Eastman knows that water is one of our planet’s most valuable resources, and we use it with considerable care. Our water strategies encompass both conservation and reuse of water at our facilities, as well considering water availability as we site new facilities. Because this is important to us, we’ve expanded our focus beyond energy management to now focus on natural resource management, with water as a key element.
Eastman's Environmental Stewardship Policy and Responsible Care Pledge® provides a framework for responsible environmental management and conservation across our value chain from raw materials, processing and production, and customers. Specific elements of the Policy & Pledge address business dependency on water, business impact on water, water targets & goals, water-related innovation, stakeholder awareness & education, and commitment to meeting or exceeding regulations. Eastman has developed best practices for water reuse and conservation.
The industrial processes we have in place help minimize our water usage within the manufacturing cycle and recycle water whenever possible. We treat water as appropriate to meet specific purposes, with the intent not just to reduce the quantity of water but make use of water more sustainable by not treating it more than needed. Attention is paid to:
- Cost of water and wastewater treatment
- Capital equipment costs
- Handling and use of potentially hazardous chemicals
- Carbon footprint reductions by reducing energy consumption associated with water treatment and distribution
- The true cost of water considering the costs for energy and chemicals to move and treat the water
Eastman maintains pollution prevention and waste minimization programs designed to achieve ongoing reductions in the amount and toxicity of any contaminants that may be released to the water. Releases are managed in a manner that protects the environment and the health and safety of employees and the public. Many of our manufacturing facilities have advanced wastewater treatment plants designed to meet — and in many cases, exceed — environmental standards while protecting the health of our employees, our communities and our local ecosystems.
Eastman’s Chief Sustainability Officer reports directly to the CEO and Chairman of the Board. The CSO is responsible for regulatory compliance and driving sustainability throughout the company including the responsible use of water. Examples of reports pertaining to water given to the Eastman’s Board of Directors include regulatory updates, a water resource management overview, updates on issues such as plastics in the ocean and water pollution in China, research by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Global HSES Audit Program (GHAP) updates, our Sustainability report, cooling water intake structure studies, and National Academy of Sciences studies of the health of local rivers. These reports are given on an as-needed basis, generally less than annually. Eastman’s Chief Sustainability Officer is responsible for Sustainability, Global Health, Safety, Environment, and Security, Securities, Global Trade, Global Public and Community Affairs, and the Law organizations.
Water Risk Management
Water is a basic need for our manufacturing operations. Eastman performs a comprehensive, company-wide risk assessment for its operations every five years, or more often in the event of acquisitions. These assessments help the company understand where water scarcity issues exist and help to prioritize limited resources to address water quality and availability issues.
Eastman annually uses the WRI AqueductTM tool and the WBCSD Global Water Tool, as well as an in-house survey, to project water-stressed site risks out to 2025. Water risks, including quantity and quality, as well as regulatory and community restraints, are site issues that are managed as key infrastructure elements that govern viability and potential growth of every site. The decision to establish a site includes an evaluation of the water resources and annual decisions concerning the siting of new processes are largely determined on the assessment of infrastructure needs. New facility siting is governed by an Eastman policy that requires the project evaluation team to consider these criteria: historical climate data including potential impact, likelihood of occurrence and resources required for preparation for severe storms and other natural disasters; availability, capacity, and capability of waste treatment facilities; availability of fresh water via local rivers or aquifers, local streams or rivers potentially impacted as receiving streams; and existence of local/regional sensitivities and necessary means to minimize their impact.
Significant risks, including water-related risks, are evaluated in Eastman’s Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) process which is overseen by the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors. Mitigation plans are developed as needed and executed upon by the appropriate working groups.
