Noru Tsalic, AMI (Applied Market Information), the conference organisers, reminded of his message from the 2015 conference: fires continue to cause deaths and injuries in developed countries, with an even greater challenge in developing countries (60 000 fire deaths per year in India alone).
Increasing use of polymers and fibres in homes and offices, and increasing presence of miniaturised electronics, increases both the potential fire load and the risks. The flame retardant industry has been successful in proposing fire safety solutions with better health and environment profiles, and dialogue is effective with policy makers in developed countries to take decisions based on science.
Mr Tsalic therefore sees as two big challenges:
- Improve the image of flame retardants with consumers: move from fears about chemicals, to a positive understanding of the importance of fire safety. Make “Fire proof” a selling point, relating safety to quality and luxury.
- Develop and implement fire safety standards in developing countries
Already, there are increasing opportunities for flame retardants in developing countries: Western brands implement their global safety standards in all countries in which they sell, equipment manufacturers in Asia implement Western safety standards in order to be able to export, government prestige “showcase” projects often set best-of-class safety requirements, luxury brands (including upmarket housing and offices) generally also require demanding safety standards.
An increase in per capita spending on flame retardants from 0.7 to 1 US$ in developing countries (compared to over 2$ in Europe and over 4$ in North America) would generate 1.4 billion US$ market growth for flame retardants.