CMA CELEBRATES 125TH ANNIVERSARY

Download CMA CELEBRATES 125TH ANNIVERSARY

Post on 09-Feb-2017

215 views

Category:

Documents

3 download

Embed Size (px)

TRANSCRIPT

<ul><li><p>b u s i n e s s </p><p>CMA CELEBRATES 125TH ANNIVERSARY Boosting public image of chemical industry is trade association's major challenge </p><p>T he Chemical Manufacturers Asso-ciationwhich meets this week for its annual meeting at the Greenbri-er in White Sulfur Springs, W.Va.is a venerable institution. Formed by 14 sul-furic acid makers in 1872, it claims to be the nation's oldest continuously op-erating trade association, in addition to being old, CMA is also capable. Driven by the needs of an industry under the cloud of both stringent government reg-ulation and deeply ingrained public distrust, the association has blossomed during the past 15 years or so into one of the most professional and respected lobbying groups in Washing-ton, B.C. </p><p>However, CMA and its mem-ber companies are among the first to acknowledge that the chemical industry still has a long way to go in improving its rela-tionship with legislators and reg-ulators. And the primary focus of CMA s 125th anniversary cele-brations throughout this year will be on helping to move the chemical industry s public image up from the very depressed levels of recent years. </p><p>The centerpiece of CMA activ-ities in recent years has been its Responsible Care program. De-veloped from a Canadian initia-tive and started in the U.S. in 1988, Responsible Care is a per-vasive program of six codes of good practice. Those codes cover process safety, distribution, com-munity awareness and emer-gency response, employee health and safety, pollution prevention, and product stewardship. Compliance is a condition of membership for CMA's more than 190 member companies. Among them, these companies account for more than 90% of the chemicals produced in this country. </p><p>Triggered by the 1984 disaster in Bho-pal, India, when a leak of methyl isocya-</p><p>nate from a Union Carbide pesticide plant killed more than 3,000 people liv-ing nearby, Responsible Care, according to CMA, is the most comprehensive vol-untary environmental effort ever under-taken by any industry. </p><p>Implementing the massive program has been a long process. CMA plans to have all codes fully operational at all member companies within the next cou-ple of years. And it hopes all members </p><p>will have submitted to inspections by in-dependent third-party verifiers within the next three years. </p><p>Another long-term project of CMA has been its 18-year involvement in the Chemical Weapons Convention. Ratified by the Senate in April, this agreement, which is now in force, forbids the use, production, transfer, and possession of </p><p>chemical weapons worldwide. CMA has long supported the treaty and has worked diligently with negotiators and other government officials to develop treaty protocols for both plant inspec-tions and the reporting of production data on dual-use chemicals that are ei-ther chemical weapons agents themselves or precursors. </p><p>A major function of CMA over all of its 125 years has been to protect its mem-ber companies from unwise legislation. It remains so today. A major current issue is regulations that could stem from con-cerns about the impact of chlorine and chlonnated organics in the environment on human health. Other issues include proposed reporting to the government of use data on many chemicals and the re-authorization of the faltering Superfund program to clean up abandoned hazard-ous waste sites. </p><p>On the occasion of CMA's 125th an-niversary, C&amp;EN Editor-at-Large Michael Hey lin interviewed CMA President and Chief Exec-utive Officer Frederick L Web-ber to explore the status and prospects for both the associa-tion and the chemical industry in general. </p><p>Webber was appointed presi-dent of CMA in fune 1993. A Yale graduateB.A. degree in history and political science and former U.S. marine, Webber was president and chief execu-tive officer of the U.S. League of Savings Institutions before join-ing CMA. </p><p>Lets start with CMA's crown jewelsthe Responsible Care program. I think we are doing okay. We would like the program to be 100% implemented by next year or the following year. </p><p>What is the status of indepen-dent monitoring and verifica-tion? I understand this issue of ensuring the credibility of the program has not been an easy </p><p>one for CMA. You are referring to Management Sys-tems Verification (MSV). This involves teams of inspectors made up of person-nel from other firms and other third par-ties that go in and check how a plant is performing. We have had several compa-nies go through pilot inspections. Others are lined up for inspections. We hope to </p><p>12 JUNE 2, 1997 C&amp;EN </p></li><li><p>have inspected at least 20 plant sites by the end of this year. </p><p>Without exception, the companies that have gone through an inspection have said it has meant a lot to them, that they learned a lot from it, and that they would do it again. It is stricdy voluntary, but we want everybody to go through it. The in-spectors report back to the company. But the company will then make the