In a change that the American Chemistry Council hopes will create a single, cohesive image for the association and its members, ACC is bringing together all its units - including those of the now-defunct American Plastics Council - under a single logo and a newly redesigned Web site.
The rebranding officially ends the five-year effort to keep their identities separate - a step that seemed inevitable when the highly visible `Plastics Make It Possible' advertising campaign was scrapped two years ago in favor of the Essential2 campaign that focuses on how chemistry makes life better for consumers through a multitude of products, including many made from plastics.
``This is one more step and a significant part of our major reorganization,'' said Jack Gerard, president and chief executive officer of the Arlington, Va., association.
``The real benefit is that our resources can be deployed for the betterment of all members'' rather than have duplicate efforts, Gerard said. ``We now have a leaner machine in advocacy and lobbying. We will be able to increase the effectiveness of all of our units while saving them money.''
ACC said the timing was appropriate as there has been a convergence of issues that impact both plastic and chemical companies.
``Energy security, energy efficiency, sustainability, chemical substance disclosure, the impact of REACH legislation, green buildings and health issues are going to require more attention of both chemical and plastics companies,'' said Rob Krebs, director of public affairs for the plastics division. ``Now we are all rowing in the same direction.''
First reported in Plastics News nearly two months ago, the move is effective Jan. 16 and includes changes in nomenclature that affect most units within the association, including the APC, which will become the plastics division of the ACC; the Polystyrene Packaging Council, which becomes the Plastics Food Service Packaging Group, and the EPS Resin Suppliers Council, which becomes the EPS Resin Suppliers Group.
Fewer than 15 staff members at ACC remain in plastics-specific positions compared to about 50 five years ago, when APC merged into ACC.
Other long-time ACC units also will switch names. For example, the Chlorine Council becomes the Chlorine chemistry division, and Chemstar is the chemical products and technology division.
``We looked at all the names, divisions and councils and decided that there was way too much confusion,'' said Stephen Gardner, ACC's managing director of communications. ``The name changes are the finishing touches on the restructuring announced [in December 2005],'' he said. ``To some extent, the rebranding is following on the heels of what we have already changed. We had to demonstrate the restructuring was working before we made the changes'' in branding.
As part of the rebranding, ACC is shrinking 37 logos to eight, retaining only logos such as Operation Clean Sweep and Responsible Care that don't ``compete'' with the identity of the ACC logo. It is also taking 77 separate Web sites and reducing them to 27 by the end of June, said Gardner, who pointed out that there will be plastics and chlorine links on every Web page as part of the redesign. The main Web site URL, www.americanchemistry.com, will not change, but the new design is scheduled to go live this week.
Gardner insisted that none of the changes will alter how the work is performed by any of the individual units.
``It hasn't changed reporting lines or responsibilities. They still will be working with the same constituents and grassroots stakeholders,'' he said.
Currently, ACC is advertising for a managing director of its plastics division, whose members, according to ACC, represent 80 percent of monomer and polymer production in the United States.
APC, founded in 1988 as the Council for Solid Waste Solutions, split from the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. in 1994 to promote the image of plastics and to address recycling and environmental issues.
``This is the completion of the merger with APC and represents the vision our members have had for years,'' Gardner said. ``It will allow us to have greater leverage with stakeholders and for our work on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures.''