A Competitive supplier
As part of a global community, we are highly dependent on others. As one of our key ingredients is electricity, we need reliable and affordable energy to make our essential products. In addition, to protect our planet, everyone must reduce their emissions and aim to use more climate neutral energy sources.
Unfortunately, other parts of the world may not be moving towards such energy sources at the same speed. As such, we rely on mechanisms to protect us from potentially cheaper but higher carbon footprint imported materials. Without this, we risk becoming more reliant on other global regions due to products here being less affordable. Efforts are needed by us to retain our status as a globally competitive supplier of chlor-alkali so that we are still here in the middle of this century:
- We will share objective, factual and practical information with decision makers to support Europe’s green ambitions. This will take place whilst ensuring the supply of our essential products
- We will also work towards making our industry an even more attractive place to work, to complement the efforts of our skilled colleagues.
Read about Euro Chlor member production and capacity. Updates on the KPIs and priorities within this element will be given here as they are released, starting with how Euro Chlor is developing successor programmes to 17 Successes and Chlorine Things.
Q. How do you intend to inform policy makers on the competitive differences between the EU and other regions?
We strictly follow anti-trust rules, so can only share aggregated data on the performance of the chlor-alkali sector. We collect these data and compare them with other regions of the world. We collate data on (e.g.) production of chlorine and caustic soda, import/ export of caustic and chlorine related products to the EU, (chlorine itself is not transported over longer distances) electricity prices, CO2 costs etc.
Q. Can you give an example of how Euro Chlor will work with EU regulators on appropriate trade legislation to protect Europe's competitiveness?
We intend to provide detailed and objective data for impact assessments related to border adjustment measures or the guidelines on state aid regarding indirect ETS costs.
Q. What is needed to stay a competitive supplier by 2050?
Considering the great importance of energy/ electricity in the total chlor-alkali production cost, the availability of competitively priced energy/ electricity is of vital importance. The availability of skilled personnel and capital is also essential.
In addition, the sector must be given the space to innovate and invest in new products/ production processes. This is vital for the economic viability of the sector and the feasibility of the EU’s climate ambitions. These are both highly dependent on an innovative chemical sector.
Q. What is needed in order to provide a level playing field within the EU?
A strong EU regulatory framework that is being actively enforced. The chlor-alkali sector strongly depends on the availability of affordable and reliable electricity/ energy supply.
Q. Is the cost compensation for the indirect cost of the EU Emission Trading System needed (EU ETS cost)?
Chlor-alkali production is energy intensive. 50-70% of the variable cost related to making chlorine is from electricity. Therefore should electricity prices in the EU be significantly higher than in other parts of the world, our industry would suffer from a competitive disadvantage. Thus we rely on the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) to be partly compensated for this disadvantage through state aid. Without this our industry risks to move outside the EU (= carbon-leakage). Other protective mechanisms are possible, which are currently under discussion.
Q. The sector, or the industry faces a shortage of skilled technical employees. What is Euro Chlor’s contribution to the solution of this problem?
Euro Chlor hopes to inspire young people to choose ‘STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education paths, and to join an industry that is contributing to a sustainable society. We aim to show that we are committed to further improving the safety of all employees and protecting the environment and security of the chemical plant.
Euro Chlor supports initiatives that improve the sector’s image as an attractive employer. For this we provide content and tools, our latest is the 17 Successes campaign (http://www.17successes.com/).
Q. What has been achieved so far?
- A new video highlighting how our chemistry is helping meet energy efficiency targets;
- The launch of #17careers – a programme that shows our industry is a great sector to work for;
- New ‘trees’ that show how chlorine, caustic soda and caustic potash create everyday items that are vital for modern society;