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.
We also have much to celebrate, for example the reduction of our utility use with gas down 15.5%, electricity down 12% and water use down by 18% per product tonne since 2016.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 see the full document.