CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — Community demands for decreases in greenhouse gas emissions will provide opportunities for Australia's plastics industry, said Nicole Williams, former chief executive officer of the Melbourne-based Plastics & Chemical Industries Association Inc.
Williams left the Pacia trade group in November; however, she has not been replaced yet. She spoke recently on the association's behalf at a Royal Australian Chemical Institute Inc. convention in Canberra.
"In the 21st century, it may be that carbon quotas, not supply and demand, will be a significant driver of the value of assets. For example, cement is high-energy material, so its use in building will come under scrutiny — an opportunity for PVC, polyurethane and polycarbonate producers to show their wares," she said.
Plastics manufacturers also have an opportunity to develop new polymers for roofing, insulation and windows, Williams said.
Williams said that, to take advantage of the opportunities, the plastics industry has to "reinvent itself."
"The future of the plastics industry, in common with most others, will come to be contingent on community acceptance. Business decisions can't be made in a vacuum, within the walls of a head office or the research lab," she said.
Williams said decisions will be made in consultation with stakeholders, such as communities.
"The community is demanding genuine openness, a warts-and-all approach. This is a paradigm shift of enormous magnitude. Their focus can shift voluntarily or involuntarily, but shift it will," she said.