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America’s Chemical Companies: Building Toward a Cleaner, Safer Future

Earth Day is always a time to reflect on where we as a country, as organizations and as individuals stand in our efforts to be good stewards of the environment and our planet.  

We in the chemical industry have been at the forefront of innovating to create new technologies and products that can help increase sustainability. That’s our history and we’re proud of it.  As we assess our efforts, we recognize that we can do even better.  

We are committed to the residents and workers in the communities where we do business — to operate cleanly and conserve natural resources to help build an even better future.  

We’re focused on air, water, climate, and recycling — with product safety underpinning our efforts.

  • Air – When it comes to air quality, the chemical industry is testing, tracking, and working to improve air quality in the communities where we do business. For example, ACC has worked with Harris County, Texas, government officials and scientists to create and deploy an extensive state-of-the-art air monitoring system in Houston so that we can track and evaluate air quality. This effort includes significant investments to fund mobile and stationary air monitors, including in lower-income areas, some of which have never had access to air monitoring before.
  • Water – Chemical manufacturing is often water intensive. So, conserving and protecting drinking water must be a high priority.  Our members are developing products and technologies to reduce water use. We’re helping our members identify at-risk watersheds in the communities near their manufacturing facilities, aimed at developing Water Body Risk Assessments that help companies identify actions to address potential issues. And our companies are innovating to enable water conservation, sanitation, reuse, and transformation of contaminated water into clean drinking water.
  • Climate – The obligation to find solutions and address climate change are front and center for our members. We recognize the need to reduce GHG emissions in our own operations.  And we’re committed to developing and deploying clean manufacturing technologies and emissions-reduction solutions. In fact, the chemical industry reduced its GHG emissions by 10 percent between 2017 and 2020. And we’re holding ourselves accountable by publicly reporting progress on our efforts to reduce emissions.
  • Recycling – Some of our most exciting initiatives center on technologies to reuse, recycle and recover materials that have historically been discarded as waste. ACC members are taking steps to cut waste by using more recyclable materials in manufacturing. We committed to reusing, recycling, or recovering 100 percent of plastic packaging by 2040.  We are converting products that can’t be recycled back into their original feedstocks. We’re developing and deploying technologies to recover and reuse raw materials. And we’re working to keep plastics out of landfills and the environment by pursuing advanced recycling that can create new, high-quality plastics out of used plastics.

ACC member companies know that creating a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future is the right thing to do. We also recognize that it simply makes good business sense. We can be more competitive and more efficient as we cut waste and reduce environmental impact.  We’ll build trust with employees, consumers, and residents in the communities where we do business. And we won’t stop with the efforts we have underway.  

Our commitment to a cleaner, safer industry reflects our obligation to the people in the communities where we do business and to the Earth itself. This kind of long-term commitment demands continual assessment and improvement—and ACC and its members are up to challenge.

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About the Author

As President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Chris is responsible for advancing ACC’s mission to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing.

Chris has been named by The Hill as one of Washington, DC’s “Top Lobbyists” and by the Washingtonian as one of DC’s “Most Influential People” for representing the U.S. business of chemistry and its customers within the halls of Congress.

Prior to joining ACC in 2019, Chris served as President and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute, president of the National Association of Chemical Distributors, and president of the Contract Services Association. He 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.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council’s mission is to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing. To achieve this, we: Champion science-based policy solutions across all levels of government; Drive continuous performance improvement to protect employees and communities through Responsible Care®; Foster the development of sustainability practices throughout ACC member companies; and Communicate authentically with communities about challenges and solutions for a safer, healthier and more sustainable way of life. Our vision is a world made better by chemistry, where people live happier, healthier, and more prosperous lives, safely and sustainably—for generations to come.

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