In a special interview for GPCA’s Insight, Yasser AlAbbasi, CEO, GPIC, and Board Member, IFA, discusses the company’s unwavering commitment to safety, its latest mission toward ESG and the role of Responsible Care® in advancing the industry’s sustainability performance
Since its adoption in 2009, how has the Responsible Care® program helped companies like GPIC improve the Environment, Health, Safety & Security (EHS&S) aspects of their operations?
Responsible Care® requires companies to establish a culture of safety within their organisations, which includes developing safety policies and procedures, providing adequate training and resources to employees and conducting regular safety audits. When we implemented these measures, it helped GPIC reduce the risk of accidents and incidents, improve the safety of our employees and minimize the impact of our operations on the environment.
This program can help companies to comply with regulations and standards, and encourages them to adopt sustainable business practices, which includes reducing their carbon footprint, conserving natural resources and minimizing waste. Implementing these measures has contributed greatly to our overall environmental performance, reduced costs and enhanced our reputation among stakeholders.
Can you share more about GPIC’s programs and initiatives aimed at raising the bar on sustainability and EHS&S?
We at GPIC place safety as our number one priority in all aspects of the company’s operations, and we take all possible measures to ensure that employees can work safely. The company has a clear policy of not conducting any business activities that would put employees at risk. Establishing a culture of safety requires consistent communication, encouragement and reinforcement at all levels of the organization, focusing on the key elements of a culture of safety. We ensure that every communication emphasizes the importance of safety and everyone’s role in maintaining a safe work place, from high level to daily shop floor meetings.
We also recognize the importance of sustainable development and its impact on our business and the world. To ensure that we are aligning our efforts with global sustainability targets, we have linked all of our corporate and departmental KPIs to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. By aligning our KPIs with the SDGs, we are able to measure and track our progress toward these goals. We are also able to communicate our sustainability efforts to stakeholders and demonstrate our commitment to creating a more sustainable future.
I am pleased to highlight that GPIC will be embarking on its ESG journey. We are committed to taking a proactive approach toward ESG and have set ambitious goals to reduce our environmental impact, promote social responsibility and improve our governance practices. As part of our ESG journey we are developing a decarbonization pathway to reduce our carbon footprint, improve energy efficiency and incorporate circular economy principles to achieve net zero emissions in line with the Kingdom of Bahrain’s commitment.
What more can the industry do to improve its emissions reduction and help to mitigate climate change? How is Responsible Care® supporting this objective?
In order to effectively reduce GHG emissions, companies should begin by measuring and monitoring their emissions and benchmarking themselves against their peers. By understanding their current emission levels and comparing them to industry standards, they can identify areas for improvement and set realistic goals for emission reduction. Once companies have established clear goals and targets for decarbonization, it is important to monitor their progress toward these targets. This enables companies to adjust their strategies and investments as needed to ensure they are on track to meet their commitments.
This approach enables companies to invest in new greener technologies and explore innovative solutions to reduce their emissions and maintain a competitive edge.
It will also allow companies to diversify and explore new products and cleaner feedstock such as biomass, which can also lead to new business opportunities and revenue streams.
Responsible Care® is a critical initiative in driving emission reduction as members of the Responsible Care® program are committed to continuously improving their environmental performance and implementing best practices in emissions reduction. The Responsible Care® Performance Metrics are a mandatory set of KPIs that GPCA member companies, including GPIC, have to measure and report annually, the KPIs related to climate change. These are comparable KPIs and drive improvement in performance through benchmarking.
What is the role of collaboration, transparency, and accountability in driving EHS&S improvement across chemical operations in the region?
Collaboration, transparency and accountability are essential factors in driving EHS&S across chemical operations in the region. GPCA is a great platform when it comes to collaboration among the chemical industry.
By working together with other companies and stakeholders, we can share best practices, identify opportunities for improvement and drive innovation. Through collaboration we will be able to build strong relationships with our stakeholders, which will enable us to develop more effective solutions to address environmental and social challenges.
Being a transparent company and sharing EHS&S performance with stakeholders builds trust and credibility and allows companies to learn from peers and identify areas for improvement.
Companies and leadership must be accountable for their performance to drive continuous enhancements and protect their employees, communities and the environment. They must take responsibility for their actions and performance and understand consequences for non-compliance and misconduct.
In summary, collaboration, transparency and accountability are interrelated and complementary factors that can drive EHS&S improvement across chemical plants in the GCC region. GPIC has been sharing its sustainability and Responsible Care® performance publicly with stakeholders through our GRI Sustainability Reports since 2010-2011. By issuing regular Sustainability/ESG reports, companies can highlight their commitment to transparency and accountability.
Why should companies focus on technology development and innovation to enhance their Environment, Health, Safety & Security performance in the GCC?
By investing in new technologies and processes that reduce emissions, companies can minimize their impact on the environment and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. In addition to environmental benefits, technological innovation can also improve the health and safety of workers and nearby communities. By investing in new technologies, such as automation and robotics, chemical companies can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, while improving the efficiency of their operations.
Technology development and innovation are therefore crucial for chemical companies in the GCC to maintain their competitive edge, while simultaneously addressing the unique challenges they face in managing EHS&S risks.
Companies that prioritize sustainability and innovation are best positioned to succeed in a rapidly changing global market place.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
As ESG factors are becoming increasingly important for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, Responsible Care® is an excellent example of how companies can take a proactive approach to addressing these factors, specifically in the petrochemical and chemical industry.
I would like to express my appreciation for the opportunity to contribute and for GPCA’s continuous efforts towards promoting Responsible Care® in the region.