About Univar

Univar Environmental Sciences is a division of parent company Univar, a global leader in the chemical distribution industry since 1924.  


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. Soon after, they expanded into the entire facility and plant next door. At the lowest point in the Great Depression, when roughly one in four people were jobless, Van Waters & Rogerswas growing by leaps and bounds, adding people, products and places to itsbusiness.

In 1935, sales were about $657,000. The following year they topped $1million, and by the end of the decade the company was closing on the $2 million mark. Locations were added in Portland, Oregon, Spokane, Washington and Los Angeles, California. In 1956, Van Waters & Rogers made its first public offering of stock. Two 1950 acquisitions set the tone for the decade. The company strategy was simple: acquire rather than be acquired. By the end of the decade, Van Waters & Rogers had locations in all 11 western states, Texas and Western Canada. Sales climbed from $18 million to more than $80 million in 1959.

Shareholders approved a merger in 1966 changing Van Waters & Rogers to VWR United. Growth surged, and the decade ended with the company's listing on the New York Stock Exchange on March 6, 1969. “Univar” was adopted as the new company name in 1974. Despite recession in the 1980’s Univar became North America's largest chemical distributor. Sales topped $1 billion for the first time.  During this time the company dedicated itself to product stewardship and introduced ChemCare, a new waste management service. Univar acquired McKesson Chemical with financial backing from Royal Pakhoed, a 370-year-old Dutch company. Combined, the two distribution giants formed a coast-to-coast network of more than 100 locations in the United States and Canada.

In the 1990’s Univar went global and acquired four chemical distribution companies in Europe, forming Univar Europe. Then Royal Pakhoed acquired Univar in 1996, and it merged with Royal Van Ommeren in 1999 to become Royal Vopak. By the 2000’s Univar focused its growth strategy on industries that were population-based, such as food, pharmaceuticals, personal care, coatings and energy. Univar hired and developed sales specialists, food scientists and PhDs to assist customers with product formulations and technical solutions. In 2002, Univar split off from Royal Vopak as an independent company and world leader in chemical distribution.


Today, Univar directly serves customers in the United States and Mexico through over 60 Univar Pro Centers supported by knowledgeable sales and service representatives who are there to assist you in building your business.In Latin America and the Caribbean, Univar serves the needs of industry professionals through a network of authorized dealer partners that embody the same commitment and support. Together, Univar Environmental Sciences and Univar Authorized Dealers form the industry’s premier distribution network that ensures you get the products you need, when you need them.Univar also provides countless educational resources (online and in person) and is your unparalleled technology resource with industry leading websites and online tools to assist with your business needs. As a Univar customer, you will have access to all of our industry knowledge, business tools, reference materials and the best customer service in the industry.

Univar is the leading specialty chemical distributor in the United States. Our wide distribution network, with over 60 Pro Centers coast-to-coast, helps guarantee fast, reliable service to Univar customers.