In this issue: 

  • Meet CIA’s new Young Ambassador: Amy Summerton

  • CIA Chemical Industry Awards 2023: Winners revealed 

  • CIA Health and Wellbeing Conference 

The chemical industry continues to do what it does best against a relentlessly challenging economic backdrop

Welcome to the latest edition of our member magazine, CIAMatters. As we head to the Summer holidays, the UK is becoming an even more challenging place to do business for chemical companies. Our latest business survey, which we have yet to conclude, will confirm new and tougher circumstances as members continue to report falling sales, raw material challenges and spiraling labour costs. 

Since our last edition, I have spelt out to politicians across all parties, advisors, civil servants and others that businesses need at least a temporary pause from inflated costs, which are under the control of Government. Failure to deliver will lead to more job losses and even closures. Every Chief Executive I speak to understands that Government does not control the entire framework within which companies operate but ever-growing net zero costs, failure to tackle inflation (our rate as I write this is over three percentage points higher than the Eurozone, nearly double the rate in India and France and almost three times that of America) puts us in the worst position opposite our competitors for chemical business investment. On top of that, after more than seven years since the Brexit vote, we have no certainty when it comes to our own country’s chemical regulation. 

These are just some of the challenges that Government could and should be doing its utmost to tackle. While it may argue it has policies in place they are not solving the problems we are facing, and we do not have a long time to get it right. See more on delivering future energy and UK REACH on page 4. Despite this, some fantastic scientific developments are happening in our member companies, and I am grateful to everyone for that. 

Nevertheless, the chemical industry continues to do what it does best against a relentlessly challenging economic backdrop. Last month, we gather in Manchester to celebrate the very best of the chemical industry at our CIA Chemical Industry Awards 2023. This year we had a similar number of entries to last year’s record breaking number. With our highest ever for the manufacturing and innovation awards. In the face of all these obstacles, the level of resilience shown by chemicalcompanies is, frankly, astonishing and I thank you for your continued support in demonstrating that individual and collective achievement through these Awards. Take a look at the winners on page 23. 

Looking to our long-term future, the Young Ambassador Award, sponsored by Scientific Update, once again proved very popular. A common theme many of the candidates wanted to highlight was the importance of Diversity and Inclusivity, particularly when attracting younger people into the industry. This year, Amy Summerton from SABIC UK Petrochemicals won the award and will be leading CIA’s ChemTalent for the next year. Find out more about Amy on page 12. 

Finally, our in person events are more popular than ever. In June, the CIA held its Health Leadership and Wellbeing Conference 2023 in Leeds. It was an opportunity to bring the chemical industry together and discuss how we can successfully achieve a sustainable healthy workplace, see page 35. It does not end there coming up, we have the CIA Sustainability Conference in October. More information will be available closer to the time. Also, in November, our CIA Annual Dinner will take place on 16 November 2023 in London at the Grosvenor House Hotel – a fantastic occasion for celebration, networking and great entertainment. As we go through the holiday season and head to the Autumn let us hope that we can begin that season on a surer footing to attract and retain the investment we need.

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