Jorge Buckup, President – Latin America,

Univar Solutions

"Global supply chain disruptions resulted in significant product shortages. However, this also presented opportunities for those companies that were prepared and had inventory like Univar Solutions to be able to supply the robust demand that has reached pre-pandemic levels."

Which countries, markets and products in Latin America have performed well for Univar Solutions in 2021?

During the pandemic all our units in the region continued operating without interruption and we made our number one priority to keep our employees safe and healthy. From a business perspective, Univar Solutions’ evolution over the past 12 months has seen the company move from uncertainty and crisis management back in Q2 2020 to supplying increased demands for chemical products to essential markets. Univar Solutions operates in markets where demand has remained solid because the products are essential to people, helping communities to stay healthy, fed, clean, and safe.

Global supply chain disruptions, such as the one caused by the Texas Freeze, resulted in significant product shortages. However, this also presented opportunities for those companies that were prepared and had inventory like Univar Solutions to be able to supply the robust demand that has reached pre-pandemic levels. Some of the products driving demand are ethanol, solvents, raw materials for coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers (CASE) applications, and surfactants.

What were the main findings from Univar Solutions’ Sustainability Report released in June this year, including the introduction of a new set of global sustainability goals to 2025 and beyond?

Sustainability is an integral part of Univar Solutions’ business, and we previously had set up goals which we are on track to achieve by the end of 2021. As a result, we have identified new goals for 2025 and beyond, which are more challenging and aggressive to address environmental impacts. We are increasing our efforts to improve and implement technologies and processes to support a journey towards a net zero carbon footprint by 2025.

In the chemical industry, which occasionally involves handling hazardous or sensitive material, safety is of paramount importance. Therefore, we continue to drive technology and processes to improve the safety of our employees, suppliers, and customers. Furthermore, we have the aim to use resources in such a fashion that promotes a circular economy and operational excellence. We are also focused on sustainable sourcing and are trying to extend this across the entire supply chain.

Another important topic covered in Univar Solutions’ sustainability report is diversity and inclusion. We have defined goals to drive actions to ensure our employees largely represent the population where we do business and are included in providing their knowledge, experiences and skills for our company strategies and everyone’s professional development. We are very pleased with the progress made in Latam thus far. We have invested in education and have made significant progress in building networks that support minorities and groups that require further inclusion. As a result, Univar Solutions has been recognized and received certifications for its work done around driving equity in the workplace.

Can you explain Univar Solutions’ digital strategy, and give examples of how technology is improving the relationship between supplier and client?

Digitization has long been part of Univar Solutions’ strategy, but this area has been accelerated by the pandemic. We have enhanced the and platforms to improve the customer experience, reach new markets and customers, and accelerate growth. These platforms have opened up more ways for buyers to search, source, and self-serve on the products they need at the time that best suits them. Univar Solutions’ digital tools include access to our catalog of over 17,000 products, with direct access to a portfolio of chemical and ingredient products, a product and formulation finder to help accelerate the product development process, industry-focused content to help users reduce the total cost of operations or meet the latest regulatory requirements, and market reach that can help accelerate sales growth through industry-leading demand generation programs.

What are the key themes you see driving Univar's focus in the chemical industry for the coming years?

Sustainability will continue to be a central theme influencing all industries, including the chemical sector, moving forward. Univar Solutions’ actions and strategies will be driven by sustainability, innovation through our Solution Centers, increased digitization, and a more diverse and inclusive team, aligned with our goal to improving the quality of life through the products, expertise, and relationships that serve the world’s most essential industries.