ICIS Innovation Awards 2012: A mindset for the environment

19 October 2012 09:47  [Source: ICB]

Carol Piccaro's enthusiasm to help preserve the environment knows no bounds. As president and CEO of chemical distribution company U.S. Chemicals she embraces a sustainable way of life, not just personally, but also in the workplace.

Piccaro walks, rides her bike or drives a Smart car to work most days and she frequently schedules walking or kayaking meetings with her employees and visitors.


 U.S. Chemicals is partnering with Trees For a Change with the goal of planting 1,000 trees during 2012

Copyright: Rex Features

The company, based in Darien, Connecticut, also contributes to a wellness programme and uses fitness as a team building tool.

Piccaro's most recent initiative in the office is the U.S. Chemicals' Walking Challenge, where staff, who are divided into two teams, wear pedometers to record steps on a daily basis. Piccaro says that it introduces a little bit of healthy competition, as well as providing obvious fitness benefits. A treadmill has also been installed in the office.

The challenge started in July, and monthly rewards are given to the team with the most steps - for example a gourmet lunch or massage. Piccaro says that it is voluntary but participation has been 100%.

Piccaro has a deep, personal commitment to creating a working environment that promotes wellness and is a safe, efficient and attractive place to work. It is no secret that happy and healthy employees make better business decisions and suffer less absenteeism, and Piccaro says that U.S. Chemicals has a high staff retention rate as a result of its corporate culture.

Continuing the spirit of green initiatives, U.S. Chemicals is partnering with Trees For a Change with the goal of planting 1,000 trees during 2012. Trees For a Change is an organisation that plants trees as gifts in US national forests that have been destroyed by wildfire. "This initiative is one component in a general strategy we are dedicated to that will hopefully leave this planet a little healthier", says Piccaro.

The Shasta-Trinity National Forest was chosen by Trees For A Change because of the wildfires that destroyed thousands of acres of trees in 2008. The fires have left large areas so devastated that the trees cannot regenerate.

In early summer this year, some 2,365 trees were planted - Ponderosa and Jeffrey pine, Incense cedar and Douglas fir. To date, almost 600 trees have been planted in honour of the friends, suppliers, customers and partners of U.S. Chemicals.

U.S. Chemicals has developed a framework for putting important initiatives into action, sharing best practice as well as continually evaluating its supply chain. The company says that about 80% of its customers are affiliated with sustainable initiatives.

Piccaro stresses that the chemical distribution industry must be a major player in meeting the challenge of providing the components for the building blocks of industry while minimising environmental impact and improving the world.

To illustrate U.S. Chemicals' commitment to sustainability and the environment, Piccaro says that in a recent meeting with a supplier that now produces a cleaner, safer and more environmentally beneficial version of a core product, she was intrigued why so few customers were aware of the new benefits. To help, U.S. Chemicals suggested several innovative marketing strategies, which, maintains Piccaro is good business - good for the distributor, good for the customer, and good for the planet.

"This is the mindset that drives business at U.S. Chemicals," she says. "In mindset, small habits and larger actions, we are always working towards improving the environment."

For more information on chemical distributor U.S. Chemicals

By: Elaine Burridge
+44 20 8652 3214

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