Eastman cites sustainability and environmental accomplishments

Hank Hayes • Apr 22, 2020 at 6:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Eastman is pointing to its environmental and sustainability commitments as part of the 50th worldwide celebration of Earth Day and its centennial anniversary.

“When you look at Eastman’s commitment to environmental stewardship, you can go all the way back to our earliest days as a company. We started with a good foundation, and we haven’t stood still,” said Eastman’s Hanneke Counts, vice president of Global Health, Safety, Environment and Security at Eastman. “We are committed to doing the things we need to do to improve operations and protect the environment every year.

“Even in 1920, Eastman was committed to protecting the environment. Eastman reused the waste from its methanol processes then to make charcoal briquets. One hundred years later, we are still innovating to make more sustainable products, to reduce our environmental footprint, to reuse materials, and to recycle.”

As Eastman’s director of sustainability, Cathy Combs shares Counts’ sight line of forward progress.

“As the 50th Earth Day approaches, I’m proud to be with a company that is constantly looking for ways to be more sustainable, to protect the environment in our communities, to be more energy efficient, to analyze how our products impact the planet, and now, to take a leadership role by providing Eastman Advanced Circular Recycling technologies that are tackling the global plastic waste issue,” Combs said.

Eastman has asked its team members to share “selfies” of what they do at home to help the planet. In a nod to the Earth Day anniversary, the company has dubbed its celebration “50 years, 50 days, 50 ways,” extending the online presence through World Oceans Day in June.

Eastman’s sustainability and environmental highlights

An innovation-driven growth strategy that is completely entwined with sustainability macrotrends such as societal needs for health and wellness improvements, natural resource efficiency, feeding a growing population and the material needs of a growing middle class.

A commitment to meet goals for sustainability and a better environment, and a vision for new goals that will be highly impactful. Eastman established 10-year sustainability goals in 2010, and the company has made great progress, including a 12% reduction in energy intensity (compared to 2008 baseline) and a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity. Eastman’s efforts to improve energy efficiency have been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency with eight ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year awards. Looking to the next 10 years, the company is working on even more ambitious goals that it will communicate later this year.

The health of the South Fork of the Holston River, as it passes through Kingsport, has improved dramatically over the last 50 years. As of the latest river study, there were 29 fish species living in the river, including darters, shiners and a variety of game fish. The South Fork has become a popular water for kayakers, and Riverfront Park is a popular, scenic destination for wildlife watchers.

A leadership role to drive a more circular economy through recycling innovations that make a substantial impact on the global waste crisis. Because basic recycling methods cannot recycle most kinds of plastic, today only about 12 percent of waste plastic in the United States gets recycled — most goes to landfills and incinerators or winds up in the environment. Eastman has launched commercial operation of two advanced recycling technologies – in Kingsport, in the past six months – that can recycle almost any kind of plastic waste.

About Eastman

Founded in 1920, Eastman is a Kingsport-based global specialty materials company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With the purpose of enhancing the quality of life in a material way, Eastman works with customers to deliver innovative products and solutions while maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability. The company’s innovation-driven growth model takes advantage of world-class technology platforms, deep customer engagement, and differentiated application development to grow its leading positions in attractive end-markets such as transportation, building and construction, and consumables. As a globally inclusive and diverse company, Eastman employs approximately 14,500 people around the world and serves customers in more than 100 countries.

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