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We All Have a Role to Play in What Our Future Looks Like – And So Does the Business of Chemistry

To everyone feeling a little fatigue, a little bleary-eyed this morning, you are watching democracy in action. You may wish there had been a different or more decisive result one way or the other, but the peaceful, orderly way this is playing out shows that our system does work.

Yes. It was a bitterly fought and divisive election with an outcome still unknown. But here’s what we do know: regardless of our political affiliations, differences, and beliefs, we all share the same common value of respect for one another. We need to come together as a nation; and it will require each of us to participate.

Challenging days lie ahead, no doubt, but look at what we’ve accomplished over the past year! We have shown as an industry, not only can we meet a challenge, but we can overcome it and turn it into an opportunity. We do this by always taking the high road, respecting our differences, and remembering the task in front of us now: to bring together a divided country.

We all have a role to play in what our future looks like. And so does the business of chemistry.

  • We will double down on our commitment to work with the next Congress and Administration to embrace science-based policies to protect public health and the environment.
  • We will continue to develop new and innovative ways that chemistry can contribute to a safer, healthier, and more sustainable future.
  • And we will continue to support common sense regulations and robust and responsible energy and infrastructure development that will keep our industry and our economy on a path to growth.

And so while we take a moment to reset and look to 2021 with optimism and a renewed spirit, do allow yourself some time to absorb the magnitude of the events that have transpired in our country and around the world over the past 9 months. We are witnessing and living through history, including what may be cemented as one of the momentous presidential elections in generations, if not in all of American history.

It’s true that the world can seem like its changing and evolving at a breathtaking pace. Yet what’s equally incredible is how adaptable the chemical industry has proven itself to be during this difficult time.

We’ve shown what we always knew we were capable of. In fact we may have proven ourselves even more capable than we thought.

In the face of what we all hope is an once-in-a-lifetime challenge, our member companies did not hesitate for one moment. They stepped up to the plate immediately. Our industry never stopped.

You’ve continued to operate, perform, and provide solutions to the world that are vital to winning the battle against this virus.

The products you create are vital inputs into PPE like masks and face shields; cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting solutions; and all types of medical equipment and supplies.

Without hesitation, American Chemistry Council member companies:

  • Ramped up production of these vital, life-saving products;
  • Retooled manufacturing lines to produce entirely new, essential products;
  • Supported employees and communities with volunteerism and philanthropy; and,
  • Donated critical PPE to those most in need.

In fact ACC estimates that our member companies have made more than $100 million in monetary and in-kind donations to support Covid-19 relief efforts.

The innovative $565 billion business of chemistry and the 544,000 highly-skilled men and women of our industry will work with the next administration and leaders on Capitol Hill to continue our leadership role on the front lines of the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Maintaining the vitality of our industry and its ability to produce these life-saving materials means maintaining access to our country’s vast shale gas resources that have helped drive $205 billion in new chemical industry projects in the United States with the potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and nearly $290 billion in new economic output. We must continue to constructively work across both sides of the aisle in Congress to ensure the right policies are in place to support sensible, science-based regulations and robust and responsible energy and infrastructure development that will keep our industry and our economy on a path to strong growth.

And no matter what the composition of Washington, DC or our state houses across the country, we will remain unwavering in our commitment to health and safety in all that we do. The U.S. chemical industry is five times safer than the manufacturing sector as a whole, and we have reduced emissions of hazardous air pollutants by nearly 50 percent over the last two decades. We look forward to working together to explore ways the public and private sectors can collaborate to protect public health and the environment.

These are core principles that drive the development of our industry’s many innovative products and technologies. As critical components of renewable energy sources, electric and high-efficiency vehicles, and building materials that reduce energy consumption, the products and technologies made possible by the U.S. chemical industry will be vital as we pursue a more sustainable future in which businesses and American workers are positioned to thrive.

The campaigning is over, but let me leave you with a promise I think we can all agree upon: as an industry we will do our part to turn down the heat, find common ground, and apply our ingenuity and innovations to helping achieve what we all can agree on – a safer, cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future.

That resilience you feel today? That’s exactly what is going to drive our collective resurgence tomorrow.

I hope you’ll join me in looking forward to the good that lies ahead.

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About the author

As President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) Chris is responsible for driving a pro-growth, science-based public policy agenda that fosters the development of groundbreaking products to improve lives; creates jobs and economic expansion; and enhances public and environmental health and safety.

Chris joined ACC in 2019 after serving six years as President and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), where he advocated for policies and regulations focused on enhancing security, free trade, environmental protection, worker health and safety, and farm bill and conservation programs to promote the use of fertilizer.

Prior to joining TFI in 2013, Chris served as president of the National Association of Chemical Distributors for seven years. Earlier in his career he was president of the Contract Services Association. Chris began his career on Capitol Hill, including time as chief of staff to U.S. Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY).

Chris earned an MBA from the University of Maryland and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University in New York.

A native of Wyoming, Chris and his family live in Fairfax Station, Virginia.

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