Sustainability updates

Sustainable operational excellence (SOE) has become our business strategy. Find out more about the actions we have taken to put SOE into our work in FY2015.

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  • Birla Carbon awarded Golden Peacock Global Award for Sustainability

    Birla Carbon was awarded the ‘Golden Peacock Global Award for Sustainability’ in recognition of its continued efforts in Sustainability.

    Birla Carbon was awarded the ‘Golden Peacock Global Award for Sustainability’, by the Institute of Director’s, India at an event held in London on October 18, 2016. The award was in recognition of Birla Carbon’s continued efforts towards achieving sustainable operations. golden peacock global awardsThe award was presented to Dr Gilles Moninot, Global Sustainability Director, Birla Carbon, by Baroness Sandip Verma, Global Chairperson, Advisory Council, Institute Of Directors, India and Chairperson, European External Affairs Committee, in the presence of Vijay Karia, Chairman & Managing Director, Ravin Group of Companies, India, Stephen Haddrill, Chief Executive, Financial Reporting Council, UK and Lt. Gen. J S Ahluwalia, PVSM (Retd), President, Institute Of Directors, India. Dr Santrupt Misra, Chief Executive Officer, Birla Carbon said, “The Golden Peacock award is yet another significant recognition of our continued and unwavering commitment to sustainability. We closely monitor and assess the environmental impact of our operations and work towards taking proactive steps to ensure we are the supplier of choice for our customers, in addition to being the employer of choice for our employees.” He further added, “At Birla Carbon, we strive to ensure that our work is consistent with our vision to be the most respected, dynamic and sustainable global carbon black business.” Commenting on this achievement, Joseph Gaynor, Chief Legal, Sustainability and Risk Officer, Birla Carbon said, “This award is a testimony to the innovation and pragmatic implementation of our strategy. This achievement is a major milestone in our sustainability journey, and our proactive approach towards carbon stewardship is just one example of our focused efforts in this area.” Birla Carbon’s approach to Sustainability is focussed around its Sustainable Operational Excellence (SOE) strategy. The Company works towards efficient manufacture of carbon black to minimize any impact on natural resources and the environment and maximize positive impact on society and customers. The Golden Peacock Global Award for Sustainability is instituted to encourage initiatives in promoting sustainable development. It is a powerful self-assessment process and a way to build an organizations’ brand equity on 'sustainability'.

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  • Celebrating 50 years of Commitment in Europe

    Birla Carbon’s plant in Spain celebrated its 50th anniversary marking its long term commitment to the carbon black industry and customers in Europe.

    In an age where things change quickly and industry is in a constant state of flux, celebrating 50 years as a milestone is not a common occurrence. Birla Carbon’s Cantabria plant in Spain achieved this milestone this year, creating a landmark to its commitment to the carbon black industry in Europe and its ability to evolve as a sustainable, progressive partner.

    Sharing his thoughts on the milestone, Jacinto Zarca, General Manager, Birla Carbon Spain said, “We are a small big company. Small in the number of workers but big in turnover, profit and commitment to our customers and community. He further added, “We have proved over the last five decades that it is possible to evolve with the changing times, when we stand committed to our principles of sustainability and technology.”

    Speaking at the event, John Loudermilk, President, North America and Europe & Africa region, Birla Carbon said, “The Cantabria plant is the most efficient plant in the world in its energy cycle while manufacturing carbon black, providing both major cost advantages and environmental advantages ensuring the sustainability of our future.” For Birla Carbon employees in Spain, this was an opportunity to mark this achievement with representatives from local government, community and customers. The celebrations witnessed the presence of Miguel Angel Revilla, the President of Cantabria, Rosa Eva Díaz Tezanos, Vice President of Cantabria, members of the local community and few customers.

    More details of the event are available in the video link.

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  • Sustainable Health, Safety and Environmental (HS&E) - a Priority at Birla Carbon

    At Birla Carbon health, safety and the environment (HS&E) are a priority. Focusing on building and maintaining a sustainable HS&E framework creates new industry benchmarks.