results public. For example, Rohm and Haas put the results from an inspection of a Tennes-see facility on the Internet. </p><p>The MSV process is picking up steam. The challenge is for us to have enough inspection teams lined up to handle it. </p><p>At times, it has seemed that progress on Responsible Care has been slow. For instance, some of your own surveys show relatively low awareness of the program, even among chemical plant personnel. At times it has been frustratingnot only with companies but with plant commu-nities. Awareness is not as high as it should be. That is why we have redirect-ed our communications effort back to the plant and plant community levels. </p><p>We are going to start with employ-ees and the surrounding communities and again explain to them what Respon-sible Care is all about, why its ethic is so critically important to the chemical in-dustry, why we are determined to make it work, and why we want them to know about it. </p><p>But there is some good news from the nationwide television advertising cam-paign CMA terminated last fall. It helped stop the steep decline in the public standing of the chemical industry. Most progress was made with the opinion makersthe primary target of the cam-paign. With this group, the approval rat-ing of the chemical industry broke the 50% level. But all that notwithstanding, we are redirecting our communications effort to the plant and community level. </p><p>Responsible Care has always been a top-down program. But the impression Is that it has been pretty hard to push it all the way through company ranks. But companies are pushing it down and doing it successfully. It is the only way Re-sponsible Care will continue to progress. Without chief executive officer involve-ment, it isn't going to work. That's why we have executive leadership groups throughout the country. We bring in CEOs to talk about Responsible Care, measure progress, identify issues and problems, </p><p>Highlights of CMA's 125 years </p><p>1872 Formed as the Manufacturing Chemists Association of the U.S. by about 14 sulfu-ric acid manufacturers concerned about the safe transportation of their product The exact number of founding mem-bers is not known because early records of the association were lost, probably in a fire. The association's primary objec-tive is defined as protecting its members from unwise legislation and unjust trade discrimination. </p><p>1905 Calls for a curb on handblown carboys, large glass containers for liquids, fol-lowing a series of railroad accidents in-volving corrosive liquids. A year later, it urges shippers to use iron-molded car-boys exclusively. </p><p>1918 Forms its first full-fledged technical committee. It is on carboys. </p><p>1936 Establishes a committee on stream pol-lution to address emerging pollution problems. </p><p>1948 Holds its first environmental confer-ence and warns of problems with air pollution and creates a committee on abatement. </p><p>1952 Completes, approves, and publishes a monograph entitled "A Rational Ap-proach To Air Pollution Legislation." </p><p>1971 Establishes CHEMTREC, a center to pro-vide prompt information24 hours per day, seven days per weekfor response to emergency situations in the transpor-tation of chemicals. </p><p>1972 Starts a program of special projects on environmental or occupational health issues that grows into CHEMSTARan organization of 70 panels and councils </p><p>and work with coordinators to get the job done at all the companies. </p><p>To what extent has there been foot dragging on Responsible Care? Some companies are doing better than others. And the better companies are willing to mentor and help those that are slower in responding. For instance, the Product Stewardship Code is not an easy one for some companies. But I haven't met a member company yet that is not </p><p>on specific chemicals and the business aspects of issues such as atmospheric ozone depletion. </p><p>1978 Changes its name to Chemical Manu-facturers Association. Robert A. Roland elected as president. Reorganizes to focus on advocacy. </p><p>1980 Department of Transportation recogniz-es CHEMTREC as nation's official chem-ical transportation emergency center. </p><p>1986 Adopts CAER, a program of community awareness and emergency response, in re-sponse to issues raised by Bhopal accident </p><p>1988 Adopts Responsible Care, a compre-hensive program of codes of good prac-tice designed to upgrade chemical in-dustry performance in all aspects of the production and handling chemicals. Creates a Department of State Affairs to strengthen industry advocacy at the state level. </p><p>1990-97 Responsible Care programs proliferate to other U.S. industrial groups and to more than 40 overseas chemical industries. </p><p>1993 Roland retires as president; Frederick L. Webber elected to succeed him. Forms Chlorine Chemistry Council to respond to concerns about health impli-cations of chlorinated compounds in the environment. </p><p>1997 Launches Management Systems Veri-fication approach to independent mon-itoring of Responsible Care perfor-mance at plant sites. Chemical Weapons Convention, ac-tively supported by the association for many years, ratified by U.S. Senate. </p><p>1999 