UKLA President’s Report

In these turbulent times it seems constant change is now the new normal.

Today companies around the world continue to deal with the impact of coronavirus, the aftermath of the American Presidential election, and the end of regulatory alignment between the UK and European Union.

At the same time our industry faces the phasing out of the internal combustion engine in the automotive sector and an increasingly sceptical society wary of the benefits that petrochemicals, such as hydrocarbon- based lubricants, can provide.

In my last report I spoke about the role sustainability plays in the sector and the development of innovative new products as an alternative to traditional hydrocarbon-based lubricants.

However there is more to a sustainable industry than simply the products we provide our end users.

Sustainability strikes at the very heart of our industry, from the customers we serve, the energy we consume throughout the supply chain, our own carbon footprint, as well as the structure of industry and even that of society.

In future we have to embrace sustainability as a catalyst for change, a spur to innovation, and a vehicle for economic growth by embracing new technologies, enhancing customer experiences through digitisation, and improving the well-being of society that values the services we offer.

That is why I am making ‘Sustainability’ the theme of my Presidential year. As Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever and latterly CEO of Sustainability Leaders once said, ‘we cannot choose between (economic) growth and sustainability - we must have both’.

Darren Frogson, UKLA President

UEIL President’s Report

On 29 October UEIL held its first virtual networking event with the theme “UEIL: Our contribution to Europe’s sustainable future”. We covered topics such as the impact of Covid-19 on the European lubricant industry and the way forward, key highlights on the EU agenda, as well as UEIL’s response to EU regulatory environment and industry challenges.

It was a new experience for us, with many new things to think about: from developing a programme that would be relevant for an audience that was in parts different from our usual Congress, to adapting the timing for presentations to a virtual event format; from making sure there would be no technical problems, to fostering interactivity and participation during the event.

We were extremely pleased by the high turnout, welcoming nearly 150 participants, and by the high-level engagement during the discussion groups, which touched on some very interesting points.

Firstly, the European lubricant industry is resilient, and we are confident that we can navigate the storm


and emerge stronger and wiser. Secondly, companies still believe in their long-term strategies and keep moving forward in that direction – whilst possibly slowing down the pace, if necessary. Third, the European lubricant industry is committed to a sustainable growth and is passionate about creating value for European society and economies, while taking responsibility for the impact we have. Last but not least, it was valuable to reflect with peers on the impact that limited social contacts have on us at a professional and a personal level, and I realised how beneficial it was for me to spend time discussing with a group of professionals in the industry.

On a personal level, I found the discussions extremely inspiring and I would like to thank everybody for joining and sharing their experience.

With my warmest wishes for a safe and profitable autumn.

Valentina Serra-Holm, UEIL President

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