Interview: “Defend the voice of paints”

Christel Davidson has been with CEPE since January and took over as managing director in April. She recaps her first four months in the coatings industry.

Christel Davidson has been with CEPE since January and took over as managing director in April.

How was your start at CEPE?

Christel Davidson: As a newcomer to the industry, my first months have been spent learning about paints and printing inks and getting acquainted with the sector and CEPE as an organisation. The coatings industry is more diverse and complex than one imagines. My previous experience working for the European associations representing the wholesale and retail sector (EuroCommerce) and SMEs (SMEunited) had mostly exposed me to the artists’ colours and DECO pillars of CEPE. I was less familiar with the other aspects of coatings.

However, in my short time here, I have come to better understand and realise the positive contribution of coatings to sustainability. The claim “coatings are part of the solution, not the problem” takes on its full meaning.

What are the next steps on your agenda?

Davidson: My arrival at CEPE has coincided with the covid-19 pandemic. While it is still too early for a precise overview of the effects of this crisis, these will be long lasting. Despite the recent European initiative to protect jobs, workers and SMEs, all our companies have suffered losses and we can now expect to see changes in the coatings’ industry landscape in the coming months. Europe will pave the way towards the economic recovery which will be slow and “green”. Indeed, the European Commission has already reiterated its commitment to making the EU sustainable and sees the green transition and the digital transformation as means to relaunch and modernise our economy.

As CEPE we will defend the voice of the paints’, printing inks and artists’ colours vis-à-vis the EU institutions in this process towards a sustainable economy. Sustainability has always been high on the agenda of CEPE and its members and this will continue in the future. Besides our internal sustainability groups we will also be working very closely with the World Coatings Council on the sustainable development goals. As you can see, the commitment towards sustainability is not just within the institutions, it is also within CEPE.

Interview by Damir Gagro

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