Product responsibility

Our approach to product responsibility is divided into two key focus areas: safety and stewardship. By safety, we understand that our carbon black is made safely for customers’ specific use. At the same time, our product stewardship approach ensures that our people understand how our carbon black is made and their role in its manufacturing process. It is important that we help our customers handle and use carbon black effectively and safely, and that we act responsibly across our value chain.

How do we create safe products?

Our customers rely on us to produce safe carbon black for their own uses. We ensure that our product meets and exceeds all regulatory requirements. We also remain abreast of any regulatory or market developments, enabling us to support our customers in meeting their own regulatory obligations.

We thoroughly test our carbon black to ensure that it surpasses health, safety and environmental requirements and is a high-quality product.

Product responsibility across the value chain

We divide our value chain into four areas:

Carbon extraction, refinement and transportation

Carbon extraction, refinement and transportation
Extraction and refinement

Extraction and refinement:

This carbon feedstock sourcing stage is not controlled by Birla Carbon. We expect our suppliers to maintain the highest ethical and environmental standards in their activities.

Transportation

Transportation:

We have health, safety and quality controls in place for handling all raw materials.

Manufacturing process

Manufacturing Process Head
Manufacturing Process
Reactor

Reactor

State-of-the-art technology enhances production efficiency.

Baghouse

Baghouse:

The best possible control of emissions and the containment of our carbon black powder is ensured through the use of the most advanced filter bags.

Rotary Dryer

Rotary dryer:

Strict product testing is conducted at this stage to meet customer specifications and safety standards.

Bulk Storage

Bulk storage:

Once customer requirements have been met, the product is directed to specific silos and later shipped.

Transportation to customers

Transportation to customers
Shipping

Shipping:

Before shipment to our customers, the carbon black is further tested by our quality department, which generates a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) to guarantee product quality.

End product

End Product
Customer Sites

Customer sites:

Our Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are continuously updated and provided in over 25 languages. Specific product safety documentation is supplied to customers on request.

Investing in health and safety

We make sure that our internal and external customers are fully informed on the safety of our product, focusing on product characteristics, safe, effective and approved uses, and health and environmental risks. Any information gaps are proactively identified for each product through our testing program.

All business areas contribute to continuing the consistency and compliance of our carbon black from a product stewardship perspective, offering input as to what can be improved. Internally, in FY2017, we have improved access to our product safety information to better serve our technical sales organization.

Enhancing customer understanding

Customers and end consumers want to understand more about carbon black. Our customers can access up-to-date and accurate information through safety data sheets (SDSs), labels and generic statements. In FY2017, we have increased transparency by making our SDSs publicly available online.

We also respond to direct queries from our various stakeholders. In FY2017, Birla Carbon received over 1,300 queries related to product safety and compliance with specific environmental or food contact regulations. In 100% of cases we sent an initial response within one business day. We also continuously educate our sales and distribution network about carbon black product safety and its regulated applications.

Product stewardship

We continue to build a product stewardship culture in our operations by creating an environment in which our people feel able to seek advice and support. We encourage employees to stop, think and ask about what they’re doing before and during process development and production changes.

In the last two years, we have developed and rolled out our new Product Stewardship Standard (the Standard) across all our sites. The aim is to ensure all employees understand our vision and the benefits of applying the Standard. In practice, the Standard requires enhanced testing intervals for all products and a robust description of which actions trigger product re-testing at a manufacturing site. To effectively benefit from the Standard, we have also amended our Management of Change Standard to formally document any changes that would potentially impact our product.

The Standard is applied on-site by our Product Stewards, who also monitor progress and employee training through annual self-assessments. The stewards participate in regional Product Stewardship Committees, who report to a Global Product Stewardship Steering Committee.

Rigorous testing, high quality productions

The Product Stewardship Standard was launched in FY2016; we have been conducting training and rolling it out in all of our locations. This requires several different functions to work closely together, under the guidance of the global Product Stewardship Manager.

To keep up to speed with events in all facilities, the Product Stewardship Manager maintains a comprehensive database, checking on gaps and reviewing and adjusting schedules. Each site is requested to send samples of the carbon black they are producing to our world class laboratory in Marietta, where samples are logged into the laboratory information management system (LIMS), ensuring full traceability.

Once the samples are logged into the LIMS database, they are immediately scheduled for Product Stewardship testing. All analyses performed follow internationally recognized test standards. All data generated is maintained indefinitely in the LIMS and the document management system, SharePoint.

“Our Product Stewardship process provides a rigorous test for our product. The validity and strength of the testing is such that our customers feel able to give us their own products for certification.”

Tina Rushing, Laboratory Information Supervisor, Marietta

  • Product stewardship

Decent work and economic growth

Carbon black ensures greater resource efficiency, which in turn promotes economic growth.

Responsible consumption and production

Carbon black helps society become more efficient in its use of resources, facilitating consumption and production.

Partnerships for the goals

We help achieve the goals by working closely with our stakeholders, particularly our customers.

Over 1,200 tests related to product stewardship requirements performed on our product.