March 09, 2022
SUMMARY: SI Group is making strides to become a leader of sustainability within the industry. There’s a real appetite to progress this initiative and produce lasting results. This is about improving things for everyone, including the communities where we and our customers live and operate.
Sustainability has risen to the top of the agenda across almost every industry, and performance additives manufacturers are no exception to this rule. More stringent regulations across the world, paired with higher expectations among end-use product consumers, are driving companies to adopt greener processes and improve their sustainability credentials.
SI Group is readily meeting this challenge. We have been awarded the gold EcoVadis award for social responsibility, placing us in the top 5% of over 50,000 companies. We sat down with Dave Brassington, our Senior Director of Regulatory Compliance to find out more about how SI Group is making strides to become a leader of sustainability within the industry.
Starting with EcoVadis, could you tell us about the sustainability initiatives SI Group has undertaken in the past?
SI Group has always had a significant focus on sustainability; it’s been a priority for us for many years. This is partly exemplified by our three successive EcoVadis silver ratings in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Now, SI Group has successfully built on this to achieve our gold rating – something we’re very proud of. We did this by looking at criteria across the four sustainability themes that EcoVadis assesses: environment; labor and human rights; ethics and sustainable procurement. We then spent a significant amount of time looking at our policies regarding these areas and focused on bringing in effectual processes and procedures relevant to them on a global level – as opposed to a regional plant-by-plant basis.
Something that helped supplement our initiatives so far has been our strong understanding of regulations and how we apply this to support our customers. We train customers, for example, on regulatory issues that could impact them further down the line. We also educate them on hazardous materials and highlight the potential regulatory and legislative risks of specific chemistries.
What steps is SI Group currently taking to drive sustainable initiatives?
One of the most important things when taking steps to improve your sustainability credentials is understanding the metrics behind your current environmental impact. Once you have a grasp of these, implementing lasting and effectual change is much easier. Boiling it down, you are essentially looking at what is being asked and going out to answer it.
SI Group really is currently in “Phase 1” of the journey toward meeting sustainability targets. We’re looking at the statistics and the facts, trying to answer questions like: What energy are we buying that’s coming into the plant? What fuels are we using at the plant? How much CO2 are we emitting?
The bulk of the greenhouse gases currently emitted by SI Group come under Scope 1 and Scope 2 of the United Nations Greenhouse Gas Convention, meaning emissions we create directly on our sites, and indirectly when we buy energy from other sources. The great benefit of understanding these figures is that we can calculate specific statistics, such as the amount of CO2 produced per kilo of product. Taking that down to a product level allows you to compare individual products based on how much CO2 they release and support your customers as they complete lifecycle assessments.
As another part of this data collection process, SI Group has begun taking steps to compare analogous plants. By looking at similar plants, you can benchmark and compare them, allowing you to see where specific plants are better than others when it comes to sustainability. This information shows you potential ways to apply greener practices across all plants and lets you know how effective they are.
Once these metrics are understood, you can start implementing your sustainability strategy and looking at technologies that can be leveraged across your plants. This may include, for example, more efficient burners, alternative power sources like solar power, oil jacketed vessels to lower CO2 emissions and recycling plants. But identifying your key emission sources is a key first step in this process.
We have also begun looking beyond ourselves too, identifying where in the supply chain we can start engaging with more sustainable suppliers.
How is SI Group driving this project internally?
This initiative is being driven from the very top of SI Group, which really supports the overall mission. For example, all business units are driven at the corporate level and given executive oversight. Additionally, Mike Farnell, our SVP General Counsel & Chief Sustainability Officer, reports directly to the CEO. Sustainability is given a high priority across the business and monitored closely by the executive team.
The executive interest in reducing our environmental impact aligns with SI Group’s dedication to driving a greener tomorrow. Every level of our business is focused on it.
This is rapidly becoming the norm in the wider industry as well. SI Group’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) report utilizes both the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). Financial institutions are beginning to take note of both of these reporting methods when making investment choices. Whether you’re a public or private company, having a recognizable report based on these standards is going to help improve your image with shareholders and private equity investors.
So, what’s next for SI Group’s sustainability campaigns?
After SI Group compiles the ESG report and sets some stakes in the ground in terms of metrics, the company can begin driving more impactful change.
Our new Vice-President of Innovation, Narsi Devanathan, for example, has a remit to look at what new technologies we can bring into SI Group which will lower the use of fossil-based materials and reduce regulatory impact.
Looking forward, SI Group will be defining goals for 2025, 2030 and onwards on CO2 emissions, and looking at technologies to reduce our use of energy. Equipped with more board oversight, there’s a real appetite to progress this initiative and produce effectual, lasting, and demonstrable results. This is about improving things for everyone, including the communities where we and our customers live and operate. We’re on a journey and are investing time and effort into sustainability to become better stewards of the environment.
To learn more about our sustainability credentials, take a look at our news story announcing our gold EcoVadis award: https://siigroup.com/News/ArticleID/192/SI-Group-Ranks-in-the-Top-5-Percent-for-Global-Corporate-Social-Responsibility
Dave Brassington is the Senior Director of Regulatory Compliance at SI Group