Interview: “It is our responsibility to educate consumers and regulators on core concerns
As you have recently been elected for the CEPE Board, what do you look forward to in this position?
Roald Johannsen: Being part of the CEPE board means being able to represent an industry that I am very passionate about. I look forward to contributing with both my experience in several coatings segments and geographies, as well as my prior exposure to some of CEPE’s sector groups. This gives me first-hand knowledge of the importance of the work that CEPE does and the positive impact that it provides to our industry, and to hopefully be at the forefront of sector shaping decisions that tackle fundamental issues for our industry.
What are currently important issues for the CEPE board?
CEPE Board member
Johannsen: There are several issues that CEPE are currently looking into – especially with new issues and regulations consistently emerging, we must appropriately represent the coatings industry. At present, one of the most pressing issues for CEPE is in the EU-wide debate on the classification of titanium dioxide. As a key ingredient for many coatings, this is a prime example of how essential CEPE’s work is and how vital it is for it to navigate between emotional responses and scientific fact in the decision making process and in shaping regulations. Other issues include the PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) as a means to calculate the true ‘cradle to grave’ environmental footprint of certain products through a customised software. This allows CEPE and its member companies to embrace our responsibility to serve as industry environmental stewards in identifying and promoting products that are both high performing and environmentally good. Another part of CEPE’s start-to-end environmental impact examination is investigating the journey of micro-particles across the supply chain. CEPE has an imperative to assess the possibility of these microscopic particles entering the food chain as a by-product of equipment cleaning or coatings disposal, and to decide how this should be appropriately regulated.
What do you see as upcoming challenges for the paints and coatings industry?
Johannsen: Our key goal and core challenge is to appropriately represent the European coatings industry, and all the companies within it, in the issues that we face. I truly believe that it is vitally important that each of these companies have a voice through CEPE and their various national associations to represent the industry in a positive way – with both consumers and customers. It is our responsibility to educate consumers and regulators on core concerns, rather than get caught in emotional arguments. As an industry with widespread reach, it is CEPE’s obligation to ground itself in science and practicality. The work that CEPE does is vital to ensuring the longevity of a very important industry – that is in itself designed to protect and sustain the longevity of the objects and the world around us.