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e-Business in the chemical, rubber and plastics industrysecond largest US chemical company, announced in late 2007 that it expected betterresults fort he fourth quarter of 2007 than predicted by analysts; the reason was thatsales prices had increased more than raw materials and energy costs. 54 In other words,the company was able to pass on the higher costs for supplies to its customers.The European chemical industry is therefore committed to take an active role in the EUEnergy Action Plan, which specifies the goal to save 20% of energy by 2020 andmeasures to achieve this within 10 priority actions. 55 It supports the emphasis on thecentral role of market mechanisms to achieve cost-effective emission reductions, but isconcerned about unjustified transfer of resources from energy consumers to producers.Notwithstanding the still huge demand for energy in chemical, rubber and plasticsproduction, CEFIC points out that the European chemicals industry has reduced energyconsumption per unit of production by almost 40% from 1990 to 2004. In the same time, itdecreased emissions of greenhouse gases by more than 20% despite overall chemicalsproduction increased by more than 50%. 56 This demonstrates the potential oftechnological progress for energy efficiency. The industry also stresses that its activitiesin research and development and the resulting innovative products are critical to addressthe global energy challenge.An important strategic issue for the future that goes far beyond the cost aspect, notablyfor the chemical and plastics industry, is to prepare for shortages in oil supply. While anyforecasts in this area are highly controversial, many experts expect that oil will be in shortsupply by 2030 latest. By then, oil extraction will have peaked and demand will haveoutgrown supplies. This will have enormous implications for the CRP industries, for whomcrude oil is a major raw material; however, there are no obvious links with ICT, thereforethe issue is not discussed in this study.Protection of Intellectual Property RightsAs in several manufacturing industries (notably in the consumer goods industry),European companies in the CRP industry have difficulties in protecting their intellectualproperty rights. For example, tyre producers of high quality products with a recognisedbrand report a rapid increase in counterfeiting. In addition to the economic damage,counterfeited tyres, which are normally of lower quality, pose a security risk.While counterfeit and pirated products are being produced and consumed in virtually allcountries, Asia (and notably China) is emerging as the single largest source (cf. OECD2007 57 ), certainly in the rubber and plastics industries.Information technology is often mentioned as a potential tool in support of combatingcounterfeiting and product piracy. For example, RFID technology can be used for trackingindividual items through the supply chain, thus ensuring the authenticity of objects, and inthis respect representing a protection against counterfeiting. However, RFID is not yetwidely deployed and rarely used at the item level (usage currently focuses on pallet54555657Cf. Chemical news-flash by FAZ Institut, 15 January 2008.Communication from the Commission: Action Plan for Energy Efficiency: Realising thePotential. COM(2006)545 final, 19 October 2006.CEFIC news release: "European chemical industry to take active role in EU Energy Action Plan.International commitment to emission reductions encouraged", Brussels, 9 April 2007.For a brief abstract of this report, see www.oecdobserver.org/news/fullstory.php/aid/2278/.33

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