The European Chemical Industry Council's response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Submitted by Tedora Aibu on 16 June 2020

The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) has been playing an essential role during the COVID-19 crisis. The outbreak of COVID-19 affected all of Europe’s manufacturing industries, including the chemical industry, which has been playing a crucial role in helping governments, other industrial sectors and communities to tackle the crisis. Thus, Cefic’s top priority during the outbreak has been to ensure the health and safety of employees and to secure supplies of critical chemicals into medical, environmental and food supply chains amidst border closures and lockdown measures. Key examples include biocides for disinfectants, non-woven fabrics for mouthmasks and wastewater treatments for drinking water. Cefic and its members have also closely worked with EU and Member States authorities to help them strengthen critical supply chains during this unprecedented public health crisis, including:

  • Providing the European Commission with the industry’s recommendations to secure EU cross-border freight transport and guarantee supply chains of essential goods;
  • Working with the European Commission and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) on facilitating the application of the derogation under Article 55 of the Biocides Product Regulation for substances with reported shortages;
  • Calling on the EU Health Commissioner to provide necessary support to manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) so that they could ramp up production of these substances to meet increasing demand in medicines; and
  • Serving in continual contact with national chemical industry associations in all EU Member States and CEOs of all Cefic Board members to identify possible supply chain disruptions. 

Additionally, Cefic’s members have been:

  • pushing their capacity limits to meet the exponential rise in demand for disinfectants, diagnostic tests, ventilators, protective masks, gloves and gowns, Intensive Care Unit medicines and equipment and protective clothing;
  • forming new alliances and shifting their production processes to adapt to the new needs; and
  • donating funds or critical supplies to hospitals and medical facilities.

    To learn more about the actions undertaken by Cefic in recent months, please click here

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