Target date for full implementation of all aspects of Responsible Care by mem-ber companies. </p><p>ready, willing, and able to go full bore on the program. </p><p>I don't see or sense any resistance. That the MSV program is taking off is very encouraging. Monitoring has always been an issue. Two or three years ago, a lot of people in industry were very wor-ried about it; there was some initial re-luctance. The way to make MSV credible is to have those who have gone through inspections bear witness that it is well worthwhile. </p><p>JUNE 2, 1997 C&amp;EN 13 </p></li><li><p>b u s i n e s s </p><p>What Is the status of the chlorine/ health issue today? As recently as three years ago, the Environmental Pro-tection Agency was calling for explora-tion of a possible phasedown in the use of chlorinated compounds. We now have the Chlorine Chemistry Council (CCC) in place. This is a very sol-id business council. It is part of CMA, headed by a CMA vice president, Kip Howlett. Support from the 30 or so mem-ber companies directly involved with chlo-rine has been unbelievably strong. The council certainly does advocacy and com-munications work, but it is involved in a lot of science too. </p><p>CCC is not taking lightly any charge, any allegation, any attack, any claim in the scien-tific area. It is conduct-ing what I would call a full-court press on all is-sues involving chlorine chemistry. For now, it is more than holding its own, in the U.S. and abroadespecially in Europe and Canada. But this fight will continue. There are still people out there who believe we can all live better without chlorine. </p><p>Has the rhetoric, at least, been lowered recently? We were disappointed with EPA's position in 1994. Relations between industry and EPA have since gotten a little better, a little more thoughtful. </p><p>The endocrine disrupters issue [the claim that certain chlorinated compounds in the environment can have adverse long-term effects on animal and possibly hu-man health and development] is being handled jointly by CMA and CCC, partly with an $850,000 research fund that will mostiy go to university researchers. </p><p>We did not severely criticize Theo Col-born's book, "Our Stolen Future," on this topic. We took seriously many of the ques-tions Colborn raised. We felt this was an issue on which we couldn't "let George do it." It is incumbent on the chemical in-dustry to go find some answers. </p><p>In addition, CMA has launched a $ 16 mil-lion research program over the next two years. Most of these funds will go to the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology (C&amp;EN, May 26, page 11). </p><p>Lets speak of one of CM As success-es, the recent ratification of the long-sought Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). It wasn't easy. When we got close to the ratification vote, many false accusations were made about the treaty. I had to give some tough testimony before Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) two weeks prior to the Senate vote. I think the Senate made the right decision. I am convinced the treaty would not have passed without strong chemical industry support. </p><p>CMA goes back more than 15 years on this issue. We got support from sever-al sister associations, including ACS. </p><p>You are modest and very generous. For many years and until almost the very end, CMA was out there all alone rep-resenting the chemical community on this important national issue. In a victory like this, you like to acknowl-edge all those who helped. </p><p>President Clinton did a wonderful job. I personally told him that he was going to have to treat CWC the way he treated the North American Free Trade Agreement and get personally engaged. I promised him CMA would not falter. I also told him CWC opponents would try to pick off some CMA members and make allegations that the chemical industry was not really unified in support of the treaty. I assured the president that CMA would stand up to that and convince Congress that chemical makers were indeed united. </p><p>We went back and forth several times on the letters and op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal. As much as I love that pa-</p><p>per, it was driving me crazy. It kept com-ing up with false charges about CWC and especially its impact on industry. CMA just had to respond. It was painful. </p><p>Did these repeated and very public con-frontations with the Wall Street Journal raise concerns within CMA and its mem-ber companies? Similarly, did the fact that Senate Republicans were so divided on the treaty29 voted for ratification, 26 againstcause you personally or CMA itself any difficulties? Not really. The CMA board stood firm all the way. A neat thing about the chemical industry is that they don't let you hang out there alone. </p><p>There was some worry that whatever happened on CWC, there could be some negative impact on other bills CMA is in-terested in. For instance, some Republican senators who are supportive of CMA's po-sitions on Superfund opposed CWC. </p><p>At CMA, we tried to keep the debate on a high plane. I wrote letters to several senators in opposition thanking them for opening their...</p></li></ul>

Recommended

View more >