BASF Chairman to lead European chemical industry group

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New Cefic President Kurt Bock to focus on sustainability and innovation to keep EU sector competitive

BASF Chairman Dr Kurt Bock was today elected president of Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council. Mr Bock will lead the 29,000-member organisation in that capacity starting today and replaces Giorgio Squinzi, chief executive of Mapei Group, who completed a successful two-year term.

Appointed chairman of BASF’s executive board last year, Bock gave his first address as Cefic president during the chemical trade body’s annual meeting in London. Outlining his goals for the next two years, he noted that the industry’s sustainability journey will come from its innovations designed to help meet future societal challenges facing the planet.

Bock said: “Successful and quick introduction of innovations in the market is not easy to achieve, but the benefits are clear. New technologies help cities reduce waste, purify water and save energy through building insulation. Innovation is the engine and it decides on the progress we can make on our sustainability journey.”

Sector faces unprecedented competitive pressure
Bock leads Cefic as the chemical industry’s growth in emerging regions is outpacing industrialised countries in chemicals output. Although the chemical industry is still growing in the European Union, growth rates in in other regions are higher. Today, nearly 20 per cent of global sales are attributable to the European Union chemicals sector.

The EU chemical trade surplus continues to be a bright spot for the sector, with EU net chemical exports reaching €42.5 billion in 2011 – the second best trade performance on record for the sector. EU net chemical exports for the first six months of this year are up more than a quarter as compared with the same period the year prior.

The EU chemical sector continues to face competitiveness issues, however, due to a lack of consistent EU energy and industrial policies that put it at a disadvantage with other chemical-producing regions. In addition, the industry is faced with a cumulative regulatory burden, including REACH – the most comprehensive chemical legislation on the planet. Cefic believes that EU policies must foster more innovation occurring in Europe.

Bock concluded: “The EU’s progress in sustainability depends on innovation and a strong and competitive economy, which can be achieved with the right framework, set up with the help of EU policies. The new Industrial Policy and Horizon 2020 are examples of EU policies that go in the right direction to support us.

For more information, please contact James Pieper on +32 (0)2 676 7398 or via email at jpi(at)cefic(dot)be

Notes to editors:

About Cefic
Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, is the Brussels-based organisation that represents the European chemical industry. Created in 1972, it represents 29,000 companies that produce about 20 per cent of the world’s chemicals and employs around 1.2 million people. To learn more about Cefic, visit our website at http://www.cefic.org.

About the Cefic board of directors
In between the sessions of the General Assembly, the board has central responsibility for guiding Cefic's work and approving its policies, priorities and programmes. The board meets three times a year and is elected every two years by the General Assembly. The General Assembly elected on 28 October 2012 a new board, which includes Mr Bock, who serves as its president for the period from today until the Cefic General Assembly in 2014.

Biography and images of Messrs Squinzi and Bock
Full biographies (.doc) and print-quality images of Messrs Bock and Squinzi in high-resolution .jpeg format are available online at the Cefic website, at: http://www.cefic.org/newsroom/Media-Kit/

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James Pieper
Cefic
+32.2.676 7398
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