June 2020: Sustainability
Sustainability is a core tenet of what we do at CIRCON. And it’s with good reason: Businesses and consumers alike are becoming more aware and informed about environmental issues, and they’re actively looking for ways to change their own habits and take care of our planet. In fact, a 2019 survey conducted by CGS, a global provider of business applications and outsourcing services, found that nearly 70 percent of consumers will make the sustainable choice when it’s available to them—and nearly half of all people would even pay more money for a product they knew was made sustainably.
That’s an encouraging statistic for our world, for our clients, and for our business. As CIRCON’s sustainability mission has grown and evolved, we’ve done a better job of measuring our success. (We used to track just three sustainability metrics; now we measure and report seven.) Now, we’re going to help our customers measure their success.
Later this year, we’ll introduce the CIRCON Sustainability Leadership Awards. The annual awards series will celebrate our clients’ impact and milestones, such as recycling three million gallons of water, or achieving 100,000 tons of landfill avoidance. We’ll also recognize specific projects that had an impactful sustainability footprint.
This awards series is a great way to celebrate the efforts of our clients and help them promote and track their own work in the sustainability space. It’s also just one more way to spread the CIRCON message, and attract the attention of the industry and new potential clients by leading with our results-driven sustainability story. It’s a better way.
Did You Know?
CIRCON was recently awarded 2911 Oil Bearing Hazardous Secondary Material (OBHSM) exclusion status at our facility in LaPorte, Texas. This OBHSM exclusion empowers CIRCON to accept spent materials (including wastewater, crude, sour water, slop oil, desalter, product tanks, API, DAF, bundle sludge, slurry oil) from any petroleum refinery while avoiding RCRA designation.
That translates into plenty of sustainability benefits for clients. In addition to truly closing the loop on waste with our safe disposal and recycling methods, clients will be able to ship these materials on a bill of lading rather than a hazmat manifest, which means that materials will not be included in the EPA Annual Waste Summary, and are not subject to waste taxes.
Three Questions with Gary Higginbotham
Gary Higginbotham is the recently named Chief Sustainability Marketing Officer of CIRCON, where he’s been working to bring our sustainability message and offering to life. With more than 30 years of experience in the environmental services sector, Gary knows firsthand that what makes CIRCON so special is its green solutions—and he’s passionate about spreading that message loud and clear throughout our industry.
How has CIRCON’s sustainability mission evolved over the last year?
When we first started doing this, we paid attention to and tracked three metrics: liquid spill avoidance, coal displacement, and waste-derived fuel generation. Now, we’re also tracking net carbon offset, amount of water treated, amount of oil recycled, and amount of water conserved. We worked with several refinery partners, collaborating on how to collect and track these statistics. We want to make sure we’re using formulas and source materials that we can defend.
As more people and businesses start considering sustainability, will CIRCON encounter more competition in this space?
It’s not about whether you want to be sustainable, it’s about whether you have the services and infrastructure to support it. If you’re in waste management and you own landfills, it’s hard to make a sustainability story out of a landfill. If you own incinerators, it’s hard to tell a sustainability story when you’re just burning stuff. We’re lucky because our facilities truly have a sustainable angle to them. We’re not shoving a square peg in a round hole. Our infrastructure lives for sustainable solutions. If you don’t have the assets to back it up, it doesn’t matter how much you may want to be in the airspace—you just can’t be.
As you approach potential new clients, is it ever difficult to get them to understand the value of sustainable practices, both for the environment and business?
Once you get hooked up to the right person within a company, it’s actually really easy. Well, I don’t want to say it’s too easy, because people will think I’m not working! But oil companies are, historically, hated corporations. They’re looking for good stories to tell. I recently spoke to an executive who told me, “If you give us a good story, we will tell it!” And everything we do here positively impacts clients’ ESG rating, which affects bond ratings, interest rates, and can attract new shareholders. I’m on the environmental committee and the sustainability committee at AFPM. I’m the only vendor, which I take a lot of pride in, and it gives me credibility and access to a lot of folks at oil companies that I may not otherwise encounter. If I call someone from AFPM that CIRCON doesn’t work with and ask for a meeting, man, we get one the next day! It’s that credibility that knocks down barriers. But we want to get to the point where, instead of us calling them, they’re calling us. That’s when you’ve won the battle.