Maastricht, the Netherlands -- It is time for the polyurethanes sector to "update the message." As a body, the urethanes industry has to stop being defensive about its products and, "go beyond the traditional rooftop shouting," of generalised messages with a focus on proprietary materials, according to Patrick Thomas, chairman and chief executive officer of polyurethane raw materials supplier Bayer MaterialScience.
"I suggest it is time to move up a gear … to target in more proactive, less fragmented ways," emphasised Thomas. The industry is "too focussed" on its own brands rather than on the wider task of educating stakeholders on the manifest benefits of using PU, the BMS executive stressed, in his keynote speech on 31 March opening the UTECH Europe 2009 exhibition and conference, held at the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre in Maastricht, the Netherlands.
"Are we as an industry addressing the issues [for polyurethanes] in the most effective way?" he asked, discussing the established advantages of polyurethanes as an insulating material in, for example, preventing waste in food supply when used in refrigeration, and in saving energy and cutting greenhouse gas emissions as a highly effective insulation material in construction.
Thomas pointed out that "the PU sector does not have a monopoly on insulation," and posed the question, "Are the stakeholders aware of its proven benefits and is the industry targeting its message correctly?"
"It is not merely a question of good intent, but of effecting change and being selective in how to approach that aim," the Bayer executive continued.
Thomas was quick to point out that he was not criticising individual associations, but indicated that the industry needs a unified voice to deal with the audience for its message. This audience includes politicians, architects, the food industry, and regulators, among others, Thomas pointed out.
Regulations are becoming tougher, and the PU sector needs an informed audience: "We should be encouraging the associations to come together to get legislation enacted to the benefit of all," he said.
Discussing energy saving in construction uses, Thomas emphasised that, "Companies here have proved these innovations." They combine improved energy efficiency in production of materials and in use of products, he added.
"You and I have the content of a terrific message," Thomas told an audience of over 200 senior representatives of the polyurethanes sector at the UTECH Europe 2009 event, organised jointly by IPI BV of Goor in the Netherlands and Crain Communications Ltd, publisher of Urethanes Technology International.
"We can only do real justice to all this innovation by thinking beyond brands and crafting and delivering more imaginative messages," Thomas said. The industry "can and should be getting more out of the production of polyurethanes, by educating all the stakeholders about its clear and proven advantages," he concluded.