If you believe this posts headline points to a vital matter that was successfully mastered, you are not mistaken. However, the issue at hand may be a bit different than you initially thought…

I am sure that in the course of our working lives we all reached agreements, reached conclusions, maybe learned how to operate a reach forklift – but did you know that Celanese has a ”REACH team”? If you heard of this team before, did you wonder how you ”do REACH”- and why? You can find out now – I would like to explain the important role that the Product Stewardship REACH team plays when partnering with the businesses to successfully manufacture and market our products.

REACH in this context actually has a lot to do with agreements and conclusions, though not too much with forklifts – REACH is the name of the EU’s chemical law. The main elements of the regulation are the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals, hence the name. (Though when you ask my team members, they might say it stands for “really exhausting activities causing hysteria”…) Since chemistry is what we do at Celanese, possible impacts of REACH need to be considered for all our businesses. Any chemical substance that physically appears in the European Union is potentially relevant. Products, raw materials, catalysts, and samples share equal obligations. Even the Nutrinova sweeteners and the Ticona polymer pellets are primarily chemistry when we apply the rules of REACH. Registration, currently the major activity for the Celanese experts, is systematically required for all chemical substances manufactured or imported in annual volumes above 1 tonne.

In Celanese we quickly realized that complying with this regulation ensures our ”License to Sell”. The EU introduced the concept “no data no market” – if you do not contribute to the cost and effort needed to generate the necessary data, you are not allowed to market your products.

Let me tell you that rocket science is nothing compared to the compilation of a registration dossier, nerves of steel and stocking up on chocolate have proven to be extremely useful. By the end of May Celanese successfully achieved the 2nd milestone for the REACH program. Registration dossiers were submitted on time and in full compliance across all of Celanese”s varied businesses ranging from our Chemicals business to Ticona, Acetate, and Nutrinova – though I can now admit that for some we were nervous for right up to the deadline. It is very likely that companies all over Europe shared such nervousness with the Celanese team …

Despite of what some had hoped in the early days of REACH, the regulation is here to stay. For the last registration deadline, about 100 substances requiring registration are already identified for all of Celanese’s businesses. In parallel, the E in REACH (Evaluation) is slowly gaining momentum, and the A (Authorisation) needs to be closely monitored. Actually, other countries are now also starting to embrace the concept, and Korea is close to finalizing their own version, K-REACH.

The Celanese REACH team ensures that all our EU businesses can continue their imports and manufacturing without any disruption caused by the chemical law. This year we made a tremendous effort to achieve this goal and succeeded. As global regulations continue to emerge and target REACH-type regulations, no doubt the team will have the same impact in other regions. Until now, you were not aware of the REACH team”s contribution to our successful operations – or were you?

Celanese’s REACH Team (from left to right) Agnes Konietzny, Gesine Fickel, Lonneke van Boxtel, Nikola Bitsch