In order to remain a successful business, we recognize that we must not only work to reduce our contribution to climate change, but also adapt to a changing climate and plan for a climate-altered future. Walker Industries is committed to integrating climate change management, with respect to mitigation, adaptation and resilience, into overall business planning to ensure the company remains successful in an unknown climate future.
Through our mitigation efforts, it is important that we continue to measure our Carbon Footprint and use the data to create reduction strategies. Our Carbon Footprint includes both Scope 1 and Scope 2 emission sources. Scope 1 emissions are released from sources owned or directly controlled by the company, including propane, gasoline, diesel and natural gas. Scope 2 emissions are released by the indirect production of energy, such as electricity that is purchased by the company.
In 2017, our total footprint was just over 33,000 tCO2e, which has decreased from 2016, but increased over the last five years due to the growth of our operations. In 2017, our Walker Aggregates’ Vineland Asphalt site insulated its Asphalt Cement tanks and lines. This project has benefited the site by reducing natural gas usage and overall carbon footprint by about 9%.
We acknowledge that our business faces uncertainty due to our changing climate. Water is a resource that must be used wisely within our processes. At Walker Emulsions Burlington, we have achieved a closed-loop system by capturing hot process water for reuse in the production of asphalt emulsion, replacing fresh water that would have had to be heated before use. This allows us to recover not only the wastewater itself, but also the waste heat energy from other production processes. In the past, this hot water would have been sent to the sewer as waste.
At Walker Industries, we measure our Water Footprint across the company; this includes blue and green water. Blue Water Footprint is the volume of water consumed from the municipal water supply, delivered cisterns, bottled water and groundwater taken for the purpose of dewatering. The process of dewatering does not consume water; it simply moves the water from one place to another. Green Water Footprint is the volume of rainwater consumed or collected and used in a process. Processes could include rainwater used for dust control, aggregate wash plants as well as leachate generation.
In 2017, we saw an increase in our Water Footprint due to extremely wet and humid conditions at most of our operating sites. Walker Aggregates has a large blue and green water footprint due to dewatering activities required for flood prevention, continuing operations as well as for dust suppression. Due to precipitation in 2017, Walker Environmental also saw an increase in their Green Water Footprint from leachate generation and storm water management.
In 2017, we developed a Climate Management Strategy that consists of three key aspects: mitigation, adaptation and resilience. The goals of our Climate Management Strategy include:
- Reduce our contribution to climate change.
- Adapt operations to the changing climate to minimize risks and maximize opportunities.
- Develop business resilience by planning for and responding to climate impacts.
We work to provide education to our employees on climate change and climate change management as well as the relationship between business and climate change. Our approach to proactive climate management consists of conducting site-specific assessments to understand climate risks by engaging employees at the site level. We document our current controls and identify any gaps, which are managed through an ongoing action plan to mitigate risks. This provides each site with a plan to adapt operations to the changing climate.
In 2018, we plan to improve climate management resources across the company as well as information sharing to enhance our adaptation and resilience efforts.