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Product responsibility

Sustainability is at the core of our growth strategy, and we recognize our responsibility to produce a high-quality product while mitigating any potential effects it may have on people and the environment.

Our approach to product responsibility is divided into two key areas: safety and stewardship. We understand that it is of utmost importance that our carbon black is safe for our customers’ specific uses. At the same time, product stewardship ensures all our people understand exactly how our carbon black is made and the role they play in manufacturing safety. It is important that we help our customers handle and use carbon black effectively and safely and that we act responsibly across the entire value chain.

How do we create safe products?

Our customers rely on us to develop safe carbon black that they can incorporate into their products. We ensure that our carbon black not only meets but exceeds regulatory requirements. We remain abreast of any regulatory or market developments, enabling us to support our customers in meeting their own regulatory obligations and ensuring an uninterrupted supply of carbon black.

We thoroughly test our carbon black to ensure that it surpasses regulatory health, safety and environmental requirements and that it is of the highest quality. This includes conducting and commissioning product safety studies with renowned third-party institutes through our industry association, the International Carbon Black Association (ICBA).

We understand our responsibility to educate and guide customers to handle our carbon black product safely and minimize any potential environmental impact. This includes ensuring we have the correct infrastructure in place throughout the supply chain to prevent the release of carbon black dust into the open air.

Leading on product safety through innovation and collaboration

Carbon black plays an important role in many food and human contact applications, so product safety is a vital part of the manufacturing process. A key aspect of this is providing robust scientific evidence that finished articles containing carbon black do not release carcinogenic compounds related to poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).

Investing in health and safety

We ensure that all our internal and external customers are fully informed about the safety of our products, 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.

Birla Carbon has been an active member of the CB4REACH consortium since its inception over 10 years ago. The consortium addresses the regulatory issues of our carbon black product related to the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulations. For instance, we are diligently preparing for the substance evaluation process due to be carried out in 2021 by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) as part of the European Chemicals Agency’s Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP) to determine whether any health or safety risks exist with carbon black.

CB4REACH

Enhancing customer understanding

Customers and end consumers want to understand more about carbon black. They can find up-to-date and accurate information through Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), labels and product stewardship statements.

We respond to direct queries from our stakeholders. In FY2020, Birla Carbon received over 1,100 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 continuously educate our sales and distribution network about carbon black product safety and its regulated applications.

All product stewardship statements can be found on our HSE page, under Form Letters.

Statements on Product Stewardship

Product stewardship

We continue to build a culture of product stewardship throughout our operations, 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 are doing at all stages of process development and production changes.

Our Product Stewardship Standard (the Standard) requires enhanced testing intervals for all products and provides a robust description of which actions will prompt product retesting at a manufacturing site. Each site is required to send samples of the carbon black they are producing to our world-class laboratory in Marietta, USA, where they are logged into the laboratory information management system (LIMS), ensuring full traceability.

The Standard is enforced on-site by our Product Stewards, who monitor progress and employee training through annual self-assessments. The Stewards participate in regional Product Stewardship Committees, which report to a Global Product Stewardship Steering Committee. To effectively benefit from the Standard, our Management of Change Standard ensures we formally document any changes that could potentially impact our product.

In FY2018, we approved a project to automate SDS distribution, which will help to ensure continued compliance and increased efficiency across our global operations. This project was implemented in FY2019, and we are currently in the process of evaluating the systems for this to ensure effective communication with our existing data management systems.

Product responsibility across the value chain

We divide our value chain into four areas:

  1. 1. Carbon extraction, refinement and transportation
  2. 2. Manufacturing process
  3. 3. Transportation to customers
  4. 4. End product

1. Carbon extraction, refinement and transportation

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

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

2. Manufacturing process

Reactor

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

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

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

Bulk storage

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

3. Transportation to customers

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.

4. End product

Customer sites

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

How we are supporting the SDGs

SDG 3

Good health and well-being

We are leading the industry in terms of product safety through our active involvement in our international industry association.

SDG 12

Responsible consumption and production

Our Product Stewardship Standard ensures we are producing our carbon black in a safe and responsible way and that all our employees take ownership of the quality of our product.

SDG 17

Partnerships for the goals

We work with trusted third-party institutes to test our carbon black, ensuring it passes health, safety and environmental regulations.

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