    To move toward being the global leader in the manufacturing of carbon black, colleagues from around the world meet annually to review progress and realign HS&E objectives, while considering changing and ongoing needs of the industry. 

    Forty one participants representing 12 countries participated in the 2015 Global Birla Carbon HS&E conference in Budapest, Hungary in September. The objective of the conference was to build skills and knowledge of the participants to enhance product stewardship, commitment based safety, and sharing of best practices from across all regions. The goal is to have HS&E professionals energized with new information, new connections, and new resources to help them in our common journey toward HS&E excellence.

    “Our vision is to be the world’s most respected, sustainable, and dynamic global carbon black business. To achieve this, we continue to take actions that will enable us to succeed despite any volatile and uncertain scenarios. Sustainability is and continues to be an important part of Birla Carbon’s strategy. It is our goal to be recognized as the clear leader in sustainable practices in the global carbon black industry.  A key part of that endeavor includes our efforts in safety and environmental protection”, said Kevin Boyle, Chief Operating Officer, Birla Carbon. He further added, “With Sustainable Operational Excellence guiding our actions, I believe that Birla Carbon is well-positioned to face the future and continue setting examples in the industry.” 

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  • Promoting Science and Mathematics through scholarships

    Ten students from Kennesaw State University (KSU) in Georgia were awarded Birla Carbon scholarships for their outstanding research in various fields of science and mathematics.
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    Promoting Sustainability through education, Birla Carbon awarded ten students from Kennesaw State University (KSU) in Georgia with scholarships for their outstanding research in various fields of science and mathematics. “The Birla Carbon Scholars program at KSU has been a successful initiative towards promoting research and education by Birla Carbon. In its third year, we hope to see the program continue to support students who are keen to discover solutions that will positively impact our society and communities at large” said Tim Fedrigon, Chief Human Resource Officer at Birla Carbon. Students actively engaged as collaborators on projects ranging from methods that could potentially yield nanowires, to the use of bioinformatics to detect more accurately E. coli or salmonella contamination in packaged foods, to the remediation of soils contaminated during the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan as part of their projects. Nearly 100 students, faculty, staff and Birla Carbon executives reviewed the posters on display in the KSU Center. Katerina Slavicinskawas was declared winner of the Birla Carbon Scholars program for her project examining a mineral found in meteorites called schreibersite using infrared light to find traces of phosphate groups. The University’s, College of Science and Mathematics, officially recognized all 10 new 2016 Birla Carbon Scholars at the event. The scholars program was developed in April 2014 with a $250,000 pledge from Birla Carbon for a five-year annual gift of $50,000 to support research opportunities for students in Kennesaw State’s College of Science and Mathematics. The program has awarded 30 Kennesaw State students each a $4,000 stipend since 2014.

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  • How does a manufacturing plant stay continually safe? Yeosu shows the way!

    Ensuring the safety of every employee at the workplace is the uppermost priority of every management team at each of our manufacturing sites. This is no different at Birla Carbon’s Yeosu plant in Korea.

    “Every life is valuable. With this motto in mind, the Yeosu plant took up a series of safety initiatives to ensure all employees at the plant work in a 100% safe environment.  This is even more critical during turnaround time when many contractors are on our premises with jobs involving risky activities, such as work at height, hot work, lock-out/tag-out, and confined space entry,” said U D Lim, Plant Manager, Yeosu Plant.

    At Yeosu, safety is part of the plant culture and attaining the highest levels of safety lies in its preparedness. Employees and contractors have high levels of engagement and involvement in reviewing and executing safety procedures and processes. The turnaround planning and preparation towards a safe workplace begins months in advance. Employees and contractors have high levels of engagement and involvement in reviewing and executing safety procedures and processes. The plant itself goes into several day inspection shutdown to ensure every element of the manufacturing process is inspected and maintained. All this is done while keeping in mind production and delivery schedules to customers.

    As part of its ongoing adherence to safety procedures, the Yeosu plant has a minimum of two tailgate safety meetings with direct reports twice every week. The Health, Safety and Environmental (HS&E) team conducts a daily safety briefing and meetings for all permanent and temporary employees before the start of work every day. The number of safety inspections which take place every month always exceed the prescribed number as per plant guidelines.

