How Corporate Sustainability Promotes Industrial Development

This year’s Climate and Society class is out in the field (or lab or office) completing a summer internship or thesis. They’ll be documenting their experiences one blog post at a time. Read on to see what they’re up to.

Jingchao WangC+S ’16

The picture of Wanhuan Chemical Group Industrial Zones. Source: WANHUA

Wanhuan Chemical Group Industrial Zones. Source: WANHUA

During my internship in Wanhua Chemical (America) — a large petrochemical producer with operations across the world — , I have participated in a project focused on chlorobenzene importation.. Chlorobenzene can also be used for the original materials for production. It is also a powerful solvent that can be used for the cleaning.

Chlorobenzene can be disposed of by burning it but that comes with drawbacks. According to NOAA, burning chlorobenzene in an open flame can form toxic phosgene and hydrogen chloride gases. Both phosgene and hydrogen chloride gases pose threat to people’s health and environment. Companies need to pay authorized people to burn it as well as the environmental tax.

That’s why recycling chlorobenzene is an attractive option. Not only can the cost decrease, but the goal of environmental protection can be achieved. However, this strategy also means if the recycled chlorobenzene is shipped back to factories, a new series of costs and permits for importation must be issued and assessed. In the previous years, the permit of importation was not allowed and the shipment cost is rather high. But with the relatively loose international trade restraints and cheaper shipment cost, the Wanhua headquarters has begun to consider recycling the chlorobenzene once again.

On the other hand, as part of its health, safety and environment goals to develop an eco-friendly, modern chemical corporation with zero injuries, zero accidents and zero pollution, it is environmentally necessary and commercially beneficial for Wanhua Chemical Group to adopt such a strategy. There are more other chemicals that can be recycled for the environmental protection and economic benefits.

Another example to achieve corporate sustainability is about logistics and streamlining production.

For example, Ningbo Industrial Park, one part of Wanhua Chemical Group, “subjects exhaust carbon dioxide to deep processing and refining treatment to generate food-grade carbon dioxide, so that annual carbon dioxide emissions of 150,000 tons can be reduced, which is equivalent to annual savings of coal consumption of 600,000 tons.” Moreover, Wanhua Chemical Group also set a target of zero fugitive emissions and organized emissions in order to meet the 100 percent of standards by using intrinsically eco-friendly designs. The design includes subjecting breathing gas storage tanks, volatile exhaust gas from wastewater treatment plant structures and volatile exhaust gas from loaders to closed systems, and collection and centralized treatment. In addition, operations have focused on leak detection and repair technology and comprehensive testing using greenhouse gas emission standards in the U.S. and the EU.

Along the way to become the international company, it is the necessity for Wanhua Chemical Group to implement a sustainability strategy. Sustainable development should be the continuous pursuit with simultaneously creating value for shareholders and the community. With the achievement of corporate sustainability, Wanhua can gradually establish its reliable and responsible image as a worldwide brand and long-term oriented economic success.

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