Living out Sustainability
The ECKART employees in the city of Zhuhai in southern China can see every day why it is worth protecting the environment. Situated on the South China Sea, Zhuhai is regarded as China’s most sustainable and livable city, and this was confirmed by a city ranking undertaken by Qinghua University in Beijing and the consultancy company McKinsey. ECKART is doing its part to ensure that Zhuhai remains worth living in. For example, modern filter systems clean exhaust air. Water consumption, CO² emissions, and waste volumes have decreased steadily in recent years. The occupational safety there is exemplary, and a strict code of ethics guarantees fair business practices.
Still, sustainability is an elastic term that is subject to interpretation. For this reason, ALTANA uses independent audits to objectively measure its own performance in this area and to continually improve it. Riko Huang does not leave sustainability to chance either. The Environment, Healthy and Safety (EH&S) manager at ECKART in Zhuhai has contributed significantly to making “Made in China” a trademark of the ALTANA Group when it comes to environmental protection as well – and rightly so, as an independent sustainability audit in December 2015 attests.
BASF, a key customer of ECKART in China and the ALTANA Group as a whole, initiated this audit. ECKART Zhuhai mainly provides BASF with aluminum pigment pastes for automotive coatings, which give vehicles an elegant exterior. BASF has been a member of the Together for Sustainability (TfS) initiative since it was founded in 2011 by international chemical companies. Their aim is to work with qualified suppliers that meet quality, ecological, and social-behavior requirements as well as they do themselves.
Audits safeguard this. To this end, TfS uses the system of the independent and globally acknowledged rating agency EcoVadis. Its procedures are based on international standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative, the United Nations Global Compact program, and ISO 26000. The accredited auditors who work for TfS assess the companies they examine based on 32 criteria, ranging from management and environmental aspects, to health and safety, to corporate governance and social commitment.
Success Can Only Be Achieved Through a Joint Effort
At ALTANA, sustainability is an elementary factor for value-enhancing management. This issue is to be anchored more and more in the minds of employees, because it is essential for the company’s success. Thus, for example, ALTANA has participated in EcoVadis ratings several times and received EcoVadis Gold Status in 2016. As a result, ALTANA is among the top twelve percent of the comparable companies that were evaluated by EcoVadis.
In 2015, ECKART convinced the auditor in Zhuhai with its comprehensive sustainability concept. Sometimes detours lead to success, says Riko Huang. “In China, togetherness and cultivating relationships are very important. So, we also organize sports activities and excursions during which we talk about environmental issues.”
ECKART Zhuhai received 144 of 200 possible points in the TfS audit, an outstanding 72 percent. The few suggestions for improvement were implemented quickly – within four months rather than the year offered by the auditor.
The audit not only showed the manager where his company stands today. The results also provide impetus for the future: “Our employees are proud of our good score and are highly motivated to keep on improving together.”
The right man in the right place. Riko Huang is not only extremely passionate about his job as a sustainability manager, but also highly qualified. During his studies he had a dual focus: safety technology and business management. He tirelessly works to make employees even more sensitive to sustainable behavior. An information platform he initiated enables his company to engage in exchange with other ALTANA companies in China. With his knowhow, he also supports our customers and the local government regarding sustainability issues and advises companies in the region.
SUSTAINABILITY MADE IN CHINA
Ecology, economy, and social responsibility are elementary factors for sustainable, value-enhancing business at ALTANA. The company continuously has the effectiveness of its sustainability efforts examined by renowned rating companies such as EcoVadis – always with very good results. ECKART in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai also sought an outside view. In the sustainability audit of the renowned Together for Sustainability initiative, the site received 144 of 200 possible points and thus was able to convince its large customer BASF, among others.