    In addition, the HS&E team runs periodic safety inspections for all firefighting equipment and facilities, quarterly surprise internal safety inspections, and safety training for all officials from contracting companies.

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  • Red Tag Day drives Sustainable Operational Excellence at Trecate

    The Birla Carbon Trecate plant employees in Italy have their own unique way of ensuring the highest levels of operational excellence at their plant.

    During ‘Red Tag Day,’ employees at the plant along with the maintenance team found a unique way to identify and eliminate minor feedstock, air, water, and vapor leaks and spills at the plant.

    Teams of colleagues from Administration, Production, Quality, Human Resources, Warehouse, and Maintenance were equipped with a note pad and pen, red spray paint and red tags. They moved throughout the plant looking for the smallest levels of leaks and spills around the entire plant premises including office, machinery, and storage areas. During their walkthrough, they marked these areas with a red tag so that the Maintenance team could easily locate and resolve issues efficiently resulting in optimum performance at the plant.

    “At the Trecate plant we look forward to making Sustainable Operational Excellence an engaging experience for all employees. Red Tag Days are now a kind of “tradition” started 4 years ago. This year the day was named “Red Barbeque Day” and the activity of identifying the leakages was celebrated with a real barbeque in the mechanical workshop. By participating in identifying and marking the smallest errors, we ensure optimal production time at the plant and employees build their confidence in the reliability of tools and machinery at their workplace.” said Giuseppe Zanotti, General Manager, Trecate, Italy.

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  • Greenfield facility in China

    Our new greenfield facility in Jining will be built with the best available technologies to reduce its impact on the surrounding environment and communities.

    The new facility will be a joint venture between Birla Carbon and China’s Jining Carbon Group. The plant will be built just north of Jining City, Shandong province, China, and will be constructed in two phases, with an expected final capacity of 240,000 tonnes per year.  The plant has been designed with Sustainable Operational Excellence (SOE) in mind: the best available technologies will be deployed, ensuring that its direct CO2 emissions per tonne of carbon black produced will be even lower than the current benchmark, while the selected boiler and dryer will minimize NOx emissions and operate at maximum efficiency by extracting thermal energy from the steam turbine. Furthermore, the plant will produce a large amount of energy through steam and electricity for local industries and communities. This greenfield facility will have a lower overall impact on the surrounding environment. Production is expected to commence in 2019.

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  • Safe water for all by 2018

    By signing the WBCSD WASH Pledge, we commit to achieving safe access to water, sanitation and hygiene for all our employees by 2018.

    Experts believe that more than 1.8 billion people lack access to safe drinking water worldwide, while more than 4 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is one of the priority areas identified by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and its Action2020 business sustainability agenda.  Following the steps taken by our parent company, the Aditya Birla Group, and as an industry leader, Birla Carbon signed the WBCSD Pledge for Access to Safe WASH at the Workplace in FY2015, committing to achieve this target globally by FY2018. We have begun a company-wide self-assessment to identify our WASH gaps, in order to develop specific action plans for rapid execution.

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  • Celebrating a decade of values

    In 2015, we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Group values: Integrity, Commitment, Passion, Seamlessness and Speed.

    Celebration highlights from our Indian plants include events bringing employees together, such as competitions, Saturday discussion brunches (Renukoot) and the implementation of a “Living the Values” reward scheme (Patalganga).

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  • Energy seminars across Birla Carbon to drive energy efficiency

    Every year the Business Energy and Utility team engages representatives from all plants in each region to participate in discussions on energy efficiency. The regional teams share best practices from across the Birla Carbon world and adapt key learnings to drive energy efficiency.

    Three such conferences were held in late 2015 and early 2016 in South Asia and Middle East, Far East Asia and Europe and Africa regions.

