This year, during National Chemistry Week, we’re reminded just how much sticking with chemistry is keeping us together, while apart. For NACD and our members, we have always known the incredible power and impact that chemistry has on our daily lives, but even I have been blown away this year observing how critical our industry is to the vitality of America’s supply chain and to our ability to persevere in the midst of a global pandemic.
The chemical distribution industry was designated as ‘essential’ at the beginning of the pandemic, and with more than 70% of NACD’s chemical distributor members supporting the detergents, surfactants, emulsifiers, and wetting agents industry, chemical distributors are providing a lifeline to frontline workers ensuring sanitation and cleaning companies across the nation continue to receive much-needed chemical goods. Sterilizers needed for medical equipment, hand sanitizer, and even personal protective equipment for first responders also depend on chemistry and are brought to life by chemical distributors across the country.
We also have chemistry to thank for many of the modern conveniences that keep us connected when we can’t be together in person. Teleconference platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams that enable remote working are a great example, and meeting platforms that allow us to gather, learn, and network virtually. According to a survey of U.S. employers in May, 22% of those surveyed expected to see their workforce continue working from home even after the pandemic (up from 7% in 2019).
If chemistry is the essential glue keeping us connected and protected during the pandemic, then chemical distribution is its vehicle to consumers and the key to spurring America’s economic recovery. Last year, NACD member companies safely delivered chemical shipments every 6.5 seconds, providing needed products for the energy sector, water treatment, food supply, pharmaceuticals, and much more. The industry is a significant economic engine for our country, accounting for nearly $20 billion in total economic output and more than 80,000 jobs.
But it’s not just about jobs. People cannot work and make ends meet if they are sick. Sticking with chemistry is quite literally a matter of life and death. Our economy will not rebound without a COVID-19 vaccine or cure, and vaccines and groundbreaking treatments work as a result of innovations in biotechnology and chemistry.
Typically, when there’s an opportunity to blog about this topic, we have a lot of fun with the NCW theme of the year and are able to bring lighthearted energy around all the ways chemistry affects the way we live. But this year feels different. It’s an unprecedented and challenging time for the world, but we are inspired by the innovations made possible by sticking with chemistry and look forward to working with our suppliers, our customers, our lawmakers, and our employees to continue to contribute to our country’s eventual recovery. All of us at NACD are proud of our industry’s role in safely and responsibly bringing chemistry to market.