Pioneering work in the German Coatings and Printing Inks Industry Association (VdL)
With a membership of over 200 companies, the association has become a voice of the industry, representing the economic and socio-political interests of German paint-makers vis-à-vis other sectors of the economy, policymakers, public authorities, the scientific community and the media. In this way, the VdL has an impact on legislation in the EU and in Germany.
On the occasion of Nordmann’s acceptance into the VdL, Nordmann News spoke with the VdL’s attorney and Head of Communications (Alexander Schneider), as well as Nordmann’s Business Manager Coatings & Inks (Peter Kuchenbrod), about current developments, expectations and perspectives.
Nordmann was accepted into the VdL in November and is one of the few members that is not a manufacturing company. What motivated Nordmann to join the association?
Kuchenbrod: First of all, thank you to Mr. Schneider for this conversation and to Mr. Maier, Mr. Kanert and the VdL executive board for supporting Nordmann’s admission to the VdL. We are extremeley pleased about it and the win-win situation that has been created for both parties. On the one hand, Nordmann can share with the VdL its expertise and input on industry developments from 111 years of successful business; but unlike a manufacturer of a specific raw materials, Nordmann looks at challenges from a different perspective and searches for multidimensional approaches that offer the best solutions. This allows us to bring innovative technologies into the conversation that provide many benefits to the coatings industry.
In return, the VdL provides us with access to exceptionally clear industry data and reliable information on new trends and regulations in the coatings and printing inks industry that we can use for our business strategies. For us as a distributor of often very specialized raw materials, it is essential to establish and consolidate an excellent network in our customer markets. VdL meetings give us the opportunity to interact with decision-makers in our industry and to maintain these business relationships. Profitable partnerships are a mainstay of Nordmann’s corporate direction. We already look forward to our first annual VdL conference next year.
Nordmann is a distribution company. So far, nearly all VdL members are producers. How does it benefit the VdL to have Nordmann as a member of the association?
Schneider: We’re sincerely happy to have Nordmann in our “paint family”! Even distributors and service providers can be involved in our association. Our committees and work groups create opportunities for dialogue and for contributing expertise, and what the association thrives on is networking and exchange. We embrace any kind of cooperation, even between companies of different sizes, within the VdL. Working on positions and statements together helps to define the interests of the paint industry and make them known throughout Europe.
What objectives do the VdL and Nordmann share when it comes to a profitable partnership?
Kuchenbrod: As in many industries, sustainability is a major issue of our time – and, in my view, coatings are inherently sustainable. A coating as fine as a human hair, for example, can protect a car from corrosion for 20 years. This extends a vehicle’s service life dramatically, and it also looks good! More and more these days, too, we can change how coatings are formulated – basing them on renewable or even recycled raw materials instead of petrochemicals. We support efforts like these wherever we can, and our ideas can reach a wider audience through the VdL.
Schneider: One of the VdL’s main priorities is to set an effective course for the sustainable economic transformation of the coatings and printing inks industry. It is very fitting then that the issue of sustainability has become one of Nordmann’s business maxims and strategic focal points – meaning that Nordmann and the VdL can both support one another. As part of our “Vision 2025” strategy, the VdL is committed to the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the European Green Deal and the UN Global Compact.
After an enforced three-year hiatus, the ECS is opening its doors again in 2023. What trends and innovations can visitors look forward to seeing?
Kuchenbrod: Even though the ECS is usually a very fast-paced event, it will be an exciting thing to finally meet customers, representatives and suppliers in person again after In November 2022, Nordmann became one of the first distribution companies to be represented in the German Paint and Printing Ink Association e.V. (VdL). With a membership of over 200 companies, the association has become a voice of the industry, representing the economic and socio-political interests of German paint-makers vis-à-vis other sectors of the economy, policymakers, public authorities, the scientific community and the media. In this way, the VdL has an impact on legislation in the EU and in Germany. three years. After all, the ECS is not purely a sales event but instead a broad-scale forum for people to meet and generate ideas. This leads to the conclusion that there will certainly be many ideas on the subject of sustainability at the ECS as well. Concrete product ideas and examples are usually only revealed “on site” - so until then it remains exciting! I am very much looking forward to the trade fair - for me, certainly one of the highlights of 2023.
The crises we’ve seen in recent years have prompted laboratories in the raw materials industry, as well as in the coatings and printing inks industries, to focus their efforts on finding alternative sources of raw materials. For this reason, there is certain to be a lot of discussion on the subject of sustainability at the ECS. Specific product ideas and details are usually only revealed on-site, so until then we’ll have to wait and see! I know that I’m already very excited about the fair; for me, it’s sure to be one of the highlights of 2023.