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Chemicals industry trumpets its role in world economy

Mar 11. 2019
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By The Nation

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The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) has released an analysis of the chemical industry’s contributions to the global economy, coinciding with the start of the Fourth United Nations Environment Assembly. 

“The Global Chemical Industry: Catalysing Growth and Addressing Our World’s Sustainability Challenges” says the industry “touches nearly every good-producing sector, making an estimated $5.7-trillion contribution to world gross domestic product (GDP) through direct, indirect and induced impacts, equivalent to seven per cent of global GDP”.

It supports 120 million jobs worldwide, the report says.

“The innovations developed and produced by the chemical industry’s longstanding presence worldwide have helped turn the tide of human history,” said Cal Dooley, ICCA council secretary and president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council. 

“Over time, chemical manufacturers have become an integral part of the global economy and a critical enabler of technologies that improve people’s lives around the globe.

“This report makes clear that the chemical industry is an irreplaceable contributor to global GDP, a source of skilled employment opportunities and a major enabler of progress in the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable development as reflected in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.” 

The largest contributor to GDP and jobs is the Asia-Pacific chemical industry, generating 45 per cent of the industry’s total annual economic value and 69 per cent of all jobs supported. 

Europe made the next most important contribution ($1.3 trillion total GDP contribution, 19 million jobs supported) followed by North America ($866 billion, six million jobs).

“This new analysis underscores the essential role that the chemical industry plays in driving economic growth and creating opportunity for millions of people around the world, but the chemical industry's impact goes beyond economic value,” said Marco Mensink, director general of European Chemical Industry. 

“Working in partnership with United Nations Environment through the Strategic Approach to Chemicals Management, we are deeply committed to building capacity to safely manage chemicals through their production, transport, use and disposal, and have held over 230 workshops in 45 countries.”

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