Record number of Responsible Care awards showcase chemical industry’s essential role in the fight against COVID-19

Brussels, 13 October 2020 – Today, 16 chemical companies and federations across Europe were awarded for their global response to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 European Responsible Care awards “Caring in COVID-19 Times” recognised company efforts to keep critical supply chains running, to protect workers and the workplace and to support our communities in the unprecedented times.

Marco Mensink, Cefic Director General praised the winners saying :

We are showcasing the amazing work that companies and federation across Europe have done during the COVID-19 pandemic; keeping our society running, keeping the industry running and bringing solutions that matter when the situations have been really difficult”.

Marco Mensink, Cefic Director General

Winning companies and federation showcased their quick action to reshape production lines; integrating digitalised processes to meet new demands for critical products, and making them accessible to health, medical and elderly care providers. To protect workers, companies rolled out impressive return to work plans, trained employees, and integrated broad health and safety measures to protect their employees, their families and neighbouring communities.

“Today you showed us again how the creativity of the chemical industry is bringing more added value for society than ever before. Our sector is a solution provider for other industries, and for society at large. It has been again reaffirmed in the European Commission’s Green Deal that the chemical industry is an essential link in the value creation chain for Europe’s economy”

Said Vincent De Cuyper, Member of the Executive Committee at Solvay S.A and Chair of Cefic’s Programme Council for Health, Safety and Environment, Responsible Care and Supply Chains.

Since the beginning of the crisis, the European chemical industry’s top priority has been to ensure the health and safety of employees and to secure supplies of critical chemicals into medical, environmental and food supply chains amidst border closures and lockdown measures. Key examples include providing biocides for disinfectants, non-woven fabrics for mouthmasks and supporting the European Commission’s work on green lanes and movement of workers.

Discover this year winners

Category 1: Upholding and Reshaping Production Lines

  • Chemi-Pharm AS for “Upholding and reshaping production process”, which used digital tools to stimulate processes and machines operations and for changing its production into three working-shifts instead of one. Read more on the Chemi-Pharm website.
  • Perstorp Group’s Perstorp Health Care Aid” for its rapid conversion of a new product line to manufacture sanitizers and to offer them to health care institutions at cost price across Sweden. Read more on the Perstorp website.
  • PKN ORLEN S.A for the “Launch of the hand sanitizer liquid production line”, it quickly converted its production line to produce liquid hand sanitizer with the aim of strengthening the sanitary safety of the country. 
  • Sekab BioFuels & Chemicals AB for the “Production of hand sanitizer and surface disinfection”; for shifting to produce and deliver hand sanitizer and surface disinfection to health, medical and elderly care, with the help of new value chain companies and in coordination with authorities. Read more on Sekab BioFuels & Chemicals AB.

Category 2: Protecting workplace and People

  • Covestro AG for the initiative “We are 1: especially in times of the pandemic” which used a broad range of health and safety measures, not only for employees but also for their families, neighbouring communities and partner companies. 
  • Dow Chemicals Europe SA for its “Dow COVID-19 program and Return to Workplace plan” which included an impressive return to work plan implemented in a structured way at all European manufacturing sites and offices, involving key stakeholders.  Its ongoing communication of best practices was also highlighted.
  • Grupo Juste for “Acting fast for the same goal: Together against COVID-19” for its quick actions taken to ensure the health and safety of the employees during working hours and outside of working hours too. Read more from Grupo Juste.
  • VCI for the “VCI Platform: Emergency Supply Disinfectants” a virtual marketplace platform to establish new supply chains in order to quickly supply disinfectants to medical and social facilities in Germany. Read more from VCI website.
  • SPECIAL COMMENDATION: Bracco Imaging spa: for “Bracco Taking Care” in COVID-19 Times” for its rapid response to protect, share information and train employees. It took actions like remote teaching in schools, preparing lunchboxes and offering donations. Read more from Bracco Imaging spa website.

Category 3: Supporting Communities

  • Bayer AG for its initiative “Against COVID-19 Stronger Together” which included an impressive global response to fight against COVID-19 using a five-pillar strategy; awareness, protection, mitigation, treatment and research.
  • Grupa Azoty Zaklady Azotowe Kedzierzyn S.A. for its “Support to fight against COVID-19” which included an impressive involvement of the local inhabitants to help improve safety and prevent the spread of the pandemic. Read more from Grupa Azoty Zaklady Azotowe Kedzierzyn S.A.
  • Grupo Juste for “Joining efforts, spreading commitment and saving time against COVID-19”; they modified production lines to manufacture hydroalcoholic gel, which was then donated to public and private bodies in coordination with authorities and other organisations. Read more from Grupo Juste.

Category 4: initiatives encompassing several categories

  • Arexons S.p.A. for the “Conversion of production plants to donate Hygiene detergent” which included a rapid switch in production lines to manufacture a new detergent product to help hospitals fight the virus.
  • Federchimica’s “Strategy and implementation plan to fight COVID-19 pandemic in Italy” which included impressive coordination with other business associations and partners to support in the fight against COVID-19. Through donations it supported the building of a care unit in a new Coronavirus hospital in Milan.
  • INEOS’ “#Handson Handgel Initiative” which included the building of new hand sanitiser plants and free deliveries to hospitals and front line medical and care services in Europe and the US. Read more from INEOS website.
  • “Seqens’ answer to face the global health crisis” which included quick mobilisation to fight against the COVID-19 crisis by adapting the product to market needs and by providing support to local communities, populations at risk and those in need by donating hydroalcoholic solution. Read more from Segens website.

The 2020 Responsible Care Award jury consists of the following people:

  • Simon Minett, Managing Director, Challoch Energy
  • Emma Argutyan, Director General of the European Chemical Employers Group, ECEG
  • Rasmus Valenko, Director Sustainability, Kemira OYJ (2019 RC Awards winner)

See Cefic’s interactive map which showcases further examples of industry efforts to support during the crisis.