Mexico City — Mexico's plastics industry association has come out of its shell, taking high-profile stands on issues including NAFTA and product bans.
Founded in 1961, the Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico AC, known as Anipac, in the past often appeared to have little interest in projecting a positive image to the general public. One prominent detractor once described the association as little more than a social club.
But this year, Mexico City-based Anipac is at NPE2018 in the west hall lobby with a new energy.
The change happened over the past two years. That's the time Juan Antonio Hernández León has been Anipac's president. He's taken Anipac by the scruff of the neck and shaken it into action. It's also the time Jaime Cámara has presided over Anipac's communications efforts.
During an April 12 Anipac general assembly speech, Hernández explained in detail how Cámara and his team have turned the spotlight on Anipac after years in the wilderness.
"Thanks to the communications commission, presided over by Jaime Cámara, [Anipac] has had a notable impact on the news media, not only in specialized trade publications, but also in the print and electronic news media, both national and international, and on social networks," Hernández told members.
One of the most important changes made was to Anipac's website, he said.
"We went from being Anipac.com to Anipac.org, the idea being to institutionalize the association on the web. At the same time, we redesigned our website to make it more accessible and user-friendly, thus improving our communications with members and with the public in general.
On Facebook, the main Anipac page now has nearly 5,000 friends, more than 2,000 more from last year. A separate Facebook news profile has more than 1,500 followers, about double what it had last year. Both accounts are frequently updated.
Hernández said Anipac's Twitter accounts currently we have 565 followers, and the group has a growing presence on YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram.
With help from media agency Media PR, the association has been frequently mentioned in the news media, "helping to keep the association in the public eye and strengthening its image and that of the plastics sector within the international and local news media," Hernández said.
Story topics included recycling and raw materials forums, as well as stories about the plastics industry's prospects, he said.
"But what most caught the eye was the dissemination of Anipac's position with regard to the renegotiation of NAFTA and to the introduction of regulations and bans covering plastics, not only in our own country but across the world," he said.
"I'd like to say how much I appreciate the support and coverage that every one of the specialized news media organizations has given us, which has had an effect on public opinion and informed Anipac members and the industry as a whole about what's going on in the industry. The news media are an important part of our association."
Other measures mentioned by Hernández include:
• A weekly bulletin called Anipac Informa, which was redesigned and relaunched in the past year.
• A microsite launched exclusively for members that contains information, statistics, reports about Anipac events, news releases and other matters of interest.
• A website open to both members and the public, www.responsabilidad.anipac.com, that focuses on plastics and sustainability.
• With the aim of counteracting campaigns that aim to misinform the public about plastics, infographics that have been organized by Anipac.
• An institutional video made by Anipac that talks about the association and what it stands for.
Cámara said plastics do have an image problem.
"We cannot avoid it," he said in Spanish, "and pressure against plastics will continue to grow."
"Real, long-lasting action" in the handling of plastics is required by the plastics industry, by governments and society as a whole, he said.