Customers are considered in several ways. Eastman maintains Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) capabilities and can address customer questions about water use and product footprint enabling our customers to better understand their own risks. Eastman also produces many of our products at multiple sites therefore reducing risk of interrupted supply to our customers. |
Eastman ensures that potable water is available on site for employees and contractors. Employees and contractors are trained on release reporting and are required to report releases outside of primary containment that may occur. The release reporting requirement of employees and contractors mitigates risk to employee and contractor safety and the environment.|
Eastman seeks to minimize investor risks through an understanding of water issues and pending legislation by developing plans to address concerns.|
Eastman maintains Community Advisory Panels (CAPs) at 14 key global sites, as well as various community care lines that are regularly monitored. In addition, Eastman has corporate social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) that provide an avenue for soliciting and addressing public concerns. Any concerns identified through these mechanisms are addressed in a timely manner. The Community Advisory Panels are part of the Corporate Responsible Care® Program, RC14001, and ISO14001. The Corporate Responsible Care® Program, RC14001, and ISO14001 are third party audited. |
NGOs, statutory special interest groups at a local level||
Eastman advances large-scale, ecological work through its partnership with The Nature Conservancy, one of the world’s leading environmental organizations. We support the conservancy’s global efforts. And in close proximity to our corporate headquarters, we also locally support the conservancy’s research in nature preserves located in Shady Valley, Tennessee – a rare, high-elevation remnant of the last Ice Age and one of the most ecologically important regions in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The ocean covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and is the source of about 97% of the water that eventually falls on land as precipitation. Because we understand that the ocean and ocean life are fundamental to our climate, atmospheric weather, food, and energy system, Eastman and the Eastman Foundation are partnering in innovative ways to help develop, observe and measure ocean processes and educating future generations about their importance. We continue to collaborate with leading scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the world’s largest nonprofit oceanographic institution. Eastman has specifically partnered with WHOI in the foundational development of its Center for Air Sea Interaction and Marine Meteorology (CASIMM). CASIMM is dedicated to developing the next generation of leaders focused on modeling the effects of climate change. Facility level water management processes including consideration of local NGO input is factored into facility level risk management.|
Regulators, other water users at a local level||
Regulators are an important stakeholder group to Eastman. Our policies require that we manage our water resources in compliance with all permits, laws and regulations.|
Water utilities at a local level||
We work with our local water utilities to help ensure adequate water, both amounts and quality, meet needs.|
We work with trade organizations around the world such as ACC (American Chemistry Council), Cefic (European Chemistry Council, and AICM (Association of International Chemical Manufacturers) on health, safety, security and environmental issues including water. Eastman’s Vice President of Global Health, Safety, Environmental & Security participates on Tennessee Governor’s TN H2O Steering Committee. TN H2O was formed to develop a plan to address population growth along with concerns over the utilization of the Memphis Sands Aquifer. The steering committee will provide high-level direction for the plan development. Working Groups comprised of subject matter experts will conduct the research and gather the data and information. TDEC (Tennessee Division of Environment & Conservation) will lead plan development. TN H2O will pay particular attention to surface and groundwater, water and wastewater infrastructure, water reuse and land conservation, as well as institutional and legal framework. Working groups composed of subject matter experts will conduct the research and gather information. Recommendations will be unveiled on October 25, 2018. |
Eastman is not aware of any significant impact on any water source. At our largest manufacturing facilities in Kingsport, Tennessee and Longview, Texas, comprehensive river studies conducted by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, formerly known as the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, confirm that these rivers provide thriving habitats for wildlife communities.
In 2015, the Patrick Center for Environmental Research of The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University conducted a biological and water quality survey of the Sabine River. The Sabine River surveys are designed to assess potential impacts of effluent from Eastman's Longview facility on the general health of the river. Over the years, the studies have shown that the Longview facility does not prove to have an adverse impact on the river.
Eastman and the Ocean
Eastman is extremely interested in the ocean because we understand that the ocean and ocean life are fundamental to our climate, weather, food, and energy systems. Eastman and the Eastman Foundation are partnering in innovative ways to help develop, observe, and measure ocean processes—and educating future generations about their importance. We continue to collaborate with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the world's largest non-profit oceanographic institution.
To learn more about this partnership, visit