Thursday, September 25, 2014

Focusing on Sustainability in Chemical Processing & Product Development – Guest Blog

by Steve Allen, VP Marketing and Innovation, ACL Staticide

Steve Allen, from ACL, is back with a look at the concept of sustainability and what companies like ACL need to do to achieve it.

Sustainability is a multi-faceted concern for chemical manufacturers. Chemical companies have a responsibility to future generations to implement sustainable methods throughout operations. ACL Staticide is one chemical manufacturer who is making a concerted, strategic approach to the environment and sustainability. And, in today’s market, brand leaders must focus on continued sustainability.

The word sustainability is derived from the Latin sustinere (tenere, to hold up). Sustain can mean “maintain," "support," or "endure.” Since the 1980s sustainability has been used more in the sense of human sustainability on planet Earth, and this has resulted in the most widely quoted definition of sustainability:
“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 
The simple definition that sustainability is something that improves the direct quality of human life within the carrying capacity of supporting eco-systems, though vague, conveys the idea of sustainability having quantifiable limits. But sustainability is also a call to action, a task in progress or even a “journey.” Some definitions set out common goals or values to achieve sustainability. The so called “Earth Charter” speaks of a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature and natural resources (like chemicals). Now this may be a bit out there, but conducting business and manufacturing in a way that leaves resources available, intact, and healthy for the next generation of business just makes good business acumen. Businesses, as ACL does, must make this a daily focus.

More than that, sustainability implies responsible and proactive decision-making and innovation that minimizes negative impact and maintains balance between ecological resilience and chemical resource vitality. These actions are necessary to ensure a desirable planet for all—now and in the future. Some specific types of sustainability include sustainable agriculture, sustainable refining, sustainable processes, and sustainable resource development.

In the chemical arena, the solution to sustainable innovation, development, and manufacturing may be summed up in these three key actions: reduce, reuse, and recycle wherever and whenever possible. ACL Staticide focuses on these every day in manufacturing processes, strategic distribution practices, turnkey outsource operations, and in the way fundamental business operations are run. Operational sustainability is important to all of us.

Sustainability comes in many forms and can be achieved in many ways. ACL ISO procedures even include quality procedures designed to achieve high standards of quality, reduce waste, and encourage recycling in virtually every process:
  • In outsource operations, any off spec or returned material is evaluated immediately to determine its suitability to be reworked and recycled. All material is tested prior to rework to avoid waste and to limit any impact on the environment.
  • The lion’s share of packaging uses predominantly non-virgin recycled materials to limit the impact on environmental resources.
  • In most operations, waste and cooling water is rigorously monitored and recycled throughout the processes.
  • Many facilities conduct operations on a four, ten-hour day schedule to reduce energy costs and increase efficiencies.
  • Similar products and chemistries have been consolidated to streamline product offerings, support customer needs, and reduce waste & chemical impact on the industry served.
  • Additionally, 80/20 simplification and lean transformational operations management have been implemented in many cost- and labor-intensive production processes to drive out energy costs, reduce waste, and specifically reduce the carbon footprint.
In 2014, ACL set the bar high with the introduction of a more ambitious, next-generation set of technologies and chemistries, focused on strengthening relationships within the communities, continuing to improve product stewardship and innovation to solve problems, and reducing emissions/carbon footprint. ACL believes that sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything needed for our survival and well-being depends either directly or indirectly on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony. Sustainability is important for making sure that we have and will continue to have the water, materials, and resources to grow our businesses and protect our environment.

In summary, sustainability has emerged as a result of significant concerns about the unintended social, environmental, and economic consequences of rapid economic growth and consumption of natural resources. ACL Staticide continues to strive for the balance of maintaining & improving chemical sustainability and reducing the impact on the environment & available resources while continuing to produce innovative, relevant, and high-quality/performance products for industry.

Q Source thanks Steve for another informative Guest Blog contribution to The Q Source Resource.

For information about ACL Staticide and related products, please visit our ACL Staticide Department at QSource.com. You may also contact us via email or phone at 800-966-6020 and one of our associates will be happy to assist you.



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Steve Allen's Previous Guest Blogs

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