I was very pleased to become chair of the Board of Directors for the Hamilton Industrial Environmental Association (HIEA) again in March 2012. As General Manager, Environment for ArcelorMittal Dofasco, I have been involved with HIEA since 2007, and have been able to see the positive impact our members have made on our community.
Founded in 1995 and incorporated in 1998 as a non-profit association of local private sector industries, HIEA’s mandate is “to improve the local environment – air, land and water – through joint and individual activities, and by partnering with the community to enhance future understanding of environmental issues and help establish priorities for action.”
As a result of our ongoing dialogue, HIEA member companies continue to demonstrate a strong environmental commitment. Taking action both within their companies and the community, HIEA and its members have received recognition and awards for their environmental work within the Hamilton Community.
HIEA continues to work closely and develop strong networks with our stakeholders throughout the community. Those include our industrial and residential neighbours, non-governmental environmental organizations, and representatives from the City of Hamilton and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
HIEA’s Community Advisory Panel (CAP) further strengthens the effectiveness of the association by providing an opportunity for ongoing dialogue between industry and the community. One member described CAP as “a place where community and industry come together to share ideas and address concerns. We strive together to improve the quality of life in Hamilton”.
In 2013, HIEA CAP has 4 scheduled meetings, bringing together representatives from local neighbourhood associations, community advocacy groups and other caring citizens with HIEA member company representatives to exchange information. From time-to-time, additional HIEA CAP meetings may be scheduled when specific issues arise at member companies that warrant additional community consultation. Through both industry and community presentations and ongoing dialogue, CAP helps to set the directions and priorities for HIEA’s activities, and individual member companies’ programs.
Every year, HIEA reports the aggregated environmental performance of its member companies in such important areas as air emissions, water discharges, recycling and waste management, and environmental spending and stewardship. Using 1997 as the baseline year to evaluate environmental trends, the 2011 Environmental Report (included in this newsletter) provides evidence of the continued success that HIEA member companies have achieved in improving the environment in the Hamilton community.
The year 2012 proved to be both a busy and successful one. HIEA member companies continued their active participation in a number of local environmental initiatives, including sponsorship and interactive educational displays at the Earth Day EcoFestival and sponsorship for several outdoor environmental education programs that enabled participation for elementary school children in the city. HIEA was again a proud sponsor of the 2012 Upwind Downwind Conference: “Unlikely Partners”.
As a neighbour to industry, your input is integral to HIEA’s continued success and we welcome your involvement. For more information about how to get involved, attend CAP meetings and other current initiatives, please visit www.hiea.org or contact us at 905-662-2131 or firstname.lastname@example.org
General Manager, Environment
Opening remarks at the Hamilton Environmental Summit - April 25, 2013
I am proud to say that since our baseline year of 1997, HIEA member companies have spent more than $400 million in capital and operating costs which have resulted in significant improvement to the Hamilton area environment. As a group, we have reduced emissions of Total Particulate Matter by 80%, Nitrogen Oxides by 26%, Volatile Organic Compounds by 25% and Polycyclic Airomatic Hydrocarbons by 75%. We’ve reduced City water consumption by 52% and the discharge of total suspended solids by 89%. In addition to these performance improvements, HIEA contributes an average of $50,000 each year to local community environmental projects. These investments reflect a collective commitment by the local industrial community to environmental improvement in Hamilton.
Good morning, and thank you for being here today. I’d like to begin by congratulating the City of Hamilton for its leadership in organizing this first-ever environmental summit. I’m looking forward to what I am certain will be interesting discussions amongst the broad group of community members here today.
Thank you for taking the time to participate in this important dialogue. As General Manager of Environment at ArcelorMittal Dofasco, I am pleased to be here in my capacity as Chair of the Hamilton Industrial Environmental Association, to represent the efforts of my colleagues at HIEA’s 12 local member companies. HIEA members share a common commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability.
We regularly engage with our neighbours through HIEA’s Community Advisory Panel, which helps us identify and target areas for further improvement. Within our operations, we are of course accountable to regulations, primarily from municipal, provincial and federal governments. One of the items I hope will be discussed today is this multi-tier regulatory structure, and the opportunity and need for a more integrated, harmonized regulatory structure between all levels of government. With harmonized targets and regulations, reporting and analyzing data and performance is simpler and more effective. You are able to compare apples to apples. And this transparency and consistency leads to a better understanding of how we are collectively performing.
More efficient and integrated regulatory policies would also help ensure that resources for environmental initiatives are more optimally targeted at areas that we, as community members, have identified as our top priorities - rather than on duplicate reporting. To be certain, we have all made significant gains over the past 15 years. And as industrial companies we continue to strive for the next level of improvement. As in any improvement project, this gets harder and harder over time. Let me give you an example. Several years ago, the City of Hamilton adopted Sewer Use By-law limits based on what was in place in other cities across Canada, certain limits of which were particularly challenging for industrial cities like Hamilton as opposed to the cities upon which they were based.
To meet the limits, US Steel Canada invested $25 million to build a new water treatment plant and ArcelorMittal Dofasco spent $7.5 million to upgrade an existing facility. These investments have significantly improved our performance, helping contribute to improved water quality in Hamilton Harbour. In fact, ArcelorMittal Dofasco has reduced discharges of water-borne PAHs by 97.5% as a result, tantalizingly close to the targeted 99.5% reduction we need to meet the regulatory limit. However, this last 2% is exponentially more difficult to achieve than the first 97.5%, and could well require a further $2 million capital investment. A legitimate question is whether this is the best, most effective use of environmental dollars? Maybe there are other priority areas where we could get a more significant environmental improvement.
Regardless, what is important is that we continue to seek out solutions and continue to improve. I hope that as we move through today’s agenda and engage in positive discussion, we can continue to pinpoint the biggest issues facing our community and find alignment in how we choose to address them in a balanced way. As for the members of HIEA, I know that we will continue to work diligently to meet our obligations to our many stakeholders -- our community, our employees, our customers, our shareholders and our regulators to deliver the greatest benefit possible to all. I hope that today’s summit will help our community take further steps toward environmental improvement and sustainability.
I encourage you to think about priorities, …
… about initiatives that deliver the greatest environmental benefit for Hamilton, …
… about using resources as effectively as possible, …
… and about working together to build the most sustainable community that we can.
Thank you very much.
To hear interviews from the Summit click here.