REDUCING PRODUCTION IMPACTS
Within FMC-owned operations, we continue to focus efforts on energy, waste, water and greenhouse gas intensity.
In addition to our usual efforts to manage a competitive cost structure by targeting annual efficiency improvements, FMC has several major initiatives underway to ensure we are using current best practices across our sites. We expect such efforts to produce near-term efficiency wins while identifying longer-term improvement potential across the company.
Manufacturing Excellence Program
Our Manufacturing Excellence program was launched in 2012, with focused projects at three of our manufacturing locations. Read more about the program and results in our 2013 sustainability report.
Our Energy Management Center of Excellence (EMCOE) team is comprised of representatives from the procurement, manufacturing, engineering and sustainability groups and is championed by senior leaders in operations, technology, procurement and sustainability. With the help of external resources added to its combined professional experience of 129 years, this team will become a central repository of best practices in energy management.
The EMCOE is currently undergoing a multi-year process to assess FMC manufacturing sites worldwide and identify opportunities to increase plant energy efficiency. In 2013, the team conducted its first comprehensive plant energy assessments associated with this new program. Read more about the results and next steps in our 2013 sustainability report.
|Greenhouse Gas Considerations
Over the last several decades, we have led the industry in pioneering dry, long wall and solution mining techniques. We continue to pursue mining methods that are safer, more energy efficient and better for the environment. To maintain our industry leadership, we have invested $13 million in a pilot project using directional drilling techniques for technologically advanced solution mining. Initial research shows this patent-pending process improves sustainability by reducing process greenhouse gas emissions by over 25 percent, and has the potential to salvage billions of additional tons of trona that might otherwise be left behind.
Soda ash can be produced either naturally or synthetically. On a global basis, the majority of soda ash is supplied by synthetic production. The natural soda ash process utilized at our Wyoming facilities is significantly less energy-intensive than the alternative. As shown in the diagram linked below, U.S. natural soda ash efficiencies, including FMC’s, are substantial. We can produce and deliver soda ash to customers around the world using less energy and emitting fewer greenhouse gases than if the material were produced synthetically within a customer’s region, even within their home country.
FMC continues to monitor the prospects for more stringent emissions regulations in the United States. Such changes could reduce the competitiveness of U.S. natural soda ash and result in an increased portion of synthetically produced soda ash worldwide. This would lead to a net increase in global emissions.
Water Risk Assessment
In 2013 FMC undertook a water risk assessment for each of our manufacturing facilities, contract manufacturers and key suppliers to better understand our exposure to future water risks. Read more about this program in our 2013 sustainability report.
FMC has begun to assess current waste management activities at our sites to determine whether a similar cross-group effort can accelerate expected sustainability gains. Read more about this program in our 2013 sustainability report.
CASE STUDY: SYNTHETIC VS. NATURAL SODA ASH PRODUCTION
Soda ash can be produced either naturally or synthetically. On a global basis, the majority of soda ash is supplied by synthetic production. The natural soda ash process utilized at our Wyoming facilities is signiﬁcantly less energy-intensive than the alternative. As shown in this diagram, U.S. natural soda ash effeciencies, including FMC’s, are substantial. We can produce and deliver soda ash to customers around the world using less energy and emitting fewer greenhouse gases than if the material were produced synthetically within a customer’s region, even within their home country.
Click here to see the full diagram.
Even though our historic operations were designed, operated and maintained using standards and best practices at the time, some operations had environmental impacts that require remediation today. FMC’s approach to remediation focuses on returning our formerly used sites to productive new uses. In the past decade, we have restored eight brownfield sites to beneficial reuses, including sports complexes, hospitals, retail developments, car dealerships, community centers and light industrial parks. In many cases, there is more than one type of redevelopment use on a single former property. Over the last three years, we have spent approximately $90 million on remediation of historic sites.
Our preferred approach is to be proactive with regulators, officials and the local community in identifying alternative reuse scenarios for these sites. Each property is uniquely situated, and some may have remediation needs. FMC is committed to finding ways to return these properties to functioning, safe and beneficial uses.
In each remediation situation, we start with shared goals in mind, doing whatever we can to take all stakeholders’ concerns into consideration. Each project requires a unique plan and an understanding of the community it affects, so we engage with public advisory groups, community partners and citizen task forces to facilitate conversations about each community’s needs. By collaborating on remediation plans, FMC aims to replenish resources, spur economic growth, protect the vitality of our business and the environment, and strengthen our community relationships.
New Princeton HealthCare System facility built on former FMC Chemical Research and Development Center in Princeton, New Jersey.
FMC’s ongoing remediation projects are at various stages of completion. A few examples are described here:
- The remediated site of FMC’s former research center near Princeton, New Jersey, now serves as Princeton HealthCare System’s state-of-the-art medical center, which opened in June 2012.
- FMC worked with the city government, regulatory agencies and local leaders in Nitro, West Virginia, to successfully repurpose an old municipal landfill site into a community access boat ramp that now attracts visitors to the area. FMC handled the majority of the cleanup work, earning the 2012 Environmental Excellence Award from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for our dedication to long-term stewardship of the site.
- In Pocatello, Idaho we have received an Interim Remedial Record of Decision (IROD) which selected a remedy for the site. FMC has retained a construction firm to commence the implementation of the remedy and anticipates some construction activity to begin this construction season.
- At the Avtex Fibers Superfund Site in Front Royal, Virginia, FMC is completing over 20 years of remedial construction activities. The cleanup of the historical plant area provides land for a business development area encompassing approximately 170 acres and the creation of open space in the remaining areas, including a conservation park. Within the conservation area is a brand new water treatment plant to treat the contaminated groundwater.
- In San Jose, California, 6,256 sports fans attended the October 21, 2012, groundbreaking for a Major League Soccer stadium, setting a Guinness World Record for the largest groundbreaking ceremony ever. FMC helped remediate and redevelop the site, once home to a former FMC division that manufactured and tested defense equipment.
FMC built a reputation as a responsible and reliable supplier of quality products because we carefully and systematically manage risks that might impact our integrity in the marketplace. We believe our customers’ valuable brands deserve our full measure of protection and we take steps to provide that protection not only in our manufacturing but also in procurement.
In early 2011, FMC formed a global procurement organization to oversee the sourcing of goods, materials and services across the company. This group reviewed best practices in procurement and vendor relationships to revise our own procurement procedures and assure that our program is best in class. As a result eProcure was launched in 2012. This program standardizes processes globally through a suite of online systems designed to efficiently and responsibly manage procurement worldwide.
These improved procurement systems help us analyze data in numerous ways and in real time. They also allow FMC to make informed and consistent procurement decisions that create cost- and risk-reduction opportunities.
FMC has long chosen to work with suppliers who share in our commitment to ethical and sustainable business practices. In 2012 we formalized that commitment by implementing a new supplier selection and management process that explicitly incorporates both minimum standards and preferred practices to support our sustainability principles. To explain our minimum standards clearly to existing and potential suppliers, we published FMC’s first Supplier Code of Conduct, which sets forth FMC’s expectations regarding legal compliance, environmental, health, safety, ethical, human dignity and fair labor practice issues. Suppliers also have a responsibility to take reasonable measures to ensure that their vendors and sub-contractors are acting in harmony with these same priorities.
In tandem with our Supplier Code of Conduct, our vendor management process evaluates supply chain partners using screening criteria that help us foster relationships with suppliers whose sustainability approach aligns closely with ours. In 2012, FMC began evaluating new suppliers using this vendor selection and management process. We continue to expand this program by soliciting comparable information from significant suppliers already approved by FMC when this new process was defined.