For most businesses, the footprint of our direct activity is low compared with the impact of raw materials and use of our products. However, improving operational eco-efficiency is an important element of our manufacturing processes. We need to keep our focus on cost reduction, environmental protection and more effective use of raw materials, water and energy.
During the last few years of portfolio change, the operational efficiency performance of the overall company has essentially remained static. We have therefore developed expert groups for waste and waste water, energy and fresh water to accelerate this improvement activity. They provide support for site assessment and improvement activities, and provide a means of sharing good practice across the company.
This work operates on several levels:
- Incremental improvements focusing on reducing waste, energy, water or raw materials by more efficient operations. Engineers work with procurement professionals to find alternative uses for waste and waste water, for example as a raw material for another process, or to find more cost-effective disposal routes
- Process or product design improvements providing scope for eliminating waste at source and more energy-efficient operations
- Working to develop new, inherently low footprint technology.
During 2010, we will review more than 70 priority sites to form the basis of coherent improvement plans.
Waste improvements and energy opportunities
- Using the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle, our Packaging Coatings plant in Spain has reduced waste cleaning solvent use by 25 percent in one year and saved €64,000.
- One of our Surface Chemistry plants in Sweden has reduced the chemical oxygen demand of its waste water by 75 percent by installing a continuous monitor and improving employee awareness training.
- An Industrial Chemicals plant in the Netherlands has saved €0.6 million in product and reduced the chemical oxygen demand of its waste water by more than 50 percent by improving operating practices.
- Recent detailed energy efficiency diagnostics have identified improvement opportunities of between 30 and 35 percent over three years at a Specialty Chemicals plant in the US and a coatings plant in Germany.