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These measures must be appropriate to the needs of the industry if they are to be wholeheartedly adopted by the sector in Europe and I hope the rest of the World. The danger if the industry does not lead itself on sustainability measures and activities is the risk that measures are imposed upon the sector by an external body such as Government and other regulators.

If this happens then we become subject to external controls that might not be wholly appropriate or relevant to our businesses. Different national regulators could impose different sustainability measures depending on what they saw as the national priority. Perhaps it would be raw material resource efficiency, or the reduction in energy consumption expended during the production process. The answer would be that it depends on what the regulator saw as the key concern and this in itself is not certain.

Different regulators imposing different metrics of sustainability on our industry in different countries throughout Europe will make these measures difficult to implement, and difficult to track across borders with which to make meaningful comparisons between both different companies and different countries. In my mind this would make comparisons perhaps unworkable.

This must not be allowed to happen and the industry must take the lead to ensure this does not happen.

If our industry is truly global and integrated as I believe it is, then many companies operating in the sector will trade across borders, secure their supplies across borders and work with distributors across borders. An integrated set of sustainability metrics that apply consistently to different companies operating in different European countries therefore makes absolute sense.

This is why the European Association of the Lubricants Industry, UEIL, invited me to form and lead on on a pan-European initiative supported by their Board, which will look to develop such measures. My work as Vice-President of Fuchs for both Sustainability & Global Competitive Intelligence has included raising the profile and promoting the concept of sustainability throughout our industry as well as striving to improve the sustainability of Fuchs, initially through a reduction in resources that are expended during the production process.


However, there is more to sustainability than simply the use of raw materials and resources. Any business cannot be sustainable without sustainable products. This is an area of sustainability I hope that we will look into under the UEIL Sustainability Task Force, which will later turn into a Sustainability Committee of UEIL. What makes for sustainable products?

Can only Environmentally-acceptable lubricants be sustainable? What about the use of Ecolabel, how does this support sustainability? How does the European lubricants industry respond to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have been adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly along with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015?

How can we contribute to the long-term decarbonisation strategy for 2050, which the European Commission published at the end of November 2018?

Nick Smith of Eleven Recruitment has also recently partnered with the United Kingdom Lubricants Association to look at the future skills needs facing the industry in 2030. On one hand we have an ageing workforce which needs to be replaced over the next decade. On the other we have too few graduates leaving university with degrees in science, engineering or chemistry throughout Western Europe and competition for these graduates is intense throughout many industries. So how will skills and capabilities of employees support a sustainable business and hence contribute to a sustainable industry?

Skills, products, raw materials and energy use are some of the issues we will be debating at UEIL as we develop our thinking about sustainability and I would encourage you to join the debate by staying in touch with UEIL through its regular member newsletters, following its social media presence such as Twitter or simply staying up to date through the pages of LUBE magazine, where we will be making frequent reports of our progress towards a more sustainable business and industry.


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