Our business activities are based not only on purely financial indicators. Brenntag considers aspects of sustainability such as safety, environmental protection and health to be paramount. Safety is our top priority and always more important than all other aspects of our business. We are committed to complying with the highest standards and have put in place guidelines that take account of local circumstances. Our primary objective is to ensure that our employees, business partners and environment are protected. We aim to be the safest chemical distributor worldwide.
With a view to achieving continuous improvements in the areas of quality, safety, health and the environment, we have tailored different programmes for each of our regions. The CASA* Management System is the programme for our region Latin America.
* The abbreviation CASA stands for quality (CALIDAD), safety and health (SEGURIDAD & SALUD) and environment (MEDIO AMBIENTE).
CASA – much more than just a safety programme
CASA addresses quality, safety, health and environmental matters and is used by Brenntag Latin America to document and measure performance in these areas. It is an integrated sustainability programme and was set up back in 2000. Throughout the region, we now have a well-connected team of CASA specialists who are closely involved in day-to-day business in each country and responsible for compliance with the highest health, safety and environmental (HSE) standards.
While CASA is about complying with formal standards such as DIN ISO certifications, for example, a more interpersonal aspect is at least as important, as CASA has long been part of our corporate culture: CASA defines how we conduct our business. As part of our strategy and risk management, it contributes to the success of the business and sets Brenntag apart from its competitors.
Our colleague Marco Riquelme is an example of the extent to which CASA is put into practice at Brenntag Latin America.
Marco Riquelme has been working at Brenntag Chile for more than two decades and is currently plant supervisor and head of the works fire brigade at the site in Santiago de Chile. As well as performing his operational role, he takes his responsibility for the safety of his team and environmental protection very seriously. Sustainability and adherence to sustainability principles are a cornerstone of his daily work.
Safety takes top priority – in Chile and all over the globe at Brenntag.
Each morning, Marco’s team kicks off the day together with what they call the CASA talk.
At the CASA talk, the team is focused as it goes in detail through the day’s tasks. “I address the points that are going to be relevant for us today in terms of quality, safety and environmental protection. As plant supervisor, I put a lot of emphasis on implementing the CASA programme. It enables us to incorporate sustainability into our daily activities on an ongoing basis,” explains Marco.
The meeting ends and it is time to get to work. On this particular morning, three tankers carrying flammable products will be arriving – and all at the same time. “We must ensure that we coordinate the unloading of the trucks properly,” says Marco. While the first tanker is being unloaded, a staff member must lead the waiting trucks to the safe parking zone for flammables and check whether the drivers also have the proper personal protective equipment.
While his colleagues process the first trucks outside, Marco plans the rest of the day. “It’s my job to monitor whether all the delivery requirements have been met and whether everything has been prepared. And I have to respond flexibly to any changes that arise during a shift,” he says. He always has an eye on safety here.
The site in Santiago is the central warehouse facility for Brenntag Chile. The product portfolio ranges from flammable, toxic and corrosive products, which are delivered to the paint and mining industries for example, to food-grade products for the food, feed, agricultural and pharmaceutical industries.
The 3R principle (reduce, reuse, recycle) applies:
- Avoid and reduce waste
- Separate and recycle pallets, cardboard, plastic,
glass and paper
- Clean and reuse barrels and other packing drums
- Reduce water consumption
- Reduce energy consumption
The flammable products represent a significant fire risk. In the event of contact, spillage or release, the corrosive chemicals and toxic substances pose a danger to people and the environment. Even food products are subject to strict storage and handling regulations. It is a high-risk and demanding work environment where safety and caution must be exercised at all times.
Every day, the employees handle these products and Marco is very aware of this: “Handling chemicals requires an enormous degree of responsibility. Even the smallest incident can have grave consequences. That is why it is so important for us to maintain occupational safety and ensure environmental protection at all times.”
But the CASA standards are not just an internal matter. They are also passed on to customers, because in Latin America, as is the case worldwide at Brenntag, the principle of “Safety first!” extends beyond the company’s own boundaries. For example, the sales manager coordinates customer visits to the Santiago site with the CASA team. Customers learn how to safely take delivery of, store and use the chemical products supplied by Brenntag. In addition, the Brenntag experts advise their customers on compliance issues, such as when there are regulatory requirements for a chemical product or a special handling permit.
Running an international group in a sustainable manner, defining values and developing a corporate culture that all employees will adhere to is a big job. The CASA programme in our Latin America region is just one example from around the Brenntag world of how it can work – to the mutual satisfaction of Brenntag employees and Brenntag customers.