Every day we act to reduce our consumption of resources such as energy and water by implementing ambitious programs and reducing the emissions linked to our activity. We develop the use of renewable resources and promote the circular economy in order to preserve non-renewable natural resources and protect biodiversity by limiting our emissions into the air, water and soil.
This approach is combined with ambitious targets that aim to reduce energy consumption and emissions into air (greenhouse gases and volatile organic compounds) and to water (chemical oxygen demand).
Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions
In the face of a climate emergency, it is essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Arkema fully subscribes to the target defined by the Paris Agreement, to keep a global temperature rise “well below 2°C” above pre-industrial levels by 2100. To respond to this essential requirement, we must act immediately and determinedly. The Group has therefore committed to a new climate plan, with the key objective of reducing its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 38 % by 2030, compared with its 2015 level – whatever the growth in its business activities.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 38 % between 2015 and 2030
Arkema has been working to reduce its carbon footprint for many years, by continuously improving its production procedures and implementing a determined policy of optimizing energy efficiency.
"In concrete terms, the climate plan is being implemented with each of the business lines and industrial sites. The Arkenergy global program adopted in 2013, dedicated to improving energy efficiency, is one of the key levers, says Sophie Huguier. As a result, we have already reduced our absolute GHG emissions by 37% between 2012 and 2019, and through our 2030 target we are further strengthening our mobilization."
We will achieve these climate plan targets by continuously improving and innovating manufacturing processes, by pursuing efforts underway in energy sourcing - the Group aims to reduce net energy purchases by 20% by 2030 - and by prioritizing carbon issues in all our investment decisions (acquisitions, unit expansions, etc.)..
The Arkenergy project aims to improve the Group's energy efficiency. It consists of a structured and consistent approach across the entire industrial perimeter to implement an energy-saving culture at all levels of the company.
Between 2014 and 2020, Arkenergy projects have resulted in a reduction in consumption of 800 GWH, of which 9 % is related to a reduction in electricity consumption and 91% to a reduction in heat consumption (gas, steam). The corresponding reduction in GHG emissions is 185 kt CO2 eq.
Foster circular economy in our plants
To respond to the scarcity of natural resources and the increasing environmental impact of human activities, Arkema develops the circular economy, in particular to recover co-products and ensure proper waste management.
Our initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of our industrial sites are underpinned by its resource management policy and notably consist in optimizing the use of raw materials, energy and natural resources like water. New manufacturing units are designed to incorporate environmental footprint considerations into the choice of processes and equipment. We also pay a special attention to operating conditions and maintenance and development investments are regularly undertaken to optimize the use of water, energy and raw materials at our plants.
The production of our main products sometimes generates co-products that can be used by other businesses.
By-products from the conversion of castor oil into undecanoic amino acid at the Marseille (France) plant are examples of reuse through the Oleris® range, whose bio-based origin is sought after.
Arkema helps protect the environment by reducing the amount of waste we produce and recovering it as materials or energy.
- At the Hengshui site in China, the residual sulfuric acid generated by the manufacturing process is transformed into crystallized sodium sulfate, thereby recovering a waste stream into more than 50,000 metric tons per year of commercial product.
- On the Lacq site (France), desulfogypsum from the sulfur residue treatment facility is a nonhazardous waste that is re-used as a material for the manufacture of plasterboard in cement works. In 2020, 14,500 metric tons of desulfogypsum were recycled in this way, thereby avoiding their being sent to landfill.
Water management optimization
To preserve our water resources, we have established measures to limit our consumption and emissions. Water is essential throughout the production process, whether for cooling installations or for steam production, so we must use it wisely.
Arkema contributes to better access to water for all, and also improves its production practices to minimize its water consumption by:
- Implementing methods for reducing consumption ;
- Using closed circuit cooling systems.
Emissions to water
Diminishing its emissions to water also ranks high among the chief environmental objectives of Arkema. We are especially attentive to effluents that could result in high chemical oxygen demand (COD) or contain high levels of suspended solids (SS).
Arkema 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.
Launched in 2016, the Optim’O program encompasses all water-management activities across the group, and in particular those geared towards consumption reduction, recycling, COD reduction and water-stress scenarios.
Thus, Optim'O aims by 2030 to reduce the Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) of discharges by 60% in intensity compared to 2012.
Arkema cares about preserving biodiversity and contributes to protecting the world’s fauna and flora by reducing each site’s emissions into air, water and soil.
Emissions into air, water and soil
Arkema seeks to protect flora and fauna from the impacts of its operations. We therefore work every day to reduce emissions into the air and water and the impact on the soil and subsoil at each site.
Thus, we reduce the chemical oxygen demand (COD) in the effluent discharged into rivers, thereby preserving the dissolved oxygen that is essential to all aquatic life, and limit emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
Thus, by 2030 we aim to:
- reduce VOC emissions by 65 % (vs 2012)
- reduce GHG emissions by 38 % (vs 2015)
- reduce COD emissions by 60 % (vs 2012)
In 2020, ongoing work to update the solvent management plan for the Genay site (France) resulted in a better assessment of VOC emissions, explaining the drop of over 90% in its emissions.
Committed with Act4nature
Arkema has long been committed to reducing the environmental footprint of its production processes. Arkema is working to protect biodiversity and help preserve fauna and flora by reducing its industrial facilities' effluent releases into the air, water and soil.
In 2021, convinced of the importance and urgency of taking biodiversity into account, Arkema has strengthened its initiatives to protect the environment by announcing its commitment to Act4nature International on a global scale.
The Group is therefore reducing its VOC emissions by:
- collecting and treating effluents containing VOCs, particularly with thermal oxidizers or vent scrubbing; and
- carrying out regular campaigns to detect and eliminate VOC leaks.
VOC reduction at the Marseille site (France)
The start-up of a new treatment unit in 2020 enhanced the Marseille site’s existing measures and enabled a 17 % reduction in its VOC emissions.