According to The Essential Chemical Industry online, while consumers purchase many of the industry’s products directly, 70 percent of manufactured chemicals are used by other industries, including the chemical industry itself. Worldwide sales from the chemical industry were more than $3,500 billion in 2011. Given the large-scale batch production methods typical in the industry, real-time control throughout the entire manufacturing process from incoming ingredients through final product inspection is critical to reduce waste of precious resources and avoid the high cost of out-of-spec products. A highly regulated industry, more than 60 countries are now participating in the worldwide “Responsible Care” initiative, committing industry associations and companies to: “Continuously improve the environmental, health, safety and security knowledge and performance of our technologies, processes and products over their life cycles so as to avoid harm to people and the environment; use resources efficiently and minimize waste,” among other requirements.
Beyond just focusing on regulatory compliance, many forward-thinking companies are seizing the opportunity to become leaders in environmental stewardship – taking a hard look at all their operations to improve their environmental profile. They recognize that focusing on process improvement for sustainability is good for business, rewarding them not only with a positive public profile but also lower operating costs – critical advantages in a competitive, margin-sensitive market.
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