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Principles of Sustainable Development Q&A

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: October 9, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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GCI: What are the longer term ramifications to the company? What does Cognis see as the result and benefits to the environment and, in turn, to Cognis customers?

Petersen: As all our activities are based on the principles of sustainability, it is all the more important for us to maintain a clear focus on ensuring that our manufacturing methods are kept as environmental compatible.

GCI: How often and how are benchmarks that govern environmental compatibility and social responsibility evaluated?

Petersen: Cognis subjects its sites to regular audits, monitoring the high standards of safety, health, and environmental protection. In so-called eco-inventories, Cognis provides its customers with all the environmentally relevant facts and figures relating to its most important products. Regarding aspects like raw material input, energy consumption, effluent, greenhouse gas emissions and non-recyclable solid waste materials, the result below the line shows the measurable ecological superiority inherent in the Cognis’ Strategy for Nature.

In 2002, Cognis launched a wide-ranging program under the general heading “25 by 2012”. Wishing to make a meaningful contribution to reducing environmental impact, Cognis aim in instituting this project is to achieve a 25% reduction in all the major indicators – that is to say specific energy consumption, emissions and wastewater, among others—by the year 2012. This overall company target is reflected facility by facility in Cognis’ Master Plan processes, whereby specific site conditions are taken into account. The environmental targets are accompanied by ambitious goals in the fields of raw material sourcing, safety, health and human resources, the purpose being to focus the organization on all those essential aspects that characterize a sustainable company.