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Ukraine, Pandemic, Climate Change: What Are the Priorities of the German Chemical Industry in Times of Crisis?

Results of the 38th CHEMonitor study now available

Basel, Mannheim, April 21, 2022 The Ukraine war and the debate about a gas embargo against Russia are hitting the German chemical industry at a time when it is already facing enormous challenges. Three quarters of the chemical managers surveyed rate the risks associated with the current situation as business-critical. The greatest concern are price increases for gas and electricity. Despite the current crisis, the German chemical industry is focusing on measures to shape the future rather than safeguard its existence.

These are the findings of the 38th CHEMonitor trend barometer, for which Innofact surveyed top managers in the German chemical industry on behalf of CAMELOT Management Consultants and the trade newspaper CHEManager. “The chemical industry is facing a dramatic challenge with out-of-control feedstock markets and logistics resources on the one hand and weakening sales markets on the other. Risk management for resilient value chains is the current imperative for any company,” says Dr. Josef Packowski, Managing Partner at CAMELOT.

For 75% of CHEMonitor participants, the current challenges are unusual and involve business-critical risks. “Chemical industry leaders must now develop predictive simulation scenarios, proactively quantify value chain risks, and provide decision support so they know today how to make supply chains resilient for the future – any future,” explains Josef Packowski.

Digital transformation poses the greatest challenge

Irrespective of the current uncertainty and the burden of high feedstock prices, chemical companies are presently facing many challenges that will have an impact in the short or medium term. Among these, chemical managers most frequently cited digital transformation (87%), followed by the ongoing pandemic (82%) and disruption of global supply chains (80%). Political crises (57%) were on the agenda of only one-third of respondents immediately before the start of the war; after February 24, the proportion rose to 96%.

When asked about their company’s focus over the next 12 months, more than 60% of the CHEMonitor participants said they wanted to drive digitalization, followed by entering new markets (56%) and securing supply chains (54%). “The Ukraine crisis could become the second accelerator for the digitalization of companies after the corona pandemic. The focus here is on both precaution and defense against cyber attacks, as well as on supporting short-term decision-making processes through increased transparency about relevant resources,“ says Dr. Jörg Schmid, study director at CAMELOT Management Consultants, commenting on the results of the current survey.

For the current CHEMonitor study, top managers in the German chemical industry were surveyed from mid-February to mid-March 2022. 60% of the respondents answered before the start of the war, the rest after. And yet, only a few results showed a high dependence on the time of the survey. The complete CHEMonitor results are available as a free download at www.camelot-mc.com.

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