Johnson Matthey’s West Deptford site in the US is the first Johnson Matthey site to achieve RC 14001 certification

Sustainability in West Deptford

Johnson Matthey's West Deptford site is the US base of the group's catalysts, chemicals and refining activities. It is also the first Johnson Matthey site to achieve RC 14001 certification. Achieving the standard is improving safe and sustainable practices not only on the site but also up and down its value chain.

The RC 14001 standard is part of Responsible Care, a programme adopted 25 years ago by the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Its member companies – around 200 in number – and their vendors (including transport and logistics companies) have to operate stringent programmes to safeguard the manufacturing, handling and shipping of chemicals.

When West Deptford decided to seek Responsible Care, it did not delay. Six months after the decision was made, the Stage 2 audit with no non-conformances was declared successful. The site already had the ISO 14001 certification and was able to build on its ISO work, adding the missing elements related to health, safety and security. In fact, most of these were already in place, thanks to the annual Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) and Security audits which are conducted as part of Johnson Matthey's North American and global requirements.

Under RC 14001 the site has to review how its suppliers and customers perform to ensure it is working with commercial partners who meet the same standards. In other words, it has to evaluate their EHS and security performance as well as its own. The standard also requires open communication with other stakeholders, and the site holds monthly Community Advisory Panel meetings with local companies and neighbours and has an active relationship with its local emergency services. It reports publicly on its annual water consumption and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), oxides of sulphur (SOx), and hazardous air pollutant emissions, together with its performance on other EHS and security measures.

The requirements of RC 14001 are wider than those of ISO 14001, and RC certification is providing an impetus for progress towards the Sustainability 2017 targets. The social, environmental, health and safety benefits of the more stringent RC standard are being realised. At the same time, there are potential financial benefits in making Johnson Matthey a clearer target for investors looking for socially responsible companies, as the Responsible Care requirements are in line with requirements of the FTSE4Good index and similar indices. There is greater demand to interact and invest in socially responsible companies.

The site has achieved a Sustainability Award 2012/13, with the judges impressed, in particular, by West Deptford's efforts "to influence its commercial partners both upstream and downstream in all pillars of sustainability".