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AHIce: Making the Financial Case for Environment Management and Safety

In his keynote address on May 16 to attendees at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exhibition, Rohm and Haas Co. Chairman, CEO and President Raj Gupta offered his insight into the value of environmental health and safety in a global business.

Gupta explained how chemical manufacturer Rohm and Haas, headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa., has integrated social responsibility, environmental responsibility and economic growth into its business strategy.

"Some see these as conflicting, but I see them as complimentary," Gupta explained, adding, "The challenge today is to create greater social and economic well-being through sustainable development that respects the environment."

He urged companies that want to succeed both financially and environmentally to "be aware of [their] current [environmental] practices and what the environmental and safety consequences are" of those practices.

Gupta said Rohm and Haas participates in the American Chemistry Council's Responsible Care program, and utilizes a sustainable development-based management system that utilizes new technology to manufacture products in a way that has less of an impact on the environment and which looks at the impact of products from "the cradle to the grave." For example, Rohm and Haas produces building materials that can replace wood, saving trees and forests. The company has also developed products to replace formaldehyde and arsenic-based products, produces water-based paints and lead-free products.

In addition, Gupta said Rohm and Haas has 13 of its U.S. manufacturing sites enrolled in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program. The company has 100 manufacturing and 27 research facilities in 100 countries and employs approximately 16,000 workers.

Gupta attributed Rohm and Haas' environmental and safety success to the efforts of employees, new technology now available and its management system. According to Gupta, "Sustainable development is the sum total of these three things. It makes it possible to be good and to be 'green' as well."

If companies such as Rohm and Haas plan to remain competitive in the global marketplace, Gupta suggested relying on some of that new technology. "We need to seek alternatives and new energy sources if we are to remain competitive. "It's a tough global marketplace. But we are as well-positioned as any specialty chemical company in the world."

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