At the beginning of March, when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Sekab, the Swedish Chemical and Cleantech company became aware of the fact that there was a great shortage of hand sanitisers in both Sweden and Europe. In less than two weeks, Sekab in Örnsköldsvik took action and converted its chemical production to enable the delivery of disinfectants to the health services and hospitals. This was brought to the attention of the European Chemical Industry Council, Cefic, and this week the council awarded Sekab with The European Responsible Care® Award 2020 – Caring In COVID-19 Times.
At Sekab, we have no history of manufacturing this type of product nor did we have a permit registered with the European Chemicals Agency allowing us to manufacture and sell disinfectants, but we all agreed that our healthcare should not have to worry about access to hand sanitisers and we really wanted to help out, says Communications Manager Kristina Nilsson.
Companies must be registered with the European Chemicals Agency ECHA and also in the Article 95 list pertaining to the EU Biocides Regulation to allow them to manufacture and sell hand sanitisers and disinfectants. Sekab was not registered, so we approached both politicians and the authorities to gain the required permission to be able to help. The Swedish Chemicals Agency acted exemplarily quickly and issued an exemption from applicable rules on account of Covid 19. This enabled Sekab to immediately change aspects of its production to include the production of disinfectants.
From 20 March, Sekab has produced and delivered 150,000 litres of disinfectant. In addition, and during the same period, Sekab has delivered 945,000 litres of pure ethanol to companies that also normally manufacture disinfectants but which during this period have had difficulty obtaining sufficient quantities of the raw material.
Sekab has received and continues to receive a huge number of requests, on a daily basis, for hand sanitiser and ethanol raw materials from around the world. Unfortunately, we have not been able to meet all these requests partly due to the availability of the ethanol raw material but also due to the complexity of delivering ethanol and products that contain ethanol to countries far beyond Sweden’s borders.
We are grateful that we were given the opportunity to be able to help out in such a difficult situation in our society. We are also proud of what we have achieved together in such a short time.
Moreover, we are impressed by what other chemical companies in Europe have been able to do to contribute so quickly and in a variety of ways to measures aimed at reducing the spread of the Corona virus. Together we are strong. Take a look at the film with all the winners of The European Responsible Care® Awards 2020 – Caring In COVID-19 Times.