The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How Lubrizol treats waste responsibly

Headquartered in Wickliffe, Ohio, Lubrizol is a provider of specialty chemicals for the transportation, industrial and consumer markets, combining its unique chemistry expertise, formulation and applications capabilities and market insights to positively impact the lives of its customers’ end users around the globe. Lubrizol is committed to reducing the amount of waste, both hazardous and non-hazardous, from its operations  Tweet This!, and reusing and recycling materials when possible.

This case study is based on the 2017 Sustainability Report by Lubrizol published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Lubrizol is thorough and consistent in classifying and assessing wastes and in auditing its facilities’ waste reduction and waste management efforts, as successful waste management and recycling programmes not only reduce environmental impact, but also provide cost and efficiency benefits for Lubrizol and its customers. In order to treat waste responsibly Lubrizol took action to:

  • implement a Waste Management Policy
  • develop and document waste reduction projects across worldwide facilities

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report Lubrizol identified a range of material issues, such as energy, emissions and climate change, information security, community involvement, product health and safety, employee attraction, engagement and retention. Among these, treating waste responsibly stands out as a key material issue for Lubrizol.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Lubrizol engages with:

Stakeholder Group
Functional leaders
Industry associations

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Lubrizol worked with a third party to engage its internal and external stakeholders in a formal materiality assessment process, that included more than 30 internal and external interviews.

What actions were taken by Lubrizol to treat waste responsibly?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report Lubrizol reports that it took the following actions for treating waste responsibly:

  • Implementing a Waste Management Policy
  • Lubrizol’s Waste Management Policy requires that all Lubrizol facilities, subsidiaries and affiliates worldwide (including manufacturing facilities, R&D facilities, warehouses and engine testing facilities) manage their regulated and industrial wastes safely and in accordance with corporate standards and all local applicable laws and regulations. Lubrizol’s facilities are responsible for ensuring that materials are properly classified, identifying ways to reduce their waste volume and selecting appropriate waste disposal facilities. Lubrizol’s corporate vice president of operations oversees the Waste Management Policy, and facility line management and health, safety and environmental site representatives are responsible for its daily administration. Lubrizol’s corporate HSES (Health, Safety, Environment and Security) team provides additional support and oversight, while employees at each location are trained and qualified to perform analyses of waste disposal practices. Lubrizol also participates in the ACC’s (AmericanChemistry Council) Responsible Care initiative, which includes provisions for responsible product design and development that consider product use and safe disposal, as well as promote minimisation of waste and conservation of critical resources at every stage of the product lifecycle.
  • Developing and documenting waste reduction projects across worldwide facilities
  • Lubrizol facilities around the world are working to develop and document waste reduction projects to help Lubrizol meet or exceed its goals. They have the flexibility to implement programmes to meet their specific needs and resources, including partnering with other companies and local community organisations on reuse and recycling programmes. Lubrizol’s facilities are also becoming increasingly skilled at collecting data, enabling Lubrizol to better track and measure its progress. Successful programmes occurring at Lubrizol’s facilities around the world include the following:
    • At Lubrizol’ Mumbai, India, manufacturing facility, a portion of the wastewater is used for gardening onsite, in accordance with local regulations.
    • Lubrizol’s Mumbai, India, office delivers double impact with its plastics recycling programme by reducing its waste and donating the proceeds from the recycled material to a paediatric hospital to serve local families in need. Lubrizol partners with RaddiConnect, a waste management service that is Mumbai’s first recycling-based fundraising platform for non-governmental organisations (NGOs). (In Hindi, “Raddi” means scrap, waste or garbage.)
    • The Clifton, New Jersey, plant is focused on recycling large items such as polyethylene drums.
    • In Louisville, Kentucky, Lubrizol has reduced packaging waste by switching from 50-pound bags to super sacks for some raw materials.
    • Lubrizol’s Wilmington, Massachusetts, plant has eliminated all landfill waste by working with Lubrizol’s vendors to send any hazardous waste to waste-to-energy plants or incinerators, and installed a trash compactor on-site to make energy from plastic and other non-hazardous waste.
    • Lubrizol’s Painesville, Ohio, facility reviews off-specification and obsolete materials (typically bulk items) to determine if they can be sold as a product instead of disposed of as waste. Lubrizol has also increased its recycling of used fuel oil.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 306-2 Waste by type and disposal method

Disclosure 306-2 Waste by type and disposal method corresponds to:


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.

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1) This case study is based on published information by Lubrizol, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


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