentation in San Antonio on promoting the positive benefits of using PU - sustainability and energy saving, for example. "We promote PU the same way in Europe," Frank said.
And he commented that, despite the far-reaching effects of globalisation, "regulations are still very regional," with 51 states in the US having differing legislation, and the EU setting European-wide legislation, while, "everyone has to meet regional regulations also."
Discussing the EU's new chemical regulation, REACH (registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals), Frank said this, "absorbs a lot of time in ISOPA. ... At a rough estimate REACH takes at least 60 percent of ISOPA's time."
"But I can also say we are quite in line with the schedule of REACH," and it is a subject where, "the existence of ISOPA can contribute absolutely positively with very constructive cooperation," he added. "I think REACH is so complex that you have to put together the joint expertise and sweat equity of the members, and those are the strengths of our association," Frank commented.