Capital spending on environment, health and safety by the Finnish chemical industry reached record figures in 2006, according to the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland (CIFF). The sector invested a total of some €86m, an amount equal to more than 14% of fixed investment by the sector and a rise of more than one fifth compared with 2005.
Input into environmental, health and safety work by the chemical industry has increased considerably over the years. The last time the €80m investment was approached was in 2002.
The prominence of the environmental, health and safety work in the sector is also shown by the increased operating costs, which in 2006 totalled €108.2m. Finnish industry overall spends about €450m annually on the operating costs of environmental protection. Expenditure by the chemical industry is the second highest, immediately after the forest industry.
This environmental, health and safety work has produced significant results, says CIFF. The greatest improvements were achieved in the early 1990s. Recently, progress is being made in smaller steps, but in a better direction all the time.
The report states that water discharges with eutrophication potential have been reduced by almost 50% since 1988 and water discharges of potentially eco-toxic substances by almost 90%. The trend has been similar for atmospheric emissions. Acidifying emissions have fallen by more than 80% since 1988. For volatile organic compounds (VOC) the figure is more than 70%. These results have been calculated in the form of indexes proportionate to production. Greenhouse gas emissions have also been monitored by the sector since 1999.
In recent years, particular attention has been paid to developing occupational safety. The lost time injury frequency rate has been brought down by about 70% during the monitoring period, which began in 1988. In 2006 the results, unfortunately, have not followed this good trend; lost time injury frequency rate increased by 17% compared with the previous year. The aim in the chemical industry is accident-free workplaces.
The progress of the environmental, health and safety work is monitored and reported every year as part of the chemical industry's international Responsible Care programme, to which 105 companies in various areas of the chemical industry in Finland are committed. The most recent report was published in April 2007. For further information, visit www.chemind.fi