Univar is a world leader in the distribution of chemistry and related products and services. Univar is more than just a distribution company; we’re a global partner to our customers and suppliers dedicated to: Earning customers for life. Using our global network to provide market insight and expertise to grow our customers business. Uncompromising safety and compliance. Creating enduring supplier relationships. Providing an innovative suite of value-added services.

Company details

Business Type:
Distributor
Industry Type:
Environmental - Environmental Management
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)

This company also provides solutions for other industrial applications.
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Univar is a world leader in the distribution of chemistry and related products and services. Univar is more than just a distribution company; we’re a global partner to our customers and suppliers dedicated to:

  • Earning customers for life
  • Using our global network to provide market insight and expertise to grow our customers business
  • Uncompromising safety and compliance
  • Creating enduring supplier relationships
  • Providing an innovative suite of value-added services

Our scale, geographic reach, diversified distribution channels, industry expertise and comprehensive product portfolio enable us to develop strong, long-term relationships with our suppliers and to provide a single-source solution for our customers.

Univar is a leading global distributor of chemistry and related innovative products and services. We safely deliver chemistry (products, expertise, and relationships) that helps our customers improve the quality of life through:

  • Affordable energy: We help energy companies get natural gas and oil from the ground and to your home for heating. Univar serves the Oil & Gas industry end to end with a comprehensive set of chemistry products and services.
  • Clean drinking water: Univar provides chemistry to the water treatment industry such as disinfectants to remove bacteria, Flouride to prevent tooth decay, Aluminum Sulfate to prevent cloudiness and improve taste, and Polyphosphate to remove lead.
  • Reliable food sources: Univar provides crop protection and micronutrient products and services to help enhance farmer productivity. We also provide healthy and great tasting food ingredients to food companies, as well as clean and disinfect products to food producers and restaurants. In sum, we help the food industry from the farm to your table to make sure food is plentiful, great tasting, healthy and safe.
  • Products that improve our health, homes and environment: From the Glycerine in your toothpaste to the Surfactants in your shampoo, Univar helps you start your day fresh and clean. Univar ingredients also help brighten your laundry, clean your kitchen, and sanitize your hands.

Our Vision
To be the world leader in chemistry distribution, products and related services, where the best people want to work, benefiting all stakeholders.

Guiding Principles

  • We value relationships, earning customers for life, treating suppliers as long-term partners, and dealing with each other with candor and respect.
  • We succeed through performance, focusing on superior execution, product access, optimized logistics and productivity.
  • We thrive on profitable growth, seeking new markets and new opportunities, continuously innovating to be the distributor of choice.

Univar Corporate History

Our history dates back to 1924 when George Van Waters and Nat Rogers opened a small firm in Seattle, Washington, USA, buying and selling naval supplies, paint, raw materials and cotton linters. Learn how Univar grew into a leading global chemical distributor from these roots.

1920s: The Birth of a Distributor

On August 8, 1924, George Van Waters and Nat Rogers filed incorporation papers in Olympia, Washington. The small firm sold paint, raw materials, caustic soda, soda ash, cotton linters, dry colors for paint, and denatured alcohol. Their willingness to buy—and sell, for profit—new types of materials helped the company grow. When Van Waters & Rogers entered the laundry supply business, it paved the way for the company’s future—chemicals. “We sort of glided into the industrial chemicals business,” Nat Rogers said. Near the end of the decade, the company moved into a 5,000 square foot facility just south of downtown Seattle. Soon after, they expanded into the entire facility and plant next door. Times were good. The Dow Jones industrial average reached an all-time high of 381.17. Then, on October 24, 1929, the stock market crashed.

Founded in 1924, Univar is a leading global chemical distributor of industrial and specialty chemicals and related chemistry services. Univar operates a network of over 700 distribution facilities throughout North America, Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and Latin America, with additional sales offices located in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Our 8,800 employees serve over 133,000 customers, representing nearly every major industry and a highly diverse set of end markets.

We source chemicals from the premier global chemical manufacturers.

