Interview: Red levels of uncertainty
What topics are currently on the board’s agenda?
André Vieira de Castro
CEPE board member
André Vieira de Castro: TiO2 classification is still the big theme on the board’s agenda. Despite the Member States (MS) are not all supporting CEPE’s position on “No Classification”, there has been enough doubts both on the contents of the subject and on the form of the decision (how to decide without opening a Pandora Box…). Other major topics are the Poison Center harmonisation, the PEF program and the Biocide Dossier.
What is the current status of the Paint Formula Stewardship program?
De Castro: I believe stewardship could easily win a “Word of the Year Trophy” at our CEPE annual meeting. It defines CEPE’s essence, it’s aim, it’s purpose. This has to be a beacon for all our industry. With this project, and with the associated Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) label, the whole sector commits to a “cradle to grave” strategy for products. Or better, if the circular economy is fully achieved, from “cradle to cradle”. I believe that we have the power and the means to make this work. Throughout 2019, several PEF workshops will occur and allow everyone to get involved with the PEF principles and tool. The stewardship factor is crucial. Available long-term raw materials, new ones coming, a fantastic road map to all R&D teams at European producers that will hopefully give these companies the world lead!
How will the current unstable political situation impact the sector?
De Castro: I would say this question could be answered the same way for the last… say 500 years?! There is always political impact on economy. That’s something companies have learned to include in their business models. Both stable or unstable political circumstances bring challenges. Obviously, the European Parliament Elections plus Brexit brings uncertainty to red levels. In France there is social turmoil, Merkel is stepping down in Germany, Spain has no political solution on sight, not to mention other situations. Multinational companies, with industrial sites in some of these countries must have a crisis-group by now, assessing and mitigating their operational risks. We must adapt, we must learn. Long term trends show that real economic progress came from unstable moments, due to people’s commitment. Let’s hope something similar will occur again!