In September, ZMC-USA, an active ingredient manufacturer with offices in The Woodlands, Texas, announced a sustainable upgrade to their Zhejiang, China facility. But the "evolution" of the upgrade, as President Scott Steinford calls it, actually kicked off with a task force in 2006 and a clear goal: to become a global leader in quality of all ZMC-USA's products while protecting the environment.
"We want to establish a green enterprise of the 21st century, which is quite a bit different than most of the Chinese manufacturers," Steinford said. China's rapid development historically has shelved an environmental focus, but Steinford said the landscape is shifting. And the company's $90 million investment drives one hefty sustainable stake into the ground.
To date, more than 200 renovations have been completed, all recommendations from ZMC-USA's Energy Saving and Waste Reduction working team. Upgrades include: structural adjustments, cleaner production methods, waste water and waste control, water and electricity savings, and emergency response to name a few.
As a result, the second largest supplier of Vitamin E now has a purer product. The company is also the largest supplier of Biotin and the third largest supplier of Natural Vitamin E.
Although Steinford doesn't consider the project complete, other benefits are apparent. From 2006-2009, energy consumption decreased by 43.2 percent while CO2 discharges reduced by 78 percent. And one surprising side effect, an increase in safety performance, came by way of establishing new equipment. The facility and its 4,000 employees remained working throughout the upgrades.
"We believe that in the development of production it's our requirement to protect the environment as well," he said. "Protecting the environment is also to protect productivity."