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Outgoing PVC veteran sees progress, need for more work

After eight years with the European Council for Vinyl Manufacturers (ECVM), including the last six with Vinyl 2010, the voluntary sustainability program established by Europe’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) industry, Martyn Griffiths is leaving as communications manager at the end of August to take the role of communications and public affairs director for the Confederation of European Paper Industries.
Griffiths’ voice was often the first on record to counter anti-PVC campaigns run by Greenpeace and other groups during the years 1998-2001, when PVC often found itself the target of bad—though sometimes false—publicity. Griffiths recalls being brought in to ECVM because of his experience in crisis management, a talent he was able to use more than he may have liked. But now, he says, “The industry’s on a much firmer footing,” and has learned it needs to offer more information pro-actively to legislators, mass media, and consumers.
He highlights other changes in the industry, among them the growing importance of sustainability. “Sustainability is something the industry now is living with daily,” he notes, and says the ECVM already is in talks with its members, who fill the entire PVC supply chain, to develop new voluntary sustainability goals beyond those of Vinyl 2010.
Also in the works is a drive to expand Vinyl 2010 to include the more recent European Union (EU) member states, and to expand the initiative to unite the PVC industry in a global, homogenous approach to sustainability.
Going forward, Griffiths thinks the industry needs to focus more attention on where future supply will be, and ensure high sustainability standards are met in these developing countries. “We’ve a lot to work on,” he notes, citing acetylene production facilities in developing countries as possible sore points. Griffiths’ successor, who starts work at the ECVM this month, is Chris Welton, who comes to the trade group from one of its member firms, Hydro Polymers Ltd.—[email protected]
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