    The initiative is led by Mr Dhiraj Marakana, Senior Vice President, Power and Utilities, Birla Carbon who explains, “All Birla Carbon plants have the opportunity to be energy sufficient by optimizing their energy cycle and using their tail gas (a waste product of carbon black production process) to generate energy for consumption. This not only makes Birla Carbon self-sufficient in its energy needs, but also gives us an opportunity to share the surplus energy with local energy networks and neighbouring manufacturing sites.”

    The seminar goes beyond Birla Carbon participants to include best practice sharing from key channel partners like Siemens, Forbes, Alstom, ABB, Doright  and Thermax who showcase their new developments in the field of energy monitoring and efficiency, providing an opportunity to Birla Carbon to go a step further in its quest to be more energy efficient.

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  • Birla Carbon received three awards and three commendations as finalists at the Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards

    Birla Carbon was declared - ‘Asia’s Most Transparent Report’, ‘Asia’s Best Materiality Report’ and ‘Asia’s Best Online CSR Communications’. Birla Carbon also received a commendation certificate as finalists for ‘Asia’s Best Supply Chain Reporting’, ‘Asia’s Best Community Reporting’ and ‘Asia’s Best Environment Reporting’ categories.

    “At Birla Carbon, Sustainable Operational Excellence (SOE) frames decisions and actions across our entire business. We constantly seek ways to make our operations more sustainable, because we believe efficient management methods will enable us to maintain long-term and firm industry leadership” said Joseph Gaynor, Chief Legal, Sustainability and Risk Officer, Birla Carbon.

    The Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards recognize and honor sustainability reporting leaders in Asia. The awards celebrate best practices in sustainability reporting and communications.

    “We are at a time when Sustainability drives business strategy in many leading organizations. Our various stakeholder groups review us through the sustainability lens” said Dr Gilles Moninot, Global Sustainability Director, Birla Carbon. “The recognition we have received not only reinforces our belief that we are on the right path but encourages us further to seek excellence in Sustainability.”

    Birla Carbon was shortlisted in six of the 14 categories for the awards. Other participants included. Bharti Airtel, Airport Authority Hong Kong, Singtel, PTT Global Chemical Public Company, Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia & the Pacific (ADFIAP), ACWA Power and many more business houses in Asia.

    Since 2013, Birla Carbon has released three Sustainability reports, the last one of which was a digital only version to avoid the printing of the report on paper.  The 4th report is expected to be published on line by mid-June.

    Show more information on Asia’s best in Sustainability for Transparency, Materiality reporting and online CSR Communications
  • The key criteria to winning this award is the efficient use of energy products, considering energy efficiency to be an interdisciplinary field

    The key criteria to winning this award is the efficient use of energy products, considering energy efficiency to be an interdisciplinary field.

    “Birla Carbon is committed to delivering solutions to customers through safe, energy efficient and sustainable processes” said Laszlo Dobos, General Manager, CTC, Hungary. “This recognition is a result of the entire site’s and our business commitment to be the leading sustainable carbon black producer in the world.”

    Werner von Siemens was a German inventor and industrialist who founded the electrical and telecommunications company Siemens. The Werner von Siemens Award is presented for efficiency in the field of industry, energy, infrastructure and healthcare. The award aims to promote and distribute good practices and give recognition to technological achievements, promote rational consumption of resources, awareness and motivate economic operators to invest in efficiency and bring forward competencies, know-how and innovative character of Hungarian companies.

    As part of the award submission, a video on the plant’s commitment to safety, environment and energy efficiency was presented. Click here to view the video.

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  • Silver CSR Rating from EcoVadis

    Sustainability consultancy EcoVadis ranked Birla Carbon in the top 10% of suppliers in the Environmental, Fair Business and Labor categories.

    EcoVadis, a third-party consultancy specialized in Supplier Sustainability Rating, assessed Birla Carbon’s profile on key sustainability indicators in March 2015. The assessment includes a comparison with over 150 other suppliers from related industrial sectors. Overall, we scored 57%, an improvement on our previous score of 52%, achieving a strong ‘Silver CSR Rating’. More importantly than the score itself, it places us in a top-10% leadership position within our supplier group. Of significance, we achieved best-in-class scores for three of the four performance categories: Environmental, Labor and Fair Business practices. Our points of improvement were accentuated by our score on Sustainable Procurement practices. While the score in this area was less positive, we believe that this relates more to the limited visibility of our practices, rather than the practices themselves.  It is our intention to reverse this perception during FY2016 by reinforcing our leadership position with a ‘Gold CSR Rating’ in the near future. 

