Johnson Matthey’s water use increases 11% due to upswing in production

Johnson Matthey has reported an 11% increase in water consumption in 2012/2013 compared with 2011/12, primarily due to an increase in production and new plants coming on-line in India and the US.

According to the specialty chemicals company’s 2012/2013 annual report, water use increased at 11 sites, with total consumption rising to 2.4 million m3 from 2.2 million m3 in 2011/2012.

The rise in operational activity also pushed up total effluent by 9% to 1.5 million m3. Of the total effluent produced, 86% was discharged to local authority sewers after treatment and “in accordance with local discharge consent agreements”, while 14% was discharged to water courses after treatment and within quality limits set by local water authorities.

In addition, the group’s total energy consumption reduced slightly to 4,648 thousand GJ and by 2% relative to sales, due to measures at the company’s sites to improve energy efficiency.

Of the energy consumed in 2012/13, 64% arose from direct sources, such as various fuels and natural gas combusted by the group, and 36% from consumed electricity generated by a supplier.

The global energy bill for 2012/13 was £55.6m, an increase of £0.9m compared with 2011/12, reflecting higher global energy costs.

According to the company, business growth often means higher production volumes and the commissioning of new manufacturing lines, “both of which increase the challenge of energy conservation”.

The company’s energy consumption impacted its “Global Warming Potential” (GWP), where it reports greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from process and energy use and then converts the total group energy use to tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent using national and regional conversion factors for each emissions source.

Based on the company’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, total GWP in 2012/13 decreased slightly, down 1% to 413 tonnes CO2 equivalent, with reductions in gas use at some big user sites and the uptake of “green electricity usage” at its West Deptford facility in the US.

Of this year’s total, 38% resulted from Scope 1 emissions (generated by the direct burning of fuel, predominantly natural gas) and 62% from Scope 2 emissions (generated by the purchase of grid electricity).

However, this year Johnson Matthey has elected not to collect or report data from its Scope 3 emissions sources. Previously the company has reported emissions data from travel by employees on company business but “this figure represented less than 2% of our emissions in 2011/12 and at this stage we do not consider them to be material”.

Looking at its waste, the group generated 110,448 tonnes during the year, a reduction of 8% in both absolute terms and relative to sales. Waste to landfill also decreased significantly in the year, down 70% to 3,218 tonnes, benefiting from a reduction in waste from construction activities at the company’s sites as a number of projects to expand its operations reached completion.

Establishing its environmental impacts, Johnson Matthey aims to ensure that the future environmental performance of the group is aligned to the Sustainability 2017 Vision of “cutting carbon intensity by half, achieving zero waste to landfill and halving key resources per unit of output”.

Leigh Stringer

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