Joe Truini As printed on April 1, 2002 of the Waste News issue
Vancouver, British Columbia - Industrial waste generators are shifting
the way they buy chemicals, moving to manage programs to reduce
hazardous waste and the liability and expense attached to it.
Chemical management reduces a company’s cost
of chemical use and improves environmental performance. It simple
can mean reducing the amount of cleaning fluids a company is using.
But many manufacturers employ complex programs to cut back on chemical
use in several departments.
The complexity of such programs has given rise to
chemical management companies, which specialize in reducing costs
and the environmental liability associated with chemical use. There
are only about 10 companies worldwide specializing in comprehensive
chemical management, including a handful of chemical corporations
that offer the service, said Thaddeus J. Fortin, CEO of Haas Corp.,
a West Chester, PA, chemical management company.
Haas does not make money by selling chemicals. Rather,
it works off of an incentive basis, which moves away from consumption
in favor of efficiencies and optimization. The firm has offered
services for about 15 years, but was awarded its first comprehensive
contract in 1994.
“The goal chemical management is less is more,”
Fortin said. “The less we buy, the more we make.”
The cost of managing chemicals throughout their lifecycle
is four to seven times the purchase price of the chemical itself,
said Fortin, who spoke last month at Globe 2002, one of the world’s
largest business environmental conferences, held every two years
Chemical management companies have spawned from the
automotive industry’s innovative approach toward chemical
purchasing in the late 1990s. Automakers started asking their chemical
suppliers to take on more responsibility given that they were the
experts in chemicals.
“Automobile manufacturers were finding themselves
in the business of chemicals and not in the business of cars as
much,” said Darcy Whaley, a spokeswoman for the Chemical Strategies
Partnership in San Francisco.
About three-quarters of the auto industry have adopted
programs, much more than any other industry segment. General Motors
Corp. was one of the first to implement a program, Fortin said.