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Evolving Trends in the Chemical Distribution Industry

Change is a constant in the chemical distribution industry, and our members have experienced many new and evolving trends over the last few decades. In the early days, chemical distribution was primarily transactional, focusing on supplying regional customers with base chemicals, solvents, and pigments to fulfill orders. Today, we operate in a global economy, and the landscape of offerings has changed. Today, chemical distribution professionals are taking steps to improve and evolve their businesses by being stewards of sustainability, incorporating cutting-edge technologies into day-to-day operations, and providing greater value-added services.


As leaders of the $27 billion chemical industry, members of the Alliance for Chemical Distribution (ACD) uphold the highest standards of regulatory compliance and safety. Every facet of our industry is being tasked with the challenge of making its operations sustainable. Our customers look to the industry to ensure their products are functional, consistent, high-performing, and sustainable.

ACD members are rising to this challenge by completing ACD Responsible Distribution™ , which formalized its new sustainability code last year. This new code provides ACD members of all sizes with a tangible framework around corporate social responsibility, environment, water and energy, recycling, and repackaging.

Beyond these requirements, our members are incorporating renewable energy into their usage mix, decreasing energy and water usage, increasing fleet fuel efficiency, and repurposing or minimizing waste. This ongoing progress reflects our objectives of delivering a better future.

Technological Advancements

As our world becomes more interconnected, the chemical distribution industry must learn to adapt to changing technologies to maintain a competitive edge. The first step is to recognize key market trends and respond to customer needs through innovative technologies.

For example, currently, chemical distribution companies are determining the impact of implementing artificial intelligence (AI) into their business models. By adopting the latest technology, we can enhance the products and services our industry provides.

Providing Greater Value-Added Services

Over time, the chemical distribution industry expanded its offerings as market and consumer trends changed. The last few decades have seen an expansion in consumption across the board. In evolving and growing with this expansion, the chemical distribution industry increased its market size by supplementing commodity chemical distribution with specialty chemical services and distribution that help address the specific needs of customers.

Today, our members fill the roles of blending specialists, tollers, marketers, warehousers, specialty manufacturers, and more. These various business functions, and the specialized expertise provided, are a result of our industry responding to the evolving needs of our customers.

Our supply chain partners not only rely on chemical distribution professionals to process, blend, and formulate some of these critical materials for their business, but they also trust the logistical expertise and technical background that is required to deliver these products safely and efficiently.

Value-added and solutions-oriented services that adopt sustainability initiatives and the latest technological advancements set the chemical distribution industry apart. As the industry has grown and diversified, ACD members must continue to respond to market trends and listen to the ever-evolving needs of our customer. The flexibility and willingness of our members to evolve with the industry will undoubtedly open more opportunities in the years to come.

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