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Sustainability in Indian Chemical Industry–  Rubamin's journey so far

2020

Written by: Bhuwan Purohit

The acknowledgment of the necessity for ‘sustainable development’ in India can be traced back to the 1980s and 1990s. The period between 1980 and 1990 provided the background for the model of ‘corporate sustainability’, which is prevailing today. Sustainability necessitates businesses to think of the world as a unified structure, in which the decisions taken by the businesses have comprehensive outcomes, which have an impact beyond boundaries and timelines. With the projected world population of 9 billion within the next 30 years, sustainable development is not a fantasy anymore. We strongly believe that sustainability is a compelling truth that has to be taken very seriously. If we fail to amend the existing state of affairs, the situation may worsen in the coming times. For that reason, companies need to definitively engross themselves in sustainable development practices. Only through an active participation by all the players in different industries, can an answer to the current pressing situation can be found.

The evolution of the concept of the Three Pillars - people, planet and profit – can be said to be a breakthrough that led to a stronger enunciation of the environmental and social impressions of the chemical manufacturing process. There arose the need for restructuring the business models in such a way that all the three parameters are met simultaneously. This development is conceivably best exemplified by the models of sustainability followed by the companies in the chemical industry that follow sustainable chemical processes. In India, the chemical industry has been bound by a horde of rules and protocols. Most of these regulations are all-encompassing, in view of the environmental impacts of the chemicals, which also affects the various life forms on earth.

Strategic approach to sustainability

The conception of sustainable development was the highlight of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development that was conducted in Rio de Janeiro in the year 1992. The conference manifested the first global effort to sketch out tactics and policies for progress towards a more sustainable design of development. Representatives from around 178 nations had attended the conference.

The idea of sustainability is acknowledged as being a factor that drives the business, as well as the result of the business – these are not two different things. Identification of the different types of risks involved and the associated opportunities are an enduring process. That is the reason why now most of the chemical companies in India keep the message for sustainability as their company’s motto. Other than the commercial sustainability programme, sustainable chemical manufacturing concepts are also being articulated. Avenues of actions are being formulated about procurement of sustainable raw materials, and better performance of products in the environmental point of view.

Rubamin – Walking towards Sustainability in Indian Chemical Industry

Top chemical companies in India have shown a never-ending promise to sustainability. Many of the companies in the Indian Chemical industry have conceptualised and materialised a wide range of programmes, trying to draw inspiration from the global leaders in chemicals. But a very few companies, such as Rubamin, which is among the best chemical companies in Gujarat, have established sustainability in their core business and processes, dedicating their energies and resources towards focussing on inclusive sustainability issues such as personal safety, product superintendence, resource efficiency, waste management, environmental management and social responsibility.

Sustainability is the fundamental principle behind all the activities at Rubamin. Here are some of the highlights that keep Rubamin apart from the others –

  • Recycling of Hazardous Industrial Waste – We are the leading waste management company in Gujarat, and carry out hazardous waste recycling and in doing so we decrease the load on landfills. The metal obtained by recycling the hazardous waste at Rubamin saves precious natural resources. Besides, the metals are convalesced at much reduced levels of carbon when compared to the conventional primary operation or refining and that minimizes the harmful impact on the environment. 

  • Recycling of Used Catalysts – Rubamin, one of the catalyst recycling companies in India, recycles consumed catalysts to recover incorporated metals such as Molybdenum, Cobalt, Tungsten, Nickel, Vanadium, etc., which are not widely available in India. With this process, we have established ourselves as a zero waste recycling technology company, contributing to the nation’s total resource efficiency strategy. 

  • Zero Waste Disposal – All the recycling activity at Rubamin is executed in a state of the art chemical facility which ensures zero solid waste to landfill. Additionally, the facility has zero effluent expulsion, making it a distinctive hazardous waste management system. In other words, Rubamin ensures cleaning up the environment of hazardous recovering valuable metals without any waste load, thus following eco-friendly recycling services

  • Circular Operation – We are the leading circular recycling company that recycles the hazardous waste from oil refineries and convert the recovered metals into better quality chemicals that are again pushed back to the same value chain thus maintaining a circular operational system. This characteristic circularity in Rubamin’s operation coupled with zero waste practices makes it one of the most distinctive recycling operations, recognized globally. 

  • Waste Heat Recovery – There is a mechanism to capture the heat emanating from the treatment of incoming hazardous waste and convert it into steam. This steam is then supplied to the system for driving the downstream operations. This is another way by which we nullify the environmental emissions and energy necessary for carrying out the green tech recycling operation. 

  • Sustainable Operating Processes - To add to our sustainable methods of operations, we are making an allowance for operating some of the processes with renewable energy along the lines of government regulations to make the energy more sustainable and favourable to the environment. In this way, we are emerging as one of the most sustainable chemical companies in the world.

  • Conservation of Natural Resources - We are also planning to start a new project on the conservation of rain water for utilization in regular operations so that our dependence on existing water sources is reduced by almost 30%. Rain water harvesting is a very popular sustainability strategy being followed even in households.

  • Sustainability of People and Process – Rubamin lays equal emphasis on its people, by putting additional efforts on the health and safety of the workers. We are constantly working towards making the operation free from any kind of threat, by periodically engaging in activities such as HAZOP studies, laying down systems and procedures for work permits, periodic fire drills, safety workshops, etc. 

Rubamin’s dedication towards sustainability is a new benchmark for the peers, globally. The team at Rubamin is constantly working on the areas that impact the suitability of the business for the economy and how it can benefit the people around. 

Concluding thoughts

Rubamin believes that sustainability in business operations is the best way to achieve true economic and social development. The company’s head office is housed in a LEED certified building. All the operations are regularly reviewed for energy efficiency, while formulating systems and targets for even more efficient supervision of energy requirements. The company’s CSR initiatives extend from imparting education at primary level, to promoting art and culture among the younger generations. One of the programs is helping over 450 children from various villages across Gujarat, creating a better future for them.