Research and Recognition

Product Stewardship

Koppers defines product stewardship as the ongoing effort to minimize the environmental health and safety impact of our products, including using alternative raw materials with a lower carbon footprint where feasible, evaluating the processes used to manufacture Koppers products, and working to reduce consumption of energy and water.

In the product lifecycle, every player in the process has to be aware and engaged in minimizing impact, including suppliers. We vet our suppliers using a Commercial Partner Qualification Process regarding the materials they use and other key policies and practices. Koppers also utilizes a global product and raw material risk assessment to establish risk profiles for safe handling by employees and end-users.  In addition, we track metrics for TSCA Import Certifications as well as regarding authoring of Safety Data Sheets.

Research Lab Assists in Sustainability

Researchers at the Koppers Global Technology Center (KGTC) create and test new forms of carbon pitch and other chemical products, both to extend our product line into new uses and markets, and at the request of customers. Located at the University of Pittsburgh Applied Research Center, KGTC—often in collaboration with outside entities—provides Koppers with key laboratory research capabilities and access to a local talent pool with the chemical engineering skills essential to our growth.

Stakeholder Collaboration and Recognition

Koppers commitment to sustainability has been demonstrated through our collaborative efforts with stakeholders, resulting in recognition by several customers and industry groups in a variety of ways:

  • Koppers in 2016 received an award from CSX, our largest customer, as part of the CSX Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Conference. CSX has hundreds of suppliers, and performs an annual survey of their safety, health, and environmental programs. As part of its Supplier Recognition Program CSX measures suppliers not only on their ability to perform their contracted duties, but also by the value and productivity they bring beyond the contract in four areas: Innovation, Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability, Customer Service Excellence and Strategic Value. In 2015 CSX requested Koppers to serve as a model for other suppliers on how we go about our sustainability business.
  • The Union Pacific railroad completes an annual scorecard for Koppers, measuring all aspects of the relationship, including sustainability metrics. In its most recent scorecard, Union Pacific noted Koppers reduction in CO2e emissions.
  • Koppers qualified for the National Safety Council’s Occupational Achievement Award in 2016 for the second year in row. This award requires a company to achieve a safety record better than 50% of the industry average.
  • The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development honored the Koppers Millington Plant for the fourth time with the Volunteer STAR (Safety Through Accountability and Recognition) award. The Volunteer STAR award is the state's highest honor for workplace safety and health, and a nationally recognized program. It is patterned after the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program, recognizing excellence in safety and health programming and performance. 
  • The American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) in 2016 approved listing PC’s MicroPro technology in the AWPA Book of Standards, to be published in mid-2017. This is a significant indication of a major industry association recognizing our technology as an industry standard.
  • Koppers is active in the Treated Wood Council (TWC), including having company representatives serve on its board. TWC sponsors industry related research, provides public services and industry information, and is represents the wood preservation industry in governmental affairs.