The Executive Director of Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association, Deidré Penfold, launched the 2015 Responsible Care® Performance Report on 19 November 2015 in Johannesburg.
The report covered the chemical industry’s progress in meeting the Responsible Care® Initiative principles, its safety and health statistics for on and off-road activities, assessed the industry’s resource efficiency in terms of energy, water, waste and greenhouse gas emissions performance related to Product Stewardship and its community outreach progress. It also detailed the considerable training offered by CAIA during the year under review and its attendance at international fora.
“With the adoption of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals during September 2015, affordable and clean energy has become critical to the multinational process of working towards a more sustainable future,” said Deidré Penfold, Executive Director of CAIA, in her opening speech.
“The importance of energy to sustainable development objectives can also be indirectly noted in other sustainable development goals such as those relating to economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production and climate action.
“The Responsible Care® initiative is ideally placed as a proactive response by the chemical industry to the challenges of sustainability through the implementation of initiatives that contribute to continuous improvement in safety, health, environmental and reporting objectives. The slogan of the global voluntary Responsible Care® initiative, ‘Our Commitment to Sustainability’, provides a very clear message.
“Energy will continue to play a leading role in sustainability objectives – especially in terms of greenhouse gas emissions in South Africa – and the need for innovation and rational national energy policy cannot be underestimated as keys to a sustainable future.
“As the 2015 Responsible Care® Performance Report reveals, the consumption of energy, primarily electricity, has become and continues to be more efficient amongst Responsible Care® signatories that trade in products – a very encouraging trend that the South African chemical industry can be proud of.”
Members improve water usage
At 30 September 2015, CAIA had 157 Responsible Care® signatories that are committed to the implementation of this initiative within their companies. The senior executive commits the company to participate and uphold the Responsible Care® pillars in its operations and business practises in the following areas:
- Safety and health
- Management commitment
- Pollution prevention and resource efficiency
- Product stewardship
- Storage and transportation
- Process safety
- Community interaction
- Emergency response
In his report, the Chairman of the Responsible Care® Standing Committee, Johan Schoonraad, stated, “Water plays an integral role in the activities of the chemical industry and can be considered a raw material in many cases. Members of CAIA, as signatories to the global voluntary Responsible Care® initiative, are expected to improve their performance continuously in terms of water use and effluent discharge, which often includes efforts to increase production efficiencies and effluent recycling. I am pleased to report that water efficiency is improving from year to year.
“This aggregate report of performance of signatories to the Responsible Care® initiative is a valuable tool to identify where challenges are presenting themselves and potentially even how they may be addressed. Through further analysis, CAIA will be determining where members require support and, facilitated by the Responsible Care® initiative, how the transfer of knowledge and experiences can lead to the sharing of how successes have been achieved in areas of safety, health and environmental performance. The reporting of annual performance remains imperative for CAIA to be able to add value to its members and the South African chemical industry at large.”
Under Safety and Health, the association noted that of the ten fatalities recorded for 2014, six occurred during the signatory’s own road transportation activities – once again reflecting increased risk when transporting own material. It is however encouraging that 75.5 % of submissions indicated that there is an implemented behaviour-based safety programme for employees and contractors.
The Recordable Injury Incident Rate, due to exposure to chemicals, has declined since 2013 activities, when segregation between material-related and material-unrelated recordable injuries was first reported.
Of the reporting signatories, 71.8 % reported that no handling incidents occurred during 2014 activities. This result, reported for the first time this year, provides an excellent base on which to improve in the years to come.
There has been selective incorporation of aspects of the Globally Harmonised System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals into South African legislation. At each point of the chemical value chain, there is a responsibility to manage chemicals in a safe and responsible manner. The principles and potential benefits of product stewardship practises still need to be entrenched in many signatories’ day-to-day operations. There has been no substantial increase in the proportion of signatories that positively report that product stewardship principles are a part of the company’s operations.
There is a marked increase, since 2013 in the proportion of signatories that have reported that a Community Awareness and Emergency Response Committee is in place on site. CAIA once again reiterates the importance of invitations to community members so that aspects such as general housekeeping, standard operating procedures, professionalism and conduct can be observed first-hand. Such activities have the potential to build confidence and positive relationships with community members.
There is a high level of confidence in the overall effluent discharge rate that has been calculated - a further 48 % less effluent was reported to be discharged per tonne of traded products.
CAIA notes an increase in the proportion of signatories that have waste minimisation plans in place (85.4% compared to 83.2% for 2013 activities) across all signatories.
As Responsible Care® signatories, manufacturers and warehousers of chemicals must undergo a mandatory independent third-party verification audit that assesses the improvement in implementation of the eight Responsible Care® Management Practise Standards, every three years. At the end of September 2015, 249 Responsible Care® third-party audits had been completed CAIA received 29 new audit reports during 2014 and 8 in 2015 to date. Seventeen companies are still to complete audits before the end of 2015.
“CAIA continues to deliver industry workshops and seminars,” continues Penfold. “These included training in Risk-based Process Safety Management, Globally Harmonised System (GHS) – Safety Data Sheets, Quantitative Indicators of Performance, Executive and Management Process Safety breakfast, as well as Process Safety Management, Product Stewardship and GHS Workshop and Transportation of Dangerous Goods.
“In addition, CAIA contributed to lectures, exhibitions, hosted visiting experts and embarked on an extensive media campaign to promote the CAIA brand and its members.”
“As CAIA closes this 2015 Responsible Care® Performance Report Launch and invites members to peruse the report, I would like to leave the industry with a few important questions around energy efficiency:
- Are all industry members regularly and accurately measuring or recording energy consumption?
- Have they established an energy baseline for energy audit purposes?
- Are they regularly investigating and evaluating energy savings opportunities and technologies; both in absolute consumption and efficiency terms?
- Have they investigated the 12L Tax Incentive for Energy Efficiency?
“While pondering these questions and the contribution that can be made to a more sustainable future both globally and locally during times of electricity supply constraint, I wish to express my gratitude to the initiative’s signatories for their continued commitment to principles of Responsible Care®.
“CAIA trusts the 2015 Responsible Care® Performance Report - that highlights the achievements and initiatives of Responsible Care® signatories - will not only demonstrate the commitment of the South African chemical industry to sustainability but will also provide motivation to continue on the path of investing in a sustainable future,” concludes Penfold.