Measuring to Manage Progress

  • A new management information system, FOCUS, went into service in October 2017, after three years of planning and testing. Combining several different systems, FOCUS provides a one-stop display to help manage safety, compliance, incidents, process excellence, and more. FOCUS enables multiple users being able to input data, makes information sharing easy and intuitive, and aligns with key corporate goals. The new system enables our front-line supervisors to enter incident information in real-time and provide more information about incidents. Both of these improvements help create a better corrective action process.
  • Koppers commitment to the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care® standards were enhanced in 2017, as the company moved to comply with revised industry standard RC14001. The new standard calls for: a more prescriptive focus on leadership commitment and involvement; greater focus on stakeholders that can impact or be impacted by our operations; and two-way communication among all parties, rather than top-down communication internally, aligning perfectly with the principles behind Zero Harm.  
  • A collection of global company leaders and plant managers gathered at the second annual Zero Harm-Zero Waste Forum to review successes, share best practices, and learn about new employee engagement programs and waste reduction initiatives. The Forum continues to foster leadership development and promote collaboration among global employees.
  • Members of the Koppers Board of Directors’ Safety, Health & Environmental Committee, along with members of the company’s senior leadership team, again made periodic trips to company facilities to interact with team members and get a true sense of progress and the work remaining to achieve long-term safety and sustainability goals. Leroy Ball, President and Chief Executive Officer, visited 19 different Koppers facilities globally in 2017. In most visits, Leroy allocates substantial time to meet with site safety councils to gain as much practical information and perspective on safety practices and issues as possible.
  • As part of Koppers continued commitment to reduce emissions, a new naphthalene distillation facility in Stickney, Illinois, promises to reduce vehicle emissions by processing raw material onsite, rather than transporting it hundreds of miles. An additional scrubber will limit emissions from the plant itself. The new plant is expected to eliminate hundreds of truck, rail, and barge shipments each year compared to current operations. Previously, different intermediate streams were processed in separate operations located in Follansbee, West Virginia, Clairton, Pennsylvania and Stickney. Koppers has invested more than $65 million to consolidate all processing activities at Stickney, thus avoiding unnecessary transportation of materials.  
  • At our new distillation facility at Nyborg in Denmark, capacity has been doubled while energy consumption has decreased by 25%, and emissions of sulfur oxides (contributors to acid rain) and nitrogen oxides (contributors to airborne pollutants) have plummeted. Sulfur oxides, in fact, have dropped significantly from 159,000 kilotons in 2015 to 12,000 kilotons in 2017 (figures corrected from 2017 corporate sustainability brochure).
  • At Koppers Australian wood treating sites, we replaced our entire loader fleet with fuel-efficient Volvo machinery, reducing diesel consumption by approximately 30% and lowering the number of hours those vehicles need to be in service, with the corresponding reduction in emissions.
  • A long-term aggressive energy management plan in place at our facility in Mayfield, Australia, continues to drive reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gases. The plant is currently exploring plans with a third party to use waste heat to generate electricity, then purchase that electricity at a discounted rate.
  • An onsite fire at the Koppers facility in Auckland, New Zealand, in April 2017 damaged both the production plant and nearby administrative offices. While losing power, gas, and water, the facility maintained operations and did not miss any deliveries. Koppers decided to build a new facility with improved safety features, primarily eliminating any human contact with chemicals of any kind.
  • When severe weather threatened the Koppers plant in Somerville, Texas, with possible flooding and high winds, leadership there drew on experience from a 2016 flood, placing concrete barriers to block water from going into treating facility from a creek behind the building. Even after suffering 19 inches of rain over three days, that preparation paid off, as the plant experienced no damage.