in the 2015 gubernatorial election.
“I’m running for Governor, but I want to get
this done,” he assured the audience.
A Big Crowd
Appearances by key players such as Sen. Vitter
are one reason why the ACI 2014 Annual
Meeting & Industry Convention attracted nearly
900 attendees. According to chairman Catherine
Ehrenberger of Amway, ACI also now has more
member companies (138) than it did when it left
New York City more than a decade ago. Many
of these member companies were in attendance when three leading industry executives,
Joy Atkinson of Firmenich, Kevin Gallagher
of Croda and Michael Heinz of BASF, took the
stage to discuss the issues of the day with Lou
Dobbs of Fox Business Network. First question:
what are your biggest challenges?
For Atkinson, that means making sure that
the customers’ needs are getting met and that
her company is delivering on its promises. Part of
that, she noted, is helping consumers enjoy their day via flavors
“Fragrance has the ability to take consumers back to a special
moment or even a special person, like a grandparent,” she re-
minded the audience. “We are glad to be a part of that.”
For Gallagher, sustainability is the challenge of the day, but
not just the issue itself, it’s the very definition that can be so
“Sustainability is defined so differently by all of our custom-
ers,” he explained. “That’s why we joined the Carbon Disclosure
Heinz grimly, yet astutely, noted “what doesn’t grow, dies.”
With the global population expected to reach 8. 3 billion or 9
billion in the coming years, it will be a major challenge to meet
“Chemistry can help save the planet, but it can’t do it alone,”
he pointed out.“We need to grow correctly.”
From the Right
Throughout the presentation, Dobbs tried his best to turn the
discussion into a pro-business, anti-Government rant. But the
panelists wouldn’t have it. Atkinson noted that her company and
industry are working with the Environmental Protection Agency
through its Design for the Environment (DfE) program in an
effort to enlighten regulators and show them that household
and personal care products can have a minimal impact on the
When Dobbs insisted that regulations are rising and that
there’s a“war” going on over the environment, Gallagher quickly
returned the conversation back to reality.
“If it’s a ‘war’ it’s unfortunate, because the aims of industry
and government are aligned,” he noted. “We’ve embraced TSCA
reform. And many of our aims are basically the same.”
Heinz added that consumers have the right to transparency,
but insisted that credible regulations must be driven by science
and not emotion—something that is easier said than done in a
European Union with 28 member states, many of which have
very different opinions. He pointed out that nearly 40 years ago,
Monsanto created a very successful, problem-free biotechnol-
ogy program that has led to the development of many products,
none of which are available in Europe due to misguided efforts of
NGOs, as well as the industry’s poor PR efforts.
“Industry has done a poor job of educating people about the
benefits of chemistry,” he lamented.
That education, added Atkinson, must start in grade school,
which is why Firmenich is a proponent of science, technology,
engineering and math (STEM) programs to get school children
interested in these fields.
Gallagher also reminded the moderator that the rest of the
US is not as polarized on issues as much as those within the
Beltway would like to believe. He noted for example, that immigration reform is necessary to ensure that the population keeps
growing. When Dobbs added that the US birth rate has been declining since 2007, Heinz reminded all those in attendance that
the German birth rate peaked in 1964.
“Last year, we had more people leaving Germany than entering it,”he added.
A diverse, vibrant workforce, agreed Atkinson, is imperative
for a multinational company.
“We can’t be stuck in old ways. We must try new things and
Shell Chemical LP presented a check to Cleaning for a Reason for funds raised during the
Quack for a Reason charity duck race. From left: Lynn Frankenfield, Cleaning for a Reason;
ACI board member Rutger Beelaerts, Shell Chemical LP; Debbie Sardone,
Cleaning for a Reason; and Ernie Rosenberg, ACI president and CEO.