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  • Fireproofing our Business Continuity Plan in Spain

    Validating our Business Continuity Plans (BCP) is critical to our resilience development process. In preparation for the upcoming Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) audits, the Europe & Africa region has been challenging its BCP to ensure readiness.

    A crisis scenario drill was held on March 27, 2015 at our Spanish facility in Santander. The desktop exercise, conducted in a safe office environment, simulated an electrical fire breaking out in the neighboring plant, exposing the inter-dependence between our sites. Other fallout details were included: for example, the fire was to be followed by cold weather, and a media helicopter covering the incident would later crash into a feedstock tank, resulting in a major oil spill and subsequent explosion risk.

    As the crisis unfolded, participants were presented with a series of situations that required decisions and actions. The team adopted crisis management approaches by discussing and agreeing on issues, risks and proposed actions. The exercise produced several valuable lessons, including the importance of external communications (more specifically, with the media), the impact and management of community relations and the need for greater BCP understanding. 

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  • Our Code of Ethics

    Since its integration in 2011, Birla Carbon has developed a Code of Global Ethics and Compliance Standards (Code of Ethics) to ensure that all of our workforce has a shared set of policies to guide their daily actions and reaffirm our commitment to the highest level of ethical and legal conduct.

    In consultation with legal and compliance experts, and together with affiliated companies, our Legal Department devised our Code of Ethics, which was endorsed by the Senior Management Team (SMT) in FY2014. The next step was training, which was no small task: Birla Carbon’s diverse workforce comprises approximately 3,000 employees located in multiple countries across the Americas, Europe & Africa and Asia.
    Our Legal, Audit and Human Resources Departments worked with external compliance experts to develop an e-learning module in our 11 local languages illustrating the Code of Ethics. Through anecdotes and hypothetical cases, employees learned how to apply the guidelines and principles of the Code of Ethics and tested their understanding of it. Upon completion, each employee received confirmation of their compliance with the Code of Ethics.
    The online course was successfully completed in FY2015 by over 1,500 employees, while the remaining participants completed it in a classroom setting. The course content is being modified for the FY2016 training, and will highlight different areas of emphasis and enhanced reporting capabilities.

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  • Keeping our customers informed

    Through the International Carbon Black Association (ICBA), we work closely with our peers to ensure that our material Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are as up-to-date, consistent and informative as possible. 

    These SDSs provide peer-reviewed scientific information about our product, its potential impacts and how to handle it safely. Each SDS is designed to inform the user about any hazards related to working with carbon black.
    Furthermore, Birla Carbon works to mitigate the risks of occupational exposure, such as dust exposure. We conduct comparisons between our plants and those of our competitors through third parties, to share and identify best practices.

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  • Focus on product consistency

    Birla Carbon customers expect a product that consistently meets the highest quality standards.

    For carbon black, these standards focus on three key areas:
    colloidal properties, or those related to the carbon black morphology (microscopic physical characteristics);
    physical form, referring to the bead quality (size and hardness) of carbon black; and 
    cleanliness, in terms of the purity of our product.

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    Birla Carbon rigorously tests its carbon black through internationally recognized test procedures and processes. Based on customer requirements, and regular reviews of the correlation between our customers’ laboratories and our own, we define Upper Specification Limits (USL) and Lower Specification Limits (LSL) for each test. Our products only leave our gates if all of the required parameters are tested and the product is certified within these limits.

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    Our testing processes are validated through a process capability index (Cpk), which statistically measures their reliability. All of our testing equipment in our quality departments are regularly serviced, checked and calibrated to guarantee maximum product quality. 

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  • Taking the Korean example

    We source our feedstock oils from a variety of locations around the world.

