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Eastman Lowers Energy Intensity, Exceeds Release Targets

Eastman Chemical Company met a target of a 2.5 percent energy-efficiency improvement last year, lowering its energy intensity by six percent, according to the company’s second sustainability report.

The $6 billion supplier of chemicals to a wide variety of industries, including tobacco, construction, consumer goods, health, transportation and electronics, says that in 2010 it used 10.5 MMBtu per 1,000 kg of production, with the cut in intensity saving 3 million MMBtu and 275,000 tons of carbon emissions.

It has a target to reduce energy intensity 25 percent over the 10 years from 2009.

In the report, the company says cogeneration has been a major means of achieving these reductions, and provides about 90 percent of its electricity needs. Eastman’s processes are heat-intensive, so it uses combined heat and power from coal to recover heat that would normally be lost from electricity generation. It says that by using cogeneration, just one of its facilities saves the equivalent of taking 131,000 cars off the road.

Eastman also uses waste heat from some of its chemical processes to provide heat for other processes.

Natural gas provides about 50 percent of Eastman’s electricity supply, but the company says some of its heat-intensive processes require the use of coal. “As long as coal exists as an inexpensive and effective source of fuel, it will be used by companies around the world to power manufacturing sites and create quality products,” the report said.

Last year Eastman formed an energy survey team and developed a process to evaluate operating areas based on energy efficiency.

The company says it has achieved a 10 percent reduction in GHG intensity in 2010 compared to 2009 and is making progress on a commitment of a 20 percent reduction over 10 years, with a separate goal calling for a two percent drop each year. Eastman did not report its emissions in this report, but says these will be in a GRI supplement to be released in 2012.

The report said that Eastman met a target of a 10 percent reduction in hazardous waste indexed to production from 2005 to 2010, with last year’s hazardous waste output at 0.01 kg of waste per kg of production. Eastman also succeeded in meeting a target of a 15 percent reduction in volatile organic compounds from 2005 to 2010, with 2010 performance at 7048 tons, well below the targeted 8777.1 tons.

But the company missed a target for a 25 percent reduction in reportable releases from 2005 to 2010. This goal called for no more than 35 reportable release events in 2010, but the company had 55 – above 2005 levels.

Eastman also missed a target to cut Toxic Release Inventory releases to the air by 25 percent from 2005 to 2010, with 5.4 Mlb last year compared to a targeted 5.175 Mlb.

In the past year the company appointed a chief sustainability officer, Godefroy Motte. Eastman says it has been using sustainability as a lens for identifying growth opportunities, for example with recent acquisitions in its performance chemicals and speciality plastics segments.

Last year it met a goal of, within three years of 2009, completing LCAs on prioritized product families aligned with customers’ priorities. Eastman completed cradle-to-gate LCAs on about 60 percent of its product lines representing 80 percent of revenue.

It says it is continuing efforts with key customers and suppliers to define and implement life cycle thinking and is developing a stakeholder engagement plan to help it make progress in this area. The company says that highlights among its current line of sustainable products include Eastman Tritan copolyesters, Eastman Solus performance addivites, Eastman cellulosics, and non-phthalate plasticizers such as Eastman 168 and the Benzoflex product line.

The company says it is also looking beyond its own product portfolio for further sustainability-related growth opportunities. Last year it initiated a joint venture with Mazzacchelli 1849 SPA to manufacture compounded cellulose diacetate in Shenzhen, China. The substance, produced from 100 percent renewable softwood materials, is designed for use in ophthalmic frames and other injection molded consumer products.

Goals for the 2010 to 2020 period including reducing VOCs by 15 percent, nitrogen oxide 20 percent, sulfur dioxide 40 percent, hazardous waste 15 percent, and reportable releases and TRI emissions each by 25 percent.

Eastman is also aiming, over the next one to three years, to develop a baseline for water used at its sites in water-stressed regions of the world.

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