Safe and sustainable sites
In the chemical industry, acting sustainably means more than ever taking responsibility for products and manufacturing processes. We are observing a convergence of environmental and production standards at a high level worldwide. Formerly positive differentiating features in the area of sustainability will soon become a basic global requirement for being able to produce and market chemical products at all. But we do not limit ourselves to meeting standards - because the LANXESS quality standard is higher: We want to make our production safe, sustainable and thus competitive in the long term in every respect.
Handling chemicals and work in technical plants comes with inherent health and safety risks. This is why we systematically identify these risks and potential hazards at our sites worldwide - both for existing plants and for new ones – and minimize risk by implementing preventative measures. To ensure compliance with LANXESS guidelines and local regulations, on-site experts conduct audits in targeted random samples, with frequency based on the site’s respective risk profile. At each facility, compliance with the safety standards must be regularly certified.
We use an electronic Incident Reporting System (IRS) worldwide torecord accidents and incidents in accordance with uniform standards and regulations. This system documents personal injuries and transportation accidents, near misses, environmental incidents and asset damage events, as well as security-relevant events such as thefts, carefully analyzing each incident allowing us to prevent similar incidents in the future.
This system and analysis helps reduce incidents relating to inadequate plant and process safety.
In addition to the pure number of events, we also collect parameters such as the Process Safety Total Incident Quote (PSTIQ). This indicator enables us to take a closer look at the events with an eye towards improving process and plant safety, also providing us with insights that have a positive effect on event processing.
Central classification of our products in line with international, regional and local hazardous-goods regulations ensures that the respective requirements are interpreted uniformly while taking regional and local aspects into account. Classification determines such things as the type of containment (packaging and tanks), marking and labeling, the permitted modes of transport and transportation routes as well as measures that operational staff must take if a transportation event occurs. The corresponding classification data is stored in the safety-data system for chemicals at LANXESS. In recent years, we have gradually connected an increasing number of countries and Group companies to the system. The previously unconnected sites in Argentina, Uruguay and Russia were added as planned in 2019. In 2020, we will integrate the former Chemtura sites in North America.
Access to clean drinking water is not only crucial for the nutrition and health of a steadily growing world population, but also an important economic factor. The Sustainable Development Goals examine various facets of water comprehensively throughout its framework, including wastewater reduction, water efficiency and water management. The sensitive handling of the scarce resource of water is therefore a future-safe approach - especially at locations in water stressed areas where there are problems with availability, quality and/or access to water.
LANXESS Water Program launched
As a chemicals company, we rely on water for our production. We use it mainly for cooling (81%), as an input material in chemical processes (17%) or in the form of steam (2%). In addition, rivers are an important transportation tool, particularly for our networked sites in Germany.
Besides water’s importance as an economic resource, LANXESS is also aware of its ecological and social significance.
Access to water and sanitary facilities are a fundamental human right. Water availability and quality are global challenges that we can and must face up to locally as a company. We are therefore committed to the responsible use of water. In our own business activities and beyond, we use our products to advance the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6): “clean water and sanitation for all.”
In order to push our engagement further, we launched our global LANXESS Water Program in 2020. We thus want to promote sustainable water management with the aim of continuously improving the way water is used. Further information on our Water Background Paper
LANXESS Water Stewardship ProgramOur LANXESS water stewardship program consists of three elements as illustrated in the figure below.
As a chemicals company, we rely on water for our production. Monitoring of withdrawal, consumption and discharge of water as well as waste water loads is carried out consistently for all LANXESS production sites. We use water mainly for cooling (80%), for process purposes in production facilities
(18%) or in the form of steam (2%). Details on our corporate water flows from withdrawal to discharge are illustrated in the figure below.
As part of our data transparency in regards to water we participate in the CDP Water Security and provide an extensive list of our water KPIs in our ESG Data Factsheet.
ESG Data Factsheet
We have set ourselves a global target to underline the ambition to decouple our economic growth from water consumption:
>> Target: 2% y/y specific improvement in water consumption
Since 2015 we have achieved a reduction of our specific water consumption of around 18%, even considering the increase in 2017 due to the acquisition of specialty chemicals company Chemtura, and we aim to continue that trend.
>> Target: 2% y/y specific reduction of TOC (Total Organic Carbon) in wastewater
2. Local Water Stewardship
In contrast to the climate issue, the local context plays a very important role in sustainable water management. The most important factor in that discussion is the “water stress level” of a region. The water stress is calculated as a ratio of the total annual water withdrawals to the total available annual renewable supply.
To analyze all LANXESS sites we developed a water risk assessment framework combining internal data with external scientific data like water stress, operational or regulatory risks and relevant water-related KPIs. At LANXESS our main indicators for water risk are the water stress score (a combination of current and future water stress) as well as specific water withdrawal per ton of product. Using this risk matrix, LANXESS identified 4 sites as Water Risk Sites, namely Jhagadia, Latina, Nagda and Qingdao.
We specifically address water risk sites identified by the water risk analysis. We decided to implement site-specific water stewardship programs until 2023.
>> Target: Implementation of water stewardship program at water risk sites until 2023
As cornerstone of these local water stewardship programs, we are committed to reduce water withdrawal at those four sites. Therefore, we have set a target to reduce water withdrawal on water risk sites.
>> Target: 15% absolute reduction of water withdrawal at water risk sites until 2023
3. Beyond the gates
At LANXESS, we understand that our responsibility for water does not end at our factory gates. Instead we are aiming for a holistic approach taking into account all relevant stakeholders and especially the local communities located close to our production sites.
On corporate level, we conduct an active stakeholder dialogue , including a round table discussion on ”water stress”. Water is alongside with education, climate protection and culture one of the four focus topics for our corporate citizenship activities. Moreover, LANXESS is participating in relevant multi-stakeholder and industry initiatives.