    We have diversified our oil procurement in recent years considering regional suppliers as much as possible. This approach reduces our carbon footprint with no compromise on quality.

    One region that has recently reviewed its oil procurement process and feedstock diversification is Europe and Africa. A team led by the regional Technology Manager, David Nuñez, was formed to tackle this situation. Inspired by the success of our Korean sister plant in FY2013, the European team traveled to Yeosu, Korea, to gain a better understanding of how diversification was achieved there through SOE and best practice sharing. The Korean experience showed us that it is possible to find solutions that are closer to our operations and more sustainably viable.

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  • World Class Manufacturing

    Following in the footsteps of its parent company, the Aditya Birla Group, a framework of best practice excellence named World Class Manufacturing (WCM) is currently being introduced to all Birla Carbon sites. 

    The WCM framework deals with all aspects of business excellence, focusing on leadership, stakeholders, operational and financial performance, customers and markets, processes, employees and society. WCM began in the Aditya Birla Group in 1996, and has since matured, allowing all of Birla Carbon’s sites to gain a greater understanding of the significance of business excellence. 

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  • Keeping track of our environmental efforts

    Our Sustainable Operational Excellence strategy can be seen in how we monitor our facilities in terms of Health, Safety & Environment (HS&E). 

    Audits in this area are conducted on each site every two years. In FY2015, our site in Hungary underwent a four-day environmental audit by a third party. The review of our compliance with current permits and authorizations, regulations and recordkeeping requirements produced zero observations, marking a first for Birla Carbon in our drive for excellence.

    Another site that leads the way in environmental practices is Hamilton, Canada. A founding member of the Hamilton Air Monitoring Network, the site was recognized in April 2015 as an Energy Saving Champion committed to conservation and sustainability for a healthy environment and cleaner Ontario. The award was achieved through the successful implementation of multiple energy projects, including lighting upgrades and improving energy consumption initiatives.

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  • Fighting drought in Brazil

    Certain regions of Brazil faced their worst drought for 80 years during FY2015.

    As this crisis was a reality for São Paulo state, our Cubatão plant team launched an internal campaign to raise awareness for employees and contractors. Furthermore, the plant implemented measures to offset the impact of the drought.
    These measures included installing overhead pipes to replace underground piping, the installation of new hydrometers and the intensification of inspections to identify and fix any leaks. The measures led to greater control of water use. “Water rationing is a reality in São Paulo City, which means it is vital that we protect this natural resource. In this context, this campaign is so important,” said Alessandra Gomez, Sustainability Director, South America. 

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  • Saving water in Gummidipoondi, India

    Our Gummidipoondi facility faces a difficult situation: it is located in an area afflicted by water scarcity, yet requires a large quantity of water per day to operate. 

    Water is brought in from surrounding wells, but its inconsistent quality requires a purification process, which leads to significant water loss. Furthermore, the carbon black operations at Gummidipoondi produce large amounts of effluence and use water for cooling processes and reactor cleaning.
    The local process development team considered these problems and identified solutions, which included: stopping the flushing of water during the cooling process; the deployment of a vacuum pump to remove water from collection tanks for its reuse within the facility; diverting the water used to clean the reactor into a purification facility; and the recycling of effluents into cooling processes through treatment. These solutions were effective means of drastically reducing the amount of water lost through our processes and responsibly preserving this natural resource in an area in which water is scarce.

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  • Putting down roots with our customers

    During their visit to our Indian plant at Patalganga, customers have been creating lasting ties of a different kind: by planting trees. 

    Each tree bears the name of its planter, and is cared for, watered and maintained by local personnel. To date, the roots of over 60 trees have been firmly embedded, as a symbol of the long-lasting ties built between Birla Carbon and our customers. On an annual basis, two photos are sent to the tree planter by Unit Head Vinay Bhalero and Chief Marketing Officer Rahul Kohli: one of the tree when placed in the ground, and another showing how thick, deep and lasting these bonds have grown.

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  • HS&E week in Brazil

    Our Cubatão and Camaçari plants in Brazil held a Health, Safety & Environment (HS&E) Week with the participation of employees and contractors. 

