Kim Poulsen knows that business ethics are unnegotiable under any circumstances. Responsible operations minimise risk and cost, also for the customer.
Kemira aims not only to minimise environmental impacts of its own operation, but also to help customers reduce their own emissions into the air, water and soil. The goal is to be able to produce customers’ end products sustainably and cost-efficiently while improving quality and conserving raw materials such as water, energy and fibers.
Kemira distributes its products globally to over 100 countries, produces in over 60 manufacturing sites and has employees in 40 countries. Kemira offers its customers expertise, application know-how and chemicals that improve the quality of the final product as well as efficiency in processes and raw material usage. Its customers operate in industries that utilize large quantities of water, such as pulp and paper, oil and mining and water treatment.
Kemira’s largest business segment is Pulp & Paper, which accounts for 62 per cent of Kemira’s revenue and makes Kemira the world’s largest producer of pulp and paper chemicals.
– Being a market leader requires humility. It requires us to listen carefully to what our customers expect from us. We want to know them from top management to the shop floor. You could say that we’re at least ’engaged’ to the customer, says Kim Poulsen, President of Kemira’s Paper segment and APAC region.
Kemira is committed to business principles based on the company’s values, guidelines given to multi-national companies by OECD and other international norms and principles. Poulsen admits that on a rare occasion, ethical principles may also lead to a lost sale.
– I am not willing to sacrifice our long-term strategy, nor our values for the short term profits, he states.
Kemira enforces Codes of Conduct for both their employees and suppliers. Regular training ensures that they have been internalized.
– We work with global companies. It’s obvious that they won’t start long-term collaborations with a partner whose corporate responsibility raises questions. We have a good reputation, but a good reputation can be lost overnight. That’s why we hold on to our Codes of Conduct under all circumstances, says Poulsen.
Poulsen himself has over ten years of experience in Asia, where he has both lived and worked. He has seen corporate responsibility grow increasingly important in the Asian market and become a competitive component that is more and more valued by customers.
Work safety is top priority in the chemical industry and also Kemira keeps a regular eye on it. It is emphasized that everyone should both come to work healthy and leave work healthy. This requires a committed management, clear goals and regular training of personnel.
– At Kemira, the key figures for work safety have developed positively due to our long-term dedication to improve them. We take safety thinking with us to the customer. We have, for example, helped our customers improve their own work safety procedures while operating in their factories.
The firm experience in work safety issues is usually gladly received and most customers are pleased that corporate responsibility is viewed from more than one perspective.
The expertise and products offered by Kemira improve the quality of the customer’s end product as well as the raw material efficiency of the production process. One example of the optimization of process efficiency is TCM, Total Chemistry Management. It is Kemira’s TCM philosophy that pulp or paper customers can buy all of the elements needed for their process: the chemistry, know-how and equipment, all from one supplier. As a result the process is more efficient, there are less hick-ups throughout the process, optimized chemical consumption and a more consistent quality to the end product.
– TCM can be more expensive than if the customer bought all the chemicals separately from different suppliers. But when we handle dosage, management and monitoring of chemical use throughout the whole process, line speed and quality improve, there are less line breaks and the total use of chemicals decreases substantially. This way the production ends up costing less than if the customer chose the cheapest options, Poulsen says.
Last year Kemira won nine out of ten potential clients in Asia with TCM.
– We need to be able to prove to the customer that we are more than the sum of our parts.