Welcome to Thomas Swan’s Fifth Sustainability Report.

One of the most encouraging things about sustainability is that we can all individually make a difference and that it makes financial sense to be a sustainable company. Even small changes at home or work add up to a significant impact when multiplied by whole nations or industries. This year we ran a campaign to encourage employees to turn off lights. The statistics provided by the carbon trust are remarkable. We are therefore in the process of installing automatic cut off sensors for all our non-safety critical lights across the site.

Thomas Swan & Co. Ltd have also committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Over the coming year we will assess our current carbon footprint and then work hard to reduce our emissions against this benchmark.

Modern Slavery Act

Thomas Swan & Co. Ltd. is committed to ensuring that all of its business operations are free from involvement with slavery or human trafficking. With sustainability firmly embedded in our company’s culture and strategy, we strive to continually improve in this important area.

Download Statement

Environment

Responsible Care and the Environment

As a company which is intimately involved in the handling, production, shipment and disposal of chemicals, we take all possible care to ensure that our activities are managed and monitored in a responsible way.

Environmental responsibility has been a recurrent theme throughout our history – the business was founded in 1926 by recycling slag from the local steel industry. More recently the core products from the 1970’s, such as Casamid™ curing agents for coatings, used water-based technology to replace more polluting solvents. Our polyurethane materials are similar, some using water instead of solvents. Pepton™, which is a key rubber additive manufactured at Consett, is a major energy saver for the rubber industry, allowing rubber to be processed much more efficiently.

We have established ourselves as UK leader in the application of environmental management systems and were one of the first recipients of the International Standards ISO 14001 award for environmental management.

Thomas Swan is also a long standing signatory of the Chemical Industries Association’s Responsible Care programme and was the first company in the world to gain external verification of its Responsible Care management system.

Schools

Science Education and Industrial Engagement

In the early 1990’s Tom Swan recognised the importance of engaging with children about the role of the chemical industry in our society, and commissioned a three year programme with the Chemical Industries Education Centre (CIEC) at the University of York. The Children Challenging Industry programme included specially designed class room sessions, with practical experiments, to capture children’s interest in chemistry and demonstrate the importance of the chemical industry. The project involved 44 schools and 1,300 children in North East England in the specialised teaching programme and industrial site visits.

At the start of the project the children initially perceived industry as “noisy, dark and hot”. Afterwards 90% of children completing questionnaires demonstrated a more positive and informed attitude towards the industry and the desirability of a career in chemicals.

For more information please visit: www.ciec.org.uk

School Visits

Thomas Swan & Co. Ltd. continues to engage with children in an effort to demonstrate the link between science and their world. Between 1996 and 2006 over 2000 children interacted with the company and over 1500 visited our site at Consett. Similarly undergraduates from Durham University Chemistry are invited every year to visit the site to demonstrate the link between their studies and industry.

We welcome any requests by schools, colleges or universities to visit our company and gain a better understanding of our business, as well as an insight into the chemical industry.

For more information please contact us through our enquiries page or call our head office and ask for advice.

Community

Engaging with our neighbours

Although the history of Consett is dominated by heavy industry, we have always understood the importance of listening to, engaging with, and being a part of our local community – especially as our manufacturing site is situated alongside homes and schools in Consett.

We make every effort to ensure that our activities cause as little disruption as possible but from time to time we recognise that individuals may wish to raise concerns. If you have any such concerns, or simply want to know more about our company and our activities please feel free to phone us and ask to speak to a senior member of staff. Or fill out the enquiry form or write to us and someone will respond to your message as quickly as possible.

Advice in the event of a major accident

As part of new Health & Safety regulations, Thomas Swan & Co. Ltd. is required to advise local residents on what to do in the unlikely event of a major accident; the advice is to remain indoors with doors and windows closed until given the ‘all clear’ via the emergency services. Ongoing information may be provided by local radio stations or the police.

We would like to stress that there have been no significant changes to the activities on the site, this advice is solely to comply with new regulations.

Ecovadis Sustainability Rating

We are proud to announce that we have obtained Platinum sustainability rating from EcoVadis. After achieving Gold status for three years in a row, the independent certification was received in December 2020 with an overall score of 73%.

This improved rating places the us within the top 1% of all companies assessed in its industry sector, an impressive achievement for an SME.

We also scored highly in various sub-sections, achieving top 3% in Environment, top 5% in Ethics (up from 18% in 2019) and top 8% in Labour & Human Rights (up from 24% in 2019).

These improved scores reflect Thomas Swan’s ambition to continually improve the operation of the business in a sustainable, ethical and commercially viable way.

 

Previous Sustainability Brochures

Sustainability Brochure 2019

This year we ran a campaign to encourage employees to turn off lights. The statistics provided by the carbon trust were remarkable and resulted in automatic cut off sensors being installed for all our non-safety critical lights across the site.

We also committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030, we will assess our current carbon footprint and then work hard to reduce our emissions against this benchmark. We will give more detail on how we will work towards this in future issues of our annual sustainability report.

Click the front cover of our 2019 Sustainability Brochure to view or download the full document.

Click to enlarge

Sustainability Brochure 2018

One of the most encouraging things about sustainability is that we can all individually make a difference and it makes financial sense to be a sustainable company. Even small changes at home or work add up to a significant impact when multiplied by whole nations or industries. It is remarkably easy to go about our daily routines without considering this precarious position and to comfort ourselves that climate change probably won’t impact our lives and that it is the job of industry and government to sort it all out. The stark reality, is that we all, individuals, companies and governments must act now.

Click the front cover of our 2018 Sustainability Brochure to view or download the full document.

Click to enlarge

Sustainability Brochure 2017

We are always searching for ways to maintain our business for the long term while reducing our impact on the environment and looking after our people.

Sustainability is a journey and we recognise that we will sometimes make progress in one area while occasionally falling behind in another. What matters is that we are open and realistic about our goals and results. This report does not seek to hide from our missed targets and therefore strengthens our resolve to do more over the coming year.

Click the front cover of our 2017 Sustainability Brochure to view or download the full document.

Click to enlarge

Sustainability Brochure 2016

In 2016, we launched our current five-year rolling strategy which placed greater emphasis on sustainability.

Our Purpose is to inspire and deliver creative and sustainable chemistry.

Our Vision is to be a pioneering, globally-recognised, sustainable manufacturer of speciality chemicals. But what is a “sustainable manufacturer of speciality chemicals?”– and why is it important that Thomas Swan embraces sustainability?

We believe sustainability means three things: to be a successful company for the long term; to reduce the impact of our operations on our planet; and to look after our people and community.

Click the front cover of our 2016 Sustainability Brochure to view or download the full document.

Click to enlarge

Sustainable Procurement

At Thomas Swan, we take sustainability very seriously, and this includes purchasing and procurement activities. This is why we have put so much effort into improving our EcoVadis score.

Having achieved an overall score of 73% in 2020, which gained us the Platinum award with EcoVadis, we aim to further improve our performance regarding Sustainable Procurement.

In 2020, we issued a Sustainable Procurement Policy attached here and also a Supplier Code of Conduct attached here. The Supplier Code of Conduct was sent out to all of our suppliers to gain their commitment to our requirements.

Following a review of our Sustainable Procurement programme, we have recently introduced a scoring system to assist us with supplier selection and vendor assessment. This will consider a supplier’s EcoVadis rating as part of the overall selection process.

We will post more information in this page as we develop our Sustainable Procurement drive, so watch this space as there is more to come!