Already today, within the industry initiative "Together for Sustainability", we work with our supply chain partners to evaluate and audit their water performance and share learnings and best practices. Water is an important part of these evaluations.
Also the pollution of rivers and oceans worldwide is a major problem. To tackle that issue, LANXESS has been involved in Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) since 2016. Therefore, we are committed to close plastic leaks and prevent industry-related environmental pollution caused by microplastic.
We systematically work on better understanding our water impact along the entire value chain, both positive and negative, and to manage it actively and consciously - also considering the volume of water we use throughout the value chain, as well as the context in which the water is being used.
We work to ensure efficient use of resources and reduced waste - from the use of raw materials to the final product. Where waste is unpreventable, we try to sell or use it as secondary raw material or energy source wherever possible. We also try to further optimize our production processes to further reduce the proportion of disposable waste.
To ensure continuous optimization of our material-flow management, we have committed ourselves to achieving the targets defined in the international program Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) of the “Society of the Plastics Industry.” OCS aims to prevent plastic particles and pellets from entering the maritime environment and having an undesired impact. By joining in 2016, we made a commitment to train relevant employees, to implement measures to prevent the release of pellets at our facilities and to require our business partners to also take active steps to prevent pellet emissions.
To record key data on safety and environmental protection systematically worldwide, we use an electronic data-entry system. This enables us to calculate a wide range of HSE performance data for each business unit and site worldwide, which is used as a valid data pool for strategic decisions as well as internal and external reporting. In addition, it maps the progress that we make with our global sustainability targets. Data is gathered only at production sites where we have investment of over 50%.
PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft has been auditing our HSE key data and the requisite data-gathering processes with limited assurance since 2012.
As a company, we benefit in many ways from society - from satisfied customers, well-trained employees, legal and political stability and a functioning infrastructure. Therefore, we believe it is right for LANXESS to assume responsibility for developing the social environment as a good and reliable partner for the people around the LANXESS sites. Our social commitment is based on our corporate expertise and targets, and focuses on the fields of education, climate protection, water and culture.
Our goals are identical for all areas:
- Mobilizing people and resources for social engagement
- Achieving positive impacts for the company, the environment and society
Mobilising people and resources for social engagement
For the past several years, we have annually provide around 1.5 million euros for our projects worldwide. The regional focus of our activities in 2020 was on the Europe/Middle East/Africa region and the USMCA region.
Achieving positive effects on the company, the environment and societyIn 2020, alround 1,500,000 (previous year: nearly 300,000) people benefited from our projects. Using a system of performance indicators, we measure the social impact of our activities beyond the mere number of beneficiaries. For nearly all of our projects in 2020, we performed an impact assessment, taking into account both positive effects in the vicinity of the site and positive environmental effects and effects on our business. Specific feedback from beneficiaries of our projects is an important factor. For us, all these indicators represent important indicators for the effect-oriented management of our measures.
Promoting culture worldwide
As part of our cultural commitment, we have been sponsoring the international literature festival lit.Cologne as a lead partner since 2010 and the Kölner Philharmonie for several years. The Ozawa International Chamber Music Academy in Japan, which we have supported for ten years, gives talented young musicians from all over Asia the program was altered because of the pandemic. It ended with a concert in Nagano Prefecture, which was attended by a physical audience of around 100 people and an online audience of around 3,400.
Creating the future through educationWe began promoting education under the umbrella of the LANXESS education initiative in 2008. Since then, we have initiated more than 500 projects at our sites worldwide to get young people interested in the natural sciences at an early age. In Germany, the LANXESS laboratory days again met with a great response, with children from secondary schools spending a day in modern laboratories conducting experiments under expert guidance. In total, we held four of these events at our sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld in the reporting year. In addition, we supported schools with project funding of around €144,000. The schools used the donations to purchase STEM teaching materials.
We are working to protect the climate with a multi-stage energy-saving project at a children’s home in Mexico City, for example. The Hogar y Futuro children’s home not for around 300 preschool-age children as a charitable organi zation. After replacing the wiring and putting in an energy-saving lighting system, we installed a photovoltaic system on the roof of the home in 2019 and 2020. As well as a cost saving of approximately 33% thanks to the reduced energy consumption, the combination of various energy-saving measures resulted in an overall reduction in CO2 emissions if around
In Porto Feliz, Brazil, our Inorganic Pigments business unit is involved with several reforestation projects for climate and water protection as well as the living environment of the local population. At the end of 2020, seedlings of native trees were planted by hand in two nature reserves totaling around 3,000 m3, and another 200 seedlings were planted on the grounds of three schools.
Ensure supply of clean water
In many regions of the world, clean drinking water is scarce. LANXESS products are used worldwide to save, purify and transport water. Consequently, one focus of our social commitment is to sensitize people to the causes and consequences of drinking and industrial water shortages. In 2018, LANXESS invited representatives from politics, science, environmental organizations and companies to a roundtable discussion on topics relating to water supply. In addition to a holistic view of the challenges, solutions were discussed in detail.
The “Clean Water for a Better Life” research competition in China, which we held for the sixth time in a row, and digitally for the first time, in 2020, looked at the treatment and reuse of dirty water, research into and treatment of drinking water and the management of natural water resources. We use the competition to support talented young academics. At the same time, it raises public awareness of the significance of water as a resource.
One of the many places in the world suffering from water scarcity and climate change is Burani, a village in Kenya. In the last few years, the water table there has fallen from 45 meters to 145 meters. Since 2020, membrane elements of our Lewabrane brand have been installed in a solar-powered plant in Burani. The extremely salty untreated water is transformed into clean water through reverse osmosis The filtered water is offered as drinking water in kiosk.