ACC adopts first six sustainability metrics

14:20 PM | June 7, 2019 | Robert Westervelt

ACC’s board approved its first six metrics to capture and quantify industry progress on sustainability at the group’s annual meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado earlier this week.

The metrics include: community engagement and empowerment; greenhouse gas impact; air quality; energy efficiency and energy diversity; diversity and inclusion; and responsible management of hazardous waste. “ACC will be building out the details around processes for collecting and reporting the metrics data in the coming months,” says a spokesperson.

The initial sustainability metrics focus on what industry does inside the fence line, says ACC president and CEO Cal Dooley. “It will be the foundation that allows us to pivot to the next set of metrics, which will demonstrate the [broader societal] contributions to advancing global sustainability.”

Jerry MacCleary, CEO of Covestro LLC and current ACC board chair, expects the second set of metrics to be approved at ACC’s November board meeting. “These will show that chemistry is really the science behind sustainability,” MacCleary adds.

Chemours CEO Mark Vergnano notes that sustainability links all of industry regardless of company or area of focus. Industry will be critical in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, for example, including products such as Chemours’ hydrofluoroolefin-based refrigerant replacement. “It’s an effort that we support for the environment, but it’s also a great business opportunity,” Vergnano says.

A critical focus remains the commitment to eliminate plastic pollution in the environment, says Dow CEO Jim Fitterling. The idea behind the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), which was announced in January, was launched at last year’s meeting. BASF, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell, and Shell Chemical were the first to commit to the effort, which has pledged to $1.5 billion over five years to develop and introduce solutions to manage plastic waste. An early focus for the alliance will be on Asia, which faces critical challenges around ocean waste. AEPW now has nearly 35 members, including participants across the supply chain, such as converters, brand owners, and waste handlers.

An early focus for the alliance will be on Asia, which faces pressing challenges around ocean waste. AEPW expects to name a CEO by early July. Fitterling hints that AEPW’s leader could be based in Asia. AEPW was formed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which will allow it to raise its own funding while also leveraging private, foundation, and government investment.

“It’s not an advocacy body,” Fitterling says. “It will solve problems and prove out solutions.” Early projects include a city partnership to advance integrated waste management and technologies, an effort to curb waste in India’s Ganges river, and a global information project that will enable data collection and sharing to help governments, companies, and NGOs to make more-informed choices about projects to address the challenge, Fitterling adds.

AEPW has already received 350 project submissions even before a formal call for project submissions. “It shows the number of people that are stepping up and want to be part of the solution,” Fitterling says. “We can showcase to the world what you can do with the plastics, that there is value at the end of life, and that plastics shouldn’t go into waste streams. I think we can not only stem the tide but create innovation opportunities and high-value products that can drive future investment.”

ACC to name next CEO by the end of summer

ACC expects to name its next CEO by the end of summer, according to sources. The search for a successor to Cal Dooley is ongoing and final candidates were evaluated at ACC’s annual meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado this week.

Dooley announced plans to retire by the end of 2019 last June after agreeing to delay his retirement by one year to help coordinate industry’s response to plastic waste. Dooley has committed to remain on board for an interim period to support a smooth transition, according to a source.