Create a zero incident and zero waste Corbion
Environmental, Health and Safety
Corbion aims to create a safe and healthy workspace with the goal of having zero incidents because we believe no job is so important that it cannot be done safely and with minimal environmental impact. We therefore operate with the greatest care for safety, health, and the environment for our employees and the communities we engage with. Our activities are supported by a management system that includes policies, procedures, training, and feedback, which ascertain that we comply with laws and regulations applicable to our operations and act in accordance with our company standards and codes. Corbion leadership and employees are committed to achieving a zero incident culture. Corbion fosters an open and transparent culture by encouraging all employees to report, amongst others, all near misses and events in order to continuously improve our safety and environmental performance. Our Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) framework clarifies the specific responsibilities of the local sites versus the global EHS platform.
Our zero waste ambition focuses on the reduction of waste by valorizing all our by-products by 2020 and eliminating waste to landfill completely by 2030. In this way, we maximize the value that we generate from the resources we consume. This ambition contributes to the shift from a linear economy, based on a take-make-dispose system to a circular economy that is waste-free and regenerative by design.
In our lactic acid production process we generate significant quantities of valuable by-products, such as gypsum. Per ton of lactic acid, almost 2 tons of by-product are produced. The majority of these by-products are valorized, but occasionally they do end up in landfill. We try to avoid this by developing new outlets and by implementing our gypsum-free production process in future lactic acid plants.
Since the implementation of a new valorization option for gypsum at our lactic acid plant in the U.S. last year, we have nearly eliminated landfilling of by-products. Compared to 2017, the landfilling of by-products increased due to the increased production of lactic acid at our plant in Spain. At this site, we have not yet been able to find an outlet for all by-products. In 2019, we will be ramping up our efforts to resolve this situation. Several potential outlets that have been identified in 2018 will be further evaluated to ensure delivery of our 2020 target.
Corbion aims to be 100% powered by renewable electricity by 2030. To achieve this goal, we combine on-site generation with the purchase of renewable electricity from our suppliers.
In 2018 we increased our renewable electricity coverage for our manufacturing sites in Gorinchem (to 50%), Totowa and Tucker (to 100%). We started purchasing renewable electricity for our site in Blair (50%). Our sites in Campos and Montmélo are already fully powered by renewable electricity.
To demonstrate our commitment to renewable electricity, we have installed more than 1,000 solar panels on the roof of our new offices in Lenexa.
Greenhouse gas emissions
Responsible operations also implies doing our part to prevent climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, as specified in the Paris Agreement. We committed to setting carbon footprint targets for our own operations and have joined the Science Based Targets (SBT) initiative in December 2017. This initiative helps companies to set carbon reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement. We firmly believe that taking our responsibility will be good for the environment and good for our business. Energy conservation and increasing renewable energy will not only drive emission reductions, it will also decrease costs and help create innovative solutions that allow our customers to reduce their emissions as well. To encourage development of low-carbon technologies, we review the financial impact of greenhouse gas emissions through internal carbon pricing in our long-term R&D projects.
In 2018, we organized workshops with plant technologists, global engineering, logistics, procurement, and R&D to collect ideas for all of our manufacturing sites to reduce our carbon footprint through efficiency improvements, renewable energy, responsible sourcing, logistics optimization, and supplier engagement. Based on the outcome of these workshops, we will develop a detailed reduction roadmap to steer investments and innovation and determine carbon footprint reduction targets.
We report our emissions in carbon equivalents from cradle to gate in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This includes Scope I emissions from direct production (for natural gas), Scope II emissions from purchased energy (for electricity and purchased steam), and Scope III emissions related to purchased goods and services, fuel and energy-related activities, upstream transportation, business travel, and employee commuting.
In 2018, our Scope I emissions increased by 3% compared to 2017, due to an increase of the total production volume. Our specific Scope I emissions decreased by 2% due to improvements in energy efficiency. For Scope II, our market-based specific emissions decreased by 9%, due to the increased use of renewable electricity. Our specific Scope III emissions increased by 2%, mainly due to an increase of emissions related to upstream transport.
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