The American Plastics Council and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association have announced a formal alliance that will have them share key information and work more closely on public policy. Officials at both trade groups said the agreement is not likely to dramatically change how they operate and said it really just formalizes cooperation between the organizations.
"What is happening is that environmental health and safety issues transcend borders, and it is important that the industry not only in a country but on a global basis respond to these attacks," said CPIA President Pierre Dubois. "If the industry is not well coordinated, sometimes you can send the wrong message."
Both groups said they are open to discussing broadening the agreement to include the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. The agreement was officially signed in September but the groups held off announcing it until Feb. 18 because they did not want to "muddy the waters" while SPI was looking for a new president, Dubois said.
APC and CPIA will work together on North American resin statistics, provide free access to each other's data and publications and establish a crisis response team, an idea that Mississauga, Ontario-based CPIA developed.
APC, in turn, shared a program it developed with the Society of Plastics Engineers to use when industry officials speak to the general public about plastics.
"This is an idea that is still sort of in its real early stages," said Jean Vallianos, manager of plastics industry statistics at APC. "I suspect long term we'll look to see areas of reporting where we could cooperate."
Ron Yocum, president of Arlington, Va.-based APC, said the crisis management group is only envisioned for major threats to the entire industry, and not resin-specific issues like phthalates, he said.
Dubois said he could see the agreement broadening to include trade, industry competitiveness or work force issues. CPIA has similar agreements with other plastics groups in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and France and is looking at other countries.
Yocum said he was not contemplating similar agreements with other parts of the world. Europe, for example, has different issues, he said.