ILMA Kicks Off Industrywide Ethics Initiative


More than a year after undertaking its ethics initiative, the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association has revised its Code of Ethics and has moved to the next step – creation of an inter-industry task force to develop a product-testing program to improve the quality level of lubricants.

“The purpose of the industry task force is to come together and develop methods to ‘raise the bar’ in the industry, to capitalize on the talents of all the industry groups and to develop a shared work plan to accomplish this raising of the bar, said Jim Taglia of Nor-Lakes Services Midwest, president of the Alexandria, Va. based association.

Earlier this month ILMA invited the American Petroleum Institute, the Washington, D.C. based trade association representing major oil companies, and the additive industrys principal trade group, the American Chemistry Council in Arlington, Va., to participate on the task force.

ACCs Petroleum Additives Panel, chaired by Andy Tugendhat of Chevron Oronite, announced yesterday that it will provide technical support to the ILMA – API inter trade association task force to explore development of a quality check program for the lubricants industry. ACC will provide two liaison representatives to the task force to serve in a technical advisory capacity.

APIs Lubricants Committee accepted membership on the task force on May 10 and has also appointed two representatives. Staff of each trade association will provide technical and administrative support.

The first meeting will be held in July, and ILMA states that the group will discuss the development of policy and procedures for the task force plus, certainly, whether future meetings should be open to the public.

API Buys In
APIs Lubricants Committee considered ILMAs request to participate in the inter-industry task force at its regularly scheduled spring meeting in Houston May 10. Larry Kuntschik, ILMAs consultant, presented to the committee a “multi-faceted ethics initiative for policing the lubricants industry,” which ILMA had been working toward for some time.

Kuntschik noted that the first task, within ILMA, was to “adopt and implement an ethics initiative;” the second was to “create an inter-industry task force comprised of two representatives each from ILMA, API and ACC to investigate development of a process to improve the quality level of lubricants.”

Kuntschiks presentation cited three objectives and an action program for the overall ILMA ethics initiative. ILMAs objectives are:

1) Inform and educate ILMA members as to minimum standards and good operating practice;
2) Assure products and services offered to customers meet indicated industry performance specifications;
3) Reduce and eliminate marketing of substandard products by ILMA members.

ILMAs proposed action to enforce its Code of Ethics and to protect consumers is to “implement a program to monitor crankcase and other lubricants marketed by ILMA members.” The proposed enforcement mechanism is to use APIs Aftermarket Audit Program, AMAP. Kuntschik noted that staff members of both trade associations had met and “agreed that it is workable, with the details to be worked out.”

Kuntschik requested that API “support and approve continued discussions with ILMA on the use of the AMAP system for collection and testing of ILMA samples and the formation of, and active participation in, an inter-industry task force.”

Some key objectives for the task force could include, first, a determination that “the program makes sense for the industry and validate widespread support, and second identify key elements of the program and estimate resource requirements, he said.

API Concerns
Kuntschik noted that the enforcement proposal was to cover “all types of lubricant products in the market — not just API-licensed products, but also, for example, automatic transmission fluids, hydraulic oils and unlicensed products such as SA, SB oils.”

Lubricants Committee Vice Chairman Jim Newsom, Shell Oil Products (US), cautioned that the idea of policing all lubricants is a huge undertaking. How could, for example, hydraulic oils be monitored?

BP Lubricants USAs Barbara Dennis stated bluntly, Why should we police the ATF system? It is the responsibility of the auto companies to police their own licensing systems.

Finally, Marathon Ashland Petroleums Mark Matsons candid comment put the issue into sharp context: Concerns have been expressed in this group for a long time regarding ILMA companies. Now ILMA has asked for our participation, and we should support them in this initiative, which may help us all.

Kuntschik pointed out that “ILMA believes that there are only a few problem companies, and it will be taking action on its own when these companies are identified.” APIs Legal Representative Doug Morris acknowledged, There are legal issues that will have to be addressed.

ILMAs task force proposal received, overall, cautious support, and its request for APIs active participation in the task force was approved by 11 members while two abstained. Pinnacle Oils Harji Gill and Valvolines Thom Smith volunteered to serve as APIs representatives.

The use of the AMAP system for collection and testing of ILMA samples was left for future consideration after initial task force results are seen.

ACCs Advisory Role
ACCs Doug Anderson, staff manager for the Petroleum Additives Panel, reinforced Chairman Tugendhats announcement by noting, We see this initiative as a request for technical assistance from ILMA as it develops the monitoring and enforcement program for its Code of Ethics.

Panel Vice Chair Rob Shama of Afton Chemical added, member companies have excellent formulation expertise for todays complex lubricant formulations.

Tugendhat pointed out, We are pleased to be able to serve in a technical advisory role to the task group leading this exploratory project. [The Panels] commitment to continuous improvement is demonstrated through our development of the Product Approval Code of Practice for engine oil testing. The notion of building on API’s successful Aftermarket Audit Program, AMAP, is an innovative concept worth further examination.

The Petroleum Additives Panel was chartered to pursue research and advocacy issues of active developers, manufacturers and marketers of additives used to enhance the performance of automotive and industrial petroleum fuels and lubricants.

ILMAs Initiative
ILMA’s recent ethics initiative began with a revision of its 20-year-old enforceable Code of Ethics. On April 2,theassociation’sBoard of Directors adopted revisions to the Code.

ILMA’s Board cites as the Code’s purpose, “for all ILMA members to uphold the highest ethical and moral standards of professional conduct in the lubricants industry.” Revision of the Code was seen as a crucial step under ILMA’s Strategic Plan.

The Code is divided into three parts. Section I, Principles of Ethics, are defined as “aspirational goals of professional conduct,” and all ILMA members pledge to follow eight separately listed items. Section II, Rules of Ethics, provide mandatory and specific standards of minimally acceptable professional conduct; ILMA member companies are provided with five specific business world venues for guidance.

Enforcement is defined in Section III, the Administrative Procedures; these procedures are to be applied “reasonably, fairly, and objectively and are intended to encourage voluntary corrective action, the Code says. A five-member ethics committee, appointed by ILMA’s President, is established, along with rules for its operation, handling and investigation of inquiries and challenges, recommendations, actions and an appeals process.

The Code is posted at ILMA’s web site at

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