The seventh meeting of the GPRA

March 12, 2009

The seventh meeting of the Global Phenolic Resins Association (GPRA) was held March 11 and 12 in Seoul, South Korea. The GPRA discussed many topics of current relevance to the phenolic resin producers, including: improving the standards of HSE of phenolic resin producers worldwide, a discussion about REACH and its impact on phenolic resin producers, a review of the 2008 accident at Kolon’s Gimcheon factory, and the economic outlook for 2009 and beyond.

The group focused on improving the Environmental, Health and Safety standards used to produce phenolic resins. Its current members continued to support the GPRA “Code of Industry Practice” and each member committed to documenting this commitment to the GPRA each year. In addition, the group decided to invite more members to join, even if their current EHS standards are not fully at the GPRA’s “Code” level, under the condition that the new members will move towards meeting these standards in a prescribed timeframe. This will improve the EHS performance of phenolic resin manufacturers worldwide. To facilitate this, the GPRA will offer reduced membership fees for first time attendees with fees increasing over time to the ordinary levels. The GPRA is a highly cost effective organization which allows proper meetings between industry representatives from around the globe. Membership in the GPRA provides excellent value to its members e.g. regarding national and international regulations, HSE improvements and global economy.

A key topic at each meeting is REACH including recommendations for actions GPRA members should consider to address this regulation. At this meeting, the group discussed the SIEFs and Consortia which are forming around phenolic resins. It is very important to phenolic resin producers to be included in the correct consortia which will determine how these products are registered under REACH. Membership in GPRA gives phenolic resin producers a mechanism to make sure they are in included in the process in an effective way.

The GPRA heard an excellent report on the details behind the accident in Kolon’s Gimcheon factory that occurred on March 1, 2008. This learning will help all GPRA members to understand the root causes and take preventive actions at their plants around the world. The remarkable rebuilding story of Kolon was also presented, showing a complete fully producing factory less than one year later. This new factory has several impressive new safety features, which the GPRA members are considering for their own plants.

The group also discussed the economic downturn that has influenced all phenolic resin producers. The major customers of GPRA members have suffered through this downturn, which then has lowered the demand for phenolic resins in the short term. The GPRA reviewed the different impact of the economic crisis by region. Although the data is limited, the view was that the North American and Asian regions, particularly China will recover at an earlier time than the rest of the world. The report from Russia also predicts a faster than average recovery.

The next meeting of the GPRA is scheduled for November 4 and 5 in Budapest, Hungary. The GPRA Chairmen are Dr. Joerg Talbiersky of UCP Chemicals, representing Europe, William Scheffer of SI Group, representing the Americas and Nuboro Yamawaki of Sumitomo Bakelite, representing Asia.

The Mission of the GPRA is: ‘To enhance the reputation of the global phenolic resins industry with all its stakeholders by highlighting the unique contribution offered to society by these resins and to foster safe management of phenolic resins throughout their lifecycle’

Further information may be found on the GPRA website at Questions or comments related to the GPRA may be sent to:

Dr. Nausch Unternehmensberatung GmbH
– Treuhandbuero –
Hallbergstrasse 5
D-40239 Duesseldorf
Tel.: +49-(0)-211-68 78 940
Fax: +49-(0)-211-68 78 935