Dear visitors, exhibitors and partners of the Forum Horizon Chimie 2019,
I am very honored and pleased to have the opportunity to be the “Godfather” of the Forum Horizon Chimie 2019. I was myself part of the organizing committee 25 years ago and I am very proud to see how this event could evolve, develop further and acquire such a status in the Chemical arena.
The landscape of the chemical industry has completely changed over the last decades. Indeed two major shifts have happened.
The first was the consolidation of the industry in Europe and in the USA leading to an optimization and rationalization of production assets. Some of the consequences are an ageing of the plants facing more stringent EHSQ regulations putting more pressure on this key industrial area. At the same time a lot of new investments happened in new markets and in particular in Asia to accompany the demand growth of a new consuming power.
The second shift is the change of perception of this industry. In the past, chemistry was perceived as innovative, modern and clearly oriented towards the future. Today this perception has slightly changed among the public with more negative associations related to pollution and health concerns. However the reality is that this industry is also working on such issues and is finding some solutions for sustainable development through many initiatives among them clean energy / energy saving, recycling, the circular economy and biodegradable products. The company that I represent – Evonik – is also contributing to improve our lives and bring into the market such sustainable greener solutions.
In order to continue on this path we need to strengthen the relationship between the industry, the institutes / universities and the students from the Grandes Ecoles and universities who will manage to face those challenges and find solutions for the wellbeing of society. Moreover this group having more knowledge of the challenges has also the duty and responsibility to also communicate and educate other citizens on how their consumption patterns impact the environment and in this field there is a lot of work despite the broad access to education. The paradox in which we live is that the younger generation wants to have more freedom through communication and transportation which create new needs and consume a lot of resources.
Although the chemical industry is suffering from an image which is not as attractive as the IT or Digital industries, it will remain an essential part of the future solutions to develop new drugs, new material and more energy efficient devices.
You are part of the solution and I wish you all an excellent day, with many fruitful exchanges.
For the Forum Horizon Chimie 2019