EDITOR INTERVIEW In conversation with...

Apu Gosalia, Vice President Global Intelligence and Chief Sustainability Officer at Fuchs Petrolub, who took over the Chair of the UEIL Sustainability Task Force (STF), discusses the framework for this important initiative and its future plans and aims.

How and why did the Sustainability Task Force come into operation and who are its members? The Sustainability Task Force was set up as a direct call to action at the 2018 UEIL Congress, asking the industry to define, develop and measure ‘sustainability’ across the European Lubricants Industry. The task force represents the entire lubricants industry supply chain: additive suppliers, base oil producers and suppliers, lube blenders and customers; it comprises 15 member companies who are EU head-quartered from the following organisations: BASF, CRODA, EVONIK, LANXESS, NESTE, NYNAS, Q8, ITELYUM, FUCHS, BLASER, RS CLARE, CIPELIA, NOWAL CHIMICA, BOSCH and BMW.

What are your key objectives and what actions are in place to support your activities? 3-4 STF meetings were scheduled for the first year; our launch meeting took place in March and a second was held in Brussels in June. We redefined our aims and activities and 4 key Task Force objectives agreed: openness, shared presentations, trust and engagement. The willingness for collaboration across the industry has been encouraging and highlights a very positive indication of how our sector is taking ownership of a shared responsibility that addresses an urgent global issue. We have been allocated a budget and have the UEIL Secretariat services to call upon as we develop our strategy.

As a task force what authority do you have to implement your findings? For this first year we are working together as a ‘think tank’ which gives us the freedom to explore and outline the business case to meet our longer term objectives. With year one complete, we intend to form a fully-fledged committee with the formality and procedural structures that entails.

We know that individually, many companies are already taking steps and achieving good things to


improve sustainable practices. What we aim to do together is to present a business case to examine the economy, ecology and social value of what we are working towards. The ‘why, what and how to’, working towards key sustainable targets that are agreed upon, respected and adhered to by the entire lubricants supply chain.

You have said yourself “debate is great, but action is better” - what practical change will the STF be able to effect?

The ultimate goal as an advisory group is to foster unilateral engagement and commitment from within the industry, and ultimately to exert pressure that will shape future EU strategy. By creating a sustainability framework we will render an invaluable service for a cohesive, common element, measurable through KPIs, across the entire lube industry supply chain. This will be vitally important particularly for many smaller companies, who will benefit from a more coherent and synergistic approach already enjoyed by other larger organisations.

What next steps for the STF? We will present our first year’s report to delegates at the UEIL Congress in October. We will continue to inform and engage with the industry on our actions and activities and are keen to welcome more expert contributions from industry leaders, organisations and decision makers. Bodies including ATIEL, ACEA and UEIL are supportive of the task force and we look forward to working more closely together to achieve greater sustainability through industry harmonisation. To me it is crucial for the industry to understand that in the future: “No sustainability = no supply / No sustainability = no sales / no sustainability = no strategy / no sustainability = no success”.


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