Leadership messages

Portrait of Dr. Santrupt Misra

Dr. Santrupt B. Misra

Chief Executive Officer

“The past year, just like the ones before that, has been an exciting one for Birla Carbon as we completed our quest to excavate and formally embed our “Purpose” globally in the business. Perhaps we have been delivering this Purpose for generations, subconsciously.”

We will do it more consciously from now on, and in an aligned way. It’s been an insightful and inspiring process as we engaged with cross-sections of our people to deeply explore and bring to the surface who we are at the core and what drives us, so that we can all recognize, leverage and exemplify that purpose in the work we do together, every day.

Our Purpose, “Share the Strength,” describes who we have grown to be and the role we play in society – through the many strengths we’ve built and acquired so far and the new strengths we are continuously seeking and uncovering as we work with our customers, partners and employees. In doing so, we help them to discover their own strengths and reinforce the same goal.

Our history has always been about working collaboratively and building on ideas to create the next opportunity. We want to build further on that foundation by more deliberately embedding our Purpose in all our activities and interactions. A strength to us is at its relevant best when it is active, and it can be active only when it is shared with others to make others better too. Going forward, you will see an even more dynamic Birla Carbon focused on collaboration and engagement to rapidly share the strength. Our internal processes will focus to fuse our strengths that are spread in pockets in different parts of our business.

Our Purpose will also have a strong “outside-in” element. We will actively seek to learn from others’ strengths. We don’t have all the answers and we’re constantly trying to collaborate with others to find those answers. Within the carbon black industry and beyond, we share many of the same challenges. To really Share the Strength, we need to be more effective at communicating those needs to each other.

We hope to create a new magic at Birla Carbon through our Purpose to Share the Strength. People are excited and the leadership is committed. That is also our strength and we hope to share it more. We invite you all to join us in creating this new magic. Our success last year in leveraging our geographical advantage in Europe and Africa and our increased presence in China through our new world-class facility in Jining were positive signs of our new beginning.

I welcome you to our sixth Sustainability Report, covering FY2018, and invite you to see for yourselves the progress we have made.

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Portrait of John Loudermilk

John Loudermilk

Chief Operating Officer

“I’m very proud of the major strides we’ve taken in our sustainability journey in recent years – both across our own operations and our supply chain. This year, we celebrated the start-up of our new facility in China.”

With best-in-class processes and technologies, it complies with stringent environmental regulations that don’t come into play until 2020. We’re being held up as a model for environmental management in China – a beacon for other industrial players to visit and learn from. For me, this is a great example of our Purpose to Share the Strength.

As we’ve matured, we’ve become effective and efficient operators. Continuing to improve will require more innovative, step-change successes; we now need to step back and challenge ourselves further, to look at what’s possible, to foster innovation and experimentation at every level as we innovate new solutions with our partners and work to solve the complex challenges society faces.

Looking ahead, we’re strengthening our cross-functional collaboration. We are particularly focused on ensuring more of our customer-facing organization is constantly exploring the trends and needs of our customers and their markets, so that we can drive innovative solutions and enable our customers to meet their sustainability objectives.

To support this drive for innovation, we’re also increasing our appetite for risk in exploring new ideas and innovating. We believe that our greatest strength lies in developing a wide range of cutting-edge solutions, rather than just a few opportunities that are highly likely to succeed. In some cases, we may fail, but a challenge tested is an opportunity to learn and, ultimately, create and execute more life-changing ideas. If you look at our R&D investments, historically we have focused much of our effort on optimizing our plants and processes, and it’s delivered great results. Going forward, we’ll target a greater proportion of our investments towards research and innovation that will drive new solutions for the market, to offer a broader array of products and drive process innovation at a much higher pace.

It’s an exciting time – for our employees, our customers and their customers – and I look forward to seeing the results we can deliver when we work together to Share the Strength.

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Portrait of Joe Gaynor

Joe Gaynor

Chief Legal, Sustainability and Risk Officer

“At its core, Birla Carbon’s business is extracting, modifying and utilizing carbon atoms to “Share the Strength” of carbon black with society. Capturing carbon comes with its challenges and we constantly test ourselves to lead the way and do it better than anyone else – both within our industry and beyond.”

What does that mean? It means ensuring we capture every single carbon atom in the process, it means finding ways to capture and use our by-products in the most valuable and sustainable way, and it means minimizing our use of natural resources to ensure we’re the most efficient operator. In short, we want to be the best stewards of carbon.

To truly be the best requires constant focus. We must continue to be innovation leaders. In 1941, we were the first company to build an industrial electron microscope and we shared that technology within our own industry and beyond. Today, we must help people understand the unique value of carbon black, and discover new ways it can be used to improve people’s lives. We continue to develop long-term relationships and strive to be the partner of choice for our customers. Going forward, we must continue to actively listen to all of our stakeholders to ensure everyone is heard, to learn together, and to build familiar bonds that foster mutual and continuous improvement.

Operating sustainably means balancing many challenges and priorities. We continue to achieve world-class safety performance, but there is even more we can do. We’re exploring innovative ways to minimize our environmental impact and making significant investments in air emission abatement equipment and energy recovery technologies. But these investments require a holistic approach. One challenge is how we deal with the waste by-products of pollution control. Another is the need to balance the water and energy consumption of new technologies. We’re investigating exciting opportunities such as pollution control equipment that utilizes the circulation of seawater in order to significantly reduce the waste by-products of air emissions control processes. We believe the potential for technology like this to reduce our environmental impact and that of our entire industry is huge. Looking to the future, we believe there are many more opportunities to Share the Strength, and we are determined to uncover them.

Read more from Joe Gaynor, Chief Legal, Sustainability and Risk Officer