    Based on the Safety 24/7 concept, the event focused on safety behavior and employee awareness for incident and accident prevention. A theater performance depicting “Man and the Environment” closed the week, highlighting man’s effects on the natural world.

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  • Creating a safety culture in Alexandria, Egypt

    Health, Safety & Environment (HS&E) training was delivered to all of our employees in FY2015, focusing on how to increase the involvement and accountability of managers, supervisors and employees to foster a safer working environment. 

    After the training, the management group in our facility in Alexandria decided to impart what they had learned to their contracted workforce.
    As a result, the facility has experienced a reduction in both the frequency and severity of near misses and injuries, increased employee engagement, improved job planning and integrated risk assessments into daily activities. The training has increased responsibility in the facility, with both the employed and contracted workforces putting more effort into looking after each other, and taking a crucial step towards a culture of safety excellence.

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  • Taking PRIDE in a successful project

    A change that affects an entire organization will always require hard work and dedication to ensure that it is implemented successfully. 

    The company-wide rollout of SAP over the last two years has been no exception. Under Project Fusion, the rollout generated a visible interest, not least when a group of over 50 people congregated in Marietta, USA, to initiate the first phase (Blueprint Phase 1) in March, 2013. The team then dispersed across the regions, overcoming the challenges of expatriation and moving to new locations, cultures, languages and time zones.
    Working together through seamless communication, the Project Fusion team dedicated time away from their family to ensure the success of the rollout. The effort demonstrated by the team, as reflected by the timely completion of the SAP implementation, saw many members receive PRIDE awards for their outstanding contributions. 

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  • Making moves within Birla Carbon

    Mark Bass was promoted from Sales Director, Rubber Blacks, North America, to Global Sales Head, Specialty Black Business. The role involved a physical move: from Marietta, USA, to Bangkok, Thailand.

    What thoughts did you have when considering the move?
    The prospect of becoming the Global Head of Sales for our Specialty Blacks Business presented several opportunities for me. On the one hand, there was the obvious professional development associated with increased global responsibility; on the other, the move gave me the opportunity to build a team in a growing area of the business, and to live abroad with my family.

    How easy was the transition? What support did you get from Birla Carbon?
    While moves of this nature are unavoidably hectic, Birla Carbon offered support in Thailand and at home (USA) to make the transition as smooth as possible. This included a wide variety of activities: from assistance with the visa and immigration process to making sure that my family was settled and informed in Thailand, as well as helping take care of the home that I was leaving in USA. I was and continue to be especially pleased with how the company has responded to the needs of my family, as their support has been key to the success of our move.

    Would you advise employees to consider making similar moves, where possible?
    The answer certainly depends on the individual and their - and especially their family's - inclination for living and working abroad. It's an adventure and can prove both serendipitous and unexpectedly challenging, sometimes in the same day. The experience has thus far proved rewarding for my family, and we would most certainly recommend an international assignment for anyone who is open to the idea of living and working in another country and a very different culture. It will not always be easy but the difficulties are far outweighed by the experience and what you learn about yourself.

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  • Working better together in Korea

    Our Korean unit held two workshops to promote interaction between the company and employees in FY2015.

    The “One-Mind Workshops,” which lasted for two days, aimed to create a more united, healthier and stronger workforce.

    The first workshop, held in October 2014, focused on how to create a better workplace in three key areas: preventing sexual harassment; managing healthcare; and working together to develop a stronger organization. The follow-up event, held in November 2014, required employees to build teamwork by physically working together in outdoor activities, including mountain climbing.

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  • Self-defense in Europe

    In December 2014, self-defense courses conducted by local police departments were offered to female employees at our locations in Santander, Spain and Hanover, Germany.

    Topics included proper techniques for falls, protective actions and striking an attacker. Twelve women participated in the four-hour course, and the overall response was very positive.
    “It was a good opportunity to learn how to act in dangerous situations,” said Noelia Domínguez (Spain). According to María González (Spain): “Everybody needs to do this training. It not only builds your confidence, but makes you feel safer, too.”

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