Univar is a world leader in the distribution of chemistry and related products and services. Our scale, geographic reach, diversified distribution channels, industry expertise, and comprehensive product portfolio enable us to develop strong, long-term relationships with our suppliers and to provide a single-source solution for our customers, including:

Extensive global distribution network

Our global footprint enables us to serve more than 133,000 customers around the world. Our comprehensive chemicals inventory and logistics network, combined with electronic ordering and shipment tracking, centralized fulfillment, and just-in-time delivery, provide significant value for both customers and suppliers.

Scale and operational efficiencies

Our geographic reach offers significant operational efficiencies in global procurement, purchasing scale and supplier relationships. As one of the world's largest independent chemical distributors, we are able to leverage our cost structure by aggregating demand and implementing best practices throughout the supply chain.

Long-standing, strong relationships with major producers

We have long-standing, in many cases decades-long, relationships with chemicals producers, including the premier global manufacturers. As a preferred partner, we often purchase chemicals on favorable market terms and source scarce products from multiple producers and regions.

Broad product offering and value-added service portfolio

We provide our customers with a one-stop shop solution for their commodity and specialty chemicals needs. Our comprehensive portfolio serves customers in a diverse range of industries. We also offer value-added services, including: formulations and technical expertise, blending, mixing, repackaging, and labeling.

End market and product-specific expertise

We help our customers identify and select chemicals to enhance the performance characteristics of their end products. Our dedicated teams of professionals offer industry-specific expertise, and our specialized laboratory facilities provide formulation capabilities and analytical services.

Univar is a world leader in the distribution of chemistry and related products and services. Our suite of distribution services enables us to serve our customers everywhere, everyday, so that they have the products they need, when they need them.  

Warehouse Distribution

Univar's warehouse distribution business is the core of our operations. We purchase chemicals in truck load or larger quantities to connect large chemical producers with smaller customers. Our network of warehouses allows us to service most customers from multiple locations, enabling us to move products efficiently and economically on a real-time basis.
   
Direct Distribution

Univar's direct distribution business provides point-to-point logistics for full truckloads or larger quantities of chemicals between producers and customers.

Product availability and inventory management

We manage inventory to meet customer demands on short notice. Our role in the supply chain enables us to obtain access to chemicals in times of short supply, and our global distribution network permits us to stock products locally, enhancing just-in-time delivery and providing outsourced inventory management.
   
Technical expertise and specialized laboratories

We employ chemists, food technologists, and petroleum engineers to help our customers in the selection and formulation of chemicals to meet their specific performance needs. Univar has specialized laboratories dedicated to food, personal care, paints & coatings, household and industrial cleaning, and oil & gas to serve all of our customers' needs.
   
Blending and repackaging services

We provide our customers with a full suite of blending and repackaging services from specialty forms to small orders through our repackaging service - from specialty chemical formulations that meet specific customer performance demands, to small orders.

Univar serves a diverse set of end markets and regions around the world in a number of focus industries, such as personal care, food ingredients, oil & gas, and pharma ingredients. We focus on population-driven industries with attractive, long-term growth trends. Our global reach provides our customers unparalleled connectivity to ensure they have a single source for all of their chemical needs.

Univar's industry teams are responsible for product management, account management, program marketing, and communications within each market. We identify product and technology trends as well as provide technical support and market insights to create specific programs and solutions for our customers. Our global reach allows us to operate where our customers are, in markets large and small. 

Our focus industries include: 

Univar provides a vast portfolio of over 4,500 chemical products to customers in a diverse range of industries. We buy chemicals in large quantities, such as barge loads, railcars, or full truck loads, and we distribute smaller quantities to more than 115,000 customers worldwide.

We source chemicals from more than 3,500 producers, including many premier global manufacturers. We partner with suppliers to integrate our service and logistics capabilities into their business processes, promoting collaboration on supply chain optimization, marketing, and other sales strategies.

Our chemicals portfolio includes Acids and Bases, Surfactants, Glycols, Inorganic Compounds, Alcohols, as well as general and other specialty chemicals used extensively throughout hundreds of end markets. We maintain relationships with multiple suppliers to protect our customers against disruptions in supply and to uphold pricing discipline.

Basic Chemical Solutions (BCS) is a U.S.-based global distributor and trader of commodity chemicals that focuses on some of the most broadly used chemicals in the world. BCS provides a unique integrated distribution model, combining bulk and mini-bulk chemical distribution with a global procurement and trading platform.