As a company that manufactures products on four continents and markets them to thousands of customers in more than 180 countries, we strive to minimize our environmental impact wherever we operate. First and foremost, we operate with a clear commitment to full compliance at all times with corporate standards, applicable laws, regulations and permit requirements. We also take a proactive approach by voluntarily adopting advanced international environmental management principles and programs. For example, we participate in the “Responsible Care” program administered by the International Council for Chemicals Associations (ICCA) and founded on principles of Product Stewardship. In 2014, we spent approximately $112 million on environmental protection, including $54 million in capital investment. ;
Some examples of how our environmental efforts impact the community:
Our environmental management system includes measures intended to conserve nature and protect biodiversity and we are careful to consider environmental factors when using land and managing our operations, particularly in ecologically sensitive areas and areas with unique cultural value. We also pursue various opportunities to enhance our contributions to biodiversity conservation. This includes restoration - the responsibility of a mining company to maintain the ongoing wellbeing – cultural and environmental – of a site during mining, as well as to restore a site after mining has ceased. In addition, we perform assessments, conservation and research& development of unique flora and fauna. We also support protected area site-management programs and proactive community programs, to provide sustainable economic and social benefits even after mine closure.
For example, our ICL UK site at Boulby includes grassland areas within the boundary of our operations which provide a haven for invertebrates such as bees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies; all of which are important as pollinators. ICL UK created wildflower meadows adjacent to their office complex. This was formerly a featureless area of amenity grassland, but careful preparation and seeding of it with a wildflower mix containing native plants which are appropriate for the site has resulted in a meadow which is both beautiful to look at and provides a biodiverse habitat. The grassland now supports many different animals including multiple species of butterfly, turtle and bumblebee.
Reduction of Greenhouse Gases
We strive to be a leader in the Israeli and global chemical industry in the effort to reduce emissions in general, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, in particular. In accordance with this policy, we established a quantitative goal for reduction in GHG and are taking a variety of measures to meet it, including reducing GHG emissions in production processes (including the transition to natural gas, replacement of protection gas in magnesium production, reducing N2O emissions in nitric acid production, and energy efficiency initiatives) and development of new products that contribute to GHG emissions reductions.
In 2013, our management decided on a new, updated reduction target: achieving a 30% reduction of 2008 emissions levels by 2017. This goal was designated to be achieved through the reduction efforts described in this chapter. However by the end of 2014, we already met and even surpassed this target, as 2014 GHG emissions were reduced by 35% compared with 2008.
Dead Sea Salt Recovery Project
Over the years, ICL has established temporary defenses to protect hotels located at the Southern Dead Sea area from the rise of water level in Pond 5. In 2012, the Company reached an agreement with the Israeli Government to enact a permanent solution, according to which, ICL will harvest all the salt from the floor of the pond. Upon completion of the salt harvesting, the process of production of the raw material will no longer require ICL to constantly raise the water level in the pond. Planning and execution of the salt harvest will be performed by ICL. The cost estimate for this project is several billion NIS. This project is considered a major national infrastructure project in Israel.
For years, ICL agronomists have been engaging in training farmers how to use fertilizers wisely and effectively. Our agronomists provide guidance on the balanced use of fertilizers, that is, the application of plant nutrients in the optimum ratio and adequate amounts for sustaining high yields while maintaining soil productivity and fertility. For over a decade, we have invested half a million dollars every year to carry out information campaigns by the Company’s agronomists in developing countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, the Philippines, Brazil, Mozambique and elsewhere. The goal of the program is to reach isolated and remote villages, and to spread the word about the importance of potassium as fertilizer for agriculture. ICL personnel work with agronomists, researchers and government agencies around the world to provide training services.
In 2014, we launched a new program in Ethiopia called Potash for Growth. We are honored to play a role in Ethiopia’s rapidly growing agricultural sector by contributing our broad expertise in helping farmers to optimize their agricultural output, as well as our financial support, to enable Ethiopian government agencies to boost the country’s agricultural productivity. We believe that the Potash for Growth program will yield substantial benefits for the Ethiopian farming community, and, in the long-run, for food security in Ethiopia. By partnering with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Bureaus of Agriculture and the ATA, we hope to demonstrate the vital role of balanced fertilization in creating sustainable food production in Ethiopia.
Dialogue with the Community
We promote an ongoing dialogue with our stakeholders to define environmental priorities and we implement, on a regular basis and as a policy, initiatives that address our various environmental impacts in the following areas:
- Responsible use of land and natural resources
- Conservation of biodiversity and restoration and preservation of mining regions
- Reduction, at the source (in terms of the flow) of the quantity of effluents and waste produced by our companies and increased recycling of treatable waste
- Increased energy efficiency and transition to natural gas
- Reduction of air pollution
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and our carbon footprint
- Development of sustainable, value-added processes and products aimed at reducing environmental impact
Community Environmental Initiatives
We participate in initiatives to promote a culture of environmental protection and encourage our employees to volunteer in this area. In 2014, we continued our participation in Israel with the following:
- Creating refreshment rest-stops on holidays on the Arava road (Highway 90) in the area surrounding our ICL Dead Sea plant
- Maintaining roads within nature reserves and scenic areas in the Negev desert
- Establishing feeding stations for birds of prey, in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority to increase the number of birds of prey in Israel
- Assisting hikers in areas near plants
- Supporting regional cultural events, including walks, bicycle rides especially of associations for people with disabilities, hikes, cultural activities, etc.
Rotem in the Desert Project
Since 2011, in cooperation with Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, we have operated an educational program in southern Israeli towns. Its goals are:
- To embed the values of conservation, respect for the environment and culturalheritage among students.
- Disseminate information about industrial plants in the vicinity.
- Provide information about the complexity of the Sustainability Triangle: man, environment and the economy.
- Develop the student’s ability to think critically, express opinions and identify viable solutions.
The program, which extends over a school year, includes class lessons, training days and special activity days. In its four years of operation, thousands of students from various Negev communities, and educators, have participated and together learned about complex environmental issues which impact to their lives.