Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability
Haldor Topsoe is committed to CSR and sustainability. Through our work with CSR and sustainability, we enable our customers to get the most out of their processes and products, using the least possible energy and resources, in the most responsible way. We thereby address the global challenges of sustainability as well as the principles of corporate social responsibility’.
At Topsoe we operate in a complex international business environment, with both cultural, political, and legal challenges. Our foundation is our values and our heritage: The Topsoe Spirit.
To ensure that we act responsibly, ethically and in compliance with laws and regulations at all times, we have the Topsoe Code of Conduct, a document that guides our business behavior, upholding the high standards the company was founded on and reminds us of the importance of what we do, but also how we do it. To be “a great place to work and have worked” is a central element of the Topsoe Spirit, and to us, this includes ensuring that our employees enjoy basic human rights. In addition, our CSR & sustainability policy acknowledges our responsibility not to cause or contribute to adverse human rights impacts.
In 2016, we continued our work to ensure diversity across our global organization. The current status can be reviewed in the Gender Representation section. Refining structures and ways of working is an ongoing process in an ever-changing business environment. In 2016, we have worked on several initiatives to meet the demands of stakeholders. One of these has been a more clear-cut corporate governance structure with increased transparency. Another has been preparing the launch of our global Compliance Hotline in early 2017.
In 2016, we have also strengthened our process for third party due diligence.
Sustainable working environment
As a global company with more than 2300 employees in 11 countries, ensuring the health and safety of Topsoe’s employees are of highest concern and we continuously work to make Topsoe an even safer place to work.
At our production sites in Denmark and the US, Topsoe’s employees work with chemicals that may have a potentially harmful effect if they are not handled correctly. Therefore, we regularly evaluate processes and procedures to ensure that we are doing our job in a safe way.
Ownership of hazards
Topsoe’s global Health and Safety Policy covers all employees at all our locations as well as our traveling employees. In the policy, we commit ourselves to constantly improve our safety culture.
An essential element of the Health and Safety Policy is the assignment of ownership to a hazard. Should any of our employees become aware of a hazard, that person owns it, in the sense that the individual is obliged to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to address the issue. This also serves as a reminder that safety is our collective responsibility.
All of Topsoe’s production facilities have health and safety systems to ensure continuous improvement and mitigation of hazards. We implement numerous local health and safety initiatives every year on this basis.
Keeping safety top of mind is crucial to maintaining and developing our global safety culture. Therefore, safety is always the first topic on the agenda at all senior management meetings.
In 2016, Topsoe launched a new global health and safety campaign. One element was “Well spotted” booklets, a tool for employees to report safety risks and the actions they have taken.
Later in 2016, a campaign targeting traveling employees was launched, including workshops with a focus on sharing knowledge about near misses.
Our longstanding focus and dedication to health and safety led to excellent results, as we saw a reduction in our lost time accident frequency from 4.2 in 2015 to 2.9 in 2016.
Topsoe has reduced lost time accidents by 39% from 18 in 2015 to 11 in 2016. To ensure that we learn from our accidents, the root cause of lost time accidents is always shared on our global intranet.
Topsoe’s largest production facility is in Denmark, while our other production site is located in the US. Ensuring compliance with all relevant environmental regulations is a key element at all locations. A central part of environmental compliance is assessing and mitigating environmental risks and hazards, and therefore we carry out local risk assessments regularly.
Our catalysts enable our customers to improve their environmental footprint substantially, yet production of catalysts is an energy-demanding process. For this reason, we continually evaluate options that could lower our energy consumption.
Production of catalysts involves chemicals which can potentially be harmful if they are not handled correctly. In the event of an accident, these chemicals could have a negative environmental impact. At Topsoe, we ensure that every necessary step is taken to make our production as sustainable and safe as possible.
In 2016, Topsoe published its first Global Environmental Policy, supplementing our local environmental policies. The global policy outlines our commitment to reduce our own and our customers’ impact on the environment. In the policy, we commit to using fewer resources, less energy, and set objectives for continuous environmental improvement.
At our largest production facility in Frederikssund, Denmark, we are always assessing and mitigating risks associated with chemical production. Continuous improvement is a central element of environmental regulation and our ISO14001 certified environmental management system.
Since 2014, we have improved our waste heat management in Frederikssund by constantly looking for new opportunities for recovering heat from the production processes. Our endeavors have been so successful that Topsoe, in cooperation with an international energy provider, is now able to lead waste heat to the district heating network in Frederikssund, saving valuable resources and providing a sound business case.
In 2016, we delivered 38 GWh of district heating to the network in Frederikssund, which would otherwise have taken approximately 3,450,000 Nm3 of natural gas to produce. The use of waste heat has reduced CO2 emissions by 7,800 tons, which compares to the yearly CO2 emissions from about 1,000 Danish citizens, based on per person average emission rates.
Sustainable supply chain
Being a company with own production, we may have potential CSR-related impacts in our global supply chain.
Working strategically with CSR in our supply chain is new to Topsoe, but in 2017 we will make preliminary assessments to determine what the potential for working with CSR in our supply chain is.
Sustainable products and solutions
We see it as our responsibility to enable our customers to meet higher emission standards without jeopardizing operating economy – a challenge which has led our customers in the refinery industry to look for new ways of dealing with sulfurous gasses.
An environmental business case
Today, the most compelling alternative to the traditional method for removing sulfurous gasses is Topsoe’s wet gas sulfuric acid or WSA technology. Lowering sulfuric acid emissions, which cause acid rain, is not only more efficient with the WSA technology, it is also more profitable. Because the WSA technology is both very energy efficient and also turns what used to be waste products into commercial grade sulfuric acid that can be sold for a multitude of purposes such as producing fertilizers.
Local community commitment
A thriving local community is to the benefit of all, including Topsoe. We believe that it is our responsibility to make a positive impact on the local communities we operate in, and we continuously explore opportunities to participate in relevant development projects. Our primary focus is to improve conditions for poor children while Topsoe also shares our passion for science and knowledge by supporting learning institutions and individuals.
It is a long-standing tradition in Topsoe to contribute to local growth and progress through donations. Our founder, Dr. Haldor Topsøe, personally engaged in several charity projects in communities where he did business and the need was obvious. Today, we continue donating to charities in his spirit.
One example is Street Child Care Uganda (SCCU) that operates in Kampala, Uganda, where street children live under extreme circumstances. Joshua Allans Lugya, who founded SCCU, know better than most, as he lived on the streets from age 11. However, his extraordinary talent for football got him off the streets when he was spotted by a player from Uganda’s national team, who got Joshua a scholarship for a boarding school.
After a short career in professional football, Joshua wanted to do something good for the children on the streets. His first initiative was to start a club where street children could meet to play football. This developed into SCCU where 40 children live today, while up to 83 more children come for shelter, medical treatment, and psychosocial support on a daily basis.
The organization also tries to bring homeless children back to their families if possible.
The Topsøe family engaged in helping Kampala’s street children when they donated funds for the building that now houses SCCU as a celebration of Dr. Haldor Topsøe’s 100-year birthday in 2013.
Since then, Topsoe has supported SCCU on a number of projects, including paying tuition for 37 street children. Topsoe has donated funds for medicines and sewing machines for the production of slippers, clothes and school uniforms for the children’s own use as well as a sale on the local market. Our donations have also paid for equipment for the football team and the dance group, and we have made it possible to upgrade the building with modern toilets and dormitories.
Topsoe has committed to continue our support of SCCU in 2017.