Our activities impact the environment both directly and indirectly. We therefore want to make every effort to position ourselves as an environmentally friendly company within our business activities – a company that keeps its negative impact on the environment to an absolute minimum.
We are well aware that our business activities pose potential risks to the environment and that we rely on resources such as energy, water and building materials. We must therefore make every effort, now and in the future, to keep any negative impact on the environment as low as possible. To achieve this, we have set high environmental standards for ourselves.
Environmental issues are an integral part of our HSSE management system. Our policy on HSSE stipulates that we use energy and raw materials efficiently, avoid environmental pollution, and promote environmental awareness among our employees so as to minimize harmful influences. For many years now, we have been recording the frequency of product releases and their volume, the amount of energy and water used and the waste produced at our sites and have established corresponding KPIs that enable us to better identify and evaluate our development. Additionally, in order to evaluate our impact on climate change, our holding company Marquard & Bahls calculates the carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint for the entire group.
As a preventive measure in lines with our HSSE management we furthermore monitor the groundwater quality on our tank terminals on a regular basis. The obtained data is evaluated centrally by our environmental experts.
Precautions in Case of Spills in Water
Next to our efforts on preventing environmental damage, we focus on a purposive quick response to emergency situations. To ensure professional support in the event of a major oil spill, Marquard & Bahls is for its subsidiaries a shareholder in Oil Spill Response Limited. Oil Spill Response Limited is the world’s largest oil spill response company. In this course, at Oiltanking scenario-specific contingency plans were developed for all relevant sites, and practical training and drills were carried out. Marquard & Bahls is also an active member of the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF), a voluntary association of oil companies that works to ensure a safe and ecologically responsible operation of oil tankers and tank terminals.
Energy Consumption & Savings
Our company uses direct and indirect energy sources in its offices, and to operate facilities, sites, and vehicles. Direct energy consumption includes natural gas, heating oil and fuel for the operation of our pumps, boilers and operational vehicles. Indirect energy – mainly electricity – is used among other things for product pumps, lighting at our tank terminals, and last, but not least, the computers in our offices worldwide. Other indirect sources of energy that we use include district heating and, to a lesser extent, imported steam.
The most energy-consuming activity is the pumping that takes place at the tank terminals. To detect potential savings and take measures to improve energy efficiency, local activities are aligned with our detailed Energy Saving Guideline. At various sites, further potential for savings for the specific work environment can be identified and general recommendations can be derived.
Water is one of the most valuable and vital resources on earth. Although two-thirds of the earth is covered with water, only about 0.3 percent of it is drinkable and also very unevenly distributed. On top of this there are climate changes and accompanying droughts as well as a growing global water shortage. Given this situation, it is understandable that there is already fierce competition for this highly sought-after resource in many places. Some of our sites are also located in regions that are affected by water shortages or water stress. It is thus all the more important that we contribute to the protection of natural water resources and use the water required for our operational processes efficiently and that we do not have a negative impact on water quality.
Besides fresh water consumption in the sanitary facilities in the offices, water is mainly used at our tank terminals for cleaning tanks, hydrostatic tank testing and heating products. To minimize water consumption, we have integrated water management into Oiltanking’s Energy Saving Program as the greatest demand for water within the Marquard & Bahls Group is at Oiltanking. We are also examining the possibility of replacing the drinking water currently used for industrial activities with rainwater, and recycling our cleaning or cooling water.
Waste & Wastewater Management
We record industrial waste (e.g. metals, packaging) as well as hazardous waste (e.g. product remnants, separator residues), which requires special treatment and must be disposed of separately. Most of the hazardous waste at our plants consists of contaminated water from oil-water separators, and residues from tank cleaning. It is collected and processed by us or by licensed contractors.
We also distinguish between “industrial wastewater” and “wastewater requiring monitoring”: the latter is characterized by residuals that remain in the purified wastewater. We use vacuum trucks to pump it off and hand it over external, specialized companies for treatment, so that this type of wastewater also usually goes on to be recycled.
Our tank terminals use oil-water separators or complex wastewater treatment systems to process wastewater. Samples are regularly taken to monitor the functioning of the wastewater systems and to ensure that safety values are adhered to.