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Limiting pollution of air and water

The Arkema group is pursuing a series of initiatives and effective measures to reduce its impacts in terms of climate change, air pollution and water pollution by limiting its emissions.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

A longstanding commitment delivers results

Curbing greenhouse gas emissions is a  priority of the Arkema group. This approach can be illustrated by examples such as:

Flame that burns gases in the flare of a factory
  • installation of stack gas treatment equipment such as the thermal oxidizers at the Pierre-Bénite plant in France and the Changshu plant in China  
  • replacement of boilers by more powerful equipment allowing a gas consumption reduction
  • replacement of air-conditioners and cold groups by more powerful models.

 

The Group’s 2020 target of reducing direct GHG emissions by 30%, compared with 2012, was achieved in 2014, largely due to the investments made at the Calvert City site in the United States.

The progress achieved in 2015 reflects the Group’s dynamic on this matter and the effectiveness of its action plan, which extends to all sites.

The Group’s new target for 2025 is to reduce GHG emissions, expressed in EFPI terms, by 50% compared with 2012.

     

EFPI Greenhouse Gases (GHG)

20062012201320142015Obj. 2025
EFPI GHG 2.641.000.930.700.620.50

The challenge of global warming

Greenhouse gas emissions abatement is crucial for our planet and for future generations. Greenhouse gases, including CO2, have long-term effects on the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, gradually leading to a rise in average global temperatures.

Atmospheric emissions of other substances

Energetic measures to eliminate the most harmful emissions

The Arkema group’s primary concern is to minimize its emissions of the most toxic compounds, namely:

  • volatile organic compounds (VOCs),
  • compounds that acidify the air (nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide),
  • particulates.

For VOCs, the Group is controlling emissions:

  • by capturing and treating off-gases that contain them (thermal oxidation or blowhole lavage being the most widely-used treatment techniques),
  • by regular monitoring programs to detect and eliminate any fugitive VOC emissions.
A giant balloon is launched into the air by scientists in the early morning
   

EFPI Volatile Organic Coumpounds (VOC)

20062012201320142015Obj.2025
EFPI VOC 1.391.000.860.790.830.67

 

The Group reduced the intensity of its VOC emissions by about 28% between 2006 and 2012 and by 21% between 2012 and 2014, after a performance degradation of 10% between 2011 and 2012.

VOC emission levels in 2015 reflect inclusion of data from the Hengshui, China site and Bostik sites in the indicator. 

The Group’s 2025 target is to reduce VOC emissions, expressed in EFPI terms, by 33% compared with 2012.

  

Impact of air pollution on living species and the environment

Limiting pollutant emissions to the atmosphere has crucial implications for the future, given their consequences for living species and the environment.

By decreasing VOCs emissions, the Arkema group foster the decrease of a major pollutant: Tropospheric ozone

Sight on settling tanks in the countryside

Emissions to water

No effluents discharged untreated

Diminishing its emissions to water also ranks high among the chief environmental objectives of the Arkema group. The group is especially attentive to effluents that could result in high chemical oxygen demand (COD) or contain high levels of suspended solids (SS).

The Arkema group reduces its COD and high-SS effluent discharge by:

  • installing its production plants in industrial parks equipped with full-scale wastewater treatment plants,
  • installing physical-chemical and/or biological treatment process units to treat effluents at its more isolated plants,
  • optimizing the treatments wastewater plants or better controlling water sent in station.

A particular attention to the wastewaters rejected by the plants

Original solutions are sometimes used for the industrial waters depollution. For example, at Boretto (Italy), the Arkema group uses the socalled phytoremediation or pythodepuration technique. Phytodepuration reproduces the ecological balance of aquatic and moist environments. This natural system is appealing to a treatment by the roots of aquatic macrophytes of reed type phragmites communis and to a layout with a little stream and a swamp. It allows to reduce at a maximum the Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and to eliminate surfactants initially present.

   

EFPI Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)

20062012201320142015Obj. 2025
EFPI COD 1.301.001.001.030.930.80

 

From 2006 to 2012, the Arkema group reduced the intensity of the Chemical Oxygen Demand of its effluent discharge by more than 23%. Between 2012 and 2014, there has been an increase by 3%.

Improved extensive value results contributed to a drop in the intensive indicator figure in 2015. In January 2016, the Group decided to run a water management project with a view to stepping up progress on this point through continuous improvement.

The Group’s 2025 target is to reduce COD emissions, expressed in EFPI terms, by 20% compared with 2012.

 

The challenge of river biodiversity

A water course must contain dissolved oxygen in order for aquatic fauna to survive. This oxygen comes both from ambient air and from the photosynthesis performed by algae. In a river or stream with excessively high COD, the oxygen available is insufficient to support aquatic fauna.

A man and a woman wearing individual protective equipment, are carrying a water withdrawal