Reducing Our Impact


Reducing our impactStepan, a charter member of Responsible Care, is committed to operating in a safe and sustainable manner, and to consistently working to reduce our environmental footprint. The company strives to manufacture chemicals in a way that will minimize the materials taken from and the wastes returned to the environment, as well as to reduce the amount of energy used in operations. Stepan will work closely with customers and supply partners to maintain and further our continuous commitment to sustainability.

In order to effectively reduce our global impact, the Company will measure and track:

  • Water consumption in our processes and products
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Energy consumption

Our Commitment to Successful and Ongoing Impact Reduction

The initial focus of Stepan’s sustainability program in this area has been energy-efficiency improvements, water-use reduction and recovery, and waste elimination.

The Company’s Illinois warehouse was designed utilizing the latest industrial building efficiency systems, including a roof insulation containing a Stepan polyol and occupant-sensitive lighting and temperature controls.

Innovative programs were implemented that added the necessary systems and controls for condensate recovery and wash water reuse. At several sites, waste reduction initiatives, including process control strategy changes and improved processing equipment, resulted in a 24% decline in Stepan’s North American process-generated waste streams since 2005.

In 2010, more than $7 million was invested in energy reduction projects, including installation of a modern, high-efficiency steam boiler and the upgrading of large process air blowers in our phthalic anhydride production unit in Elwood, Illinois. These combined efforts will reduce energy usage by more than 14 million kilowatts annually.

In 2013, Stepan achieved its goal to reduce our waste to below 4.1 pounds per 1,000 pounds produced. Over the long-term we will work toward further waste reductions, aiming for a long-term goal of 3.0 pounds waste per 1,000 pounds produced. Stepan is conducting studies on water re-use and conservation techniques which would help conserve our use of well water.

Our Commitment to Sustainable Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil Production

Stepan Company has been a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since 2011, and fully supports the mission of the RSPO to make sustainable palm oil and palm oil derivatives the industry standard. We make customer needs our primary interest and are, therefore, responsive to changes in markets with regard to sustainable palm oil and derivatives. In response to customer inquiries related to responsible sourcing of palm and palm kernel oil (PO/PKO), Stepan has set targets for certification of our remaining sites. We expect to have all sites that handle PO/PKO or derivatives certified by 2016 and target 2020 for using 100% certified palm kernel oil and derivatives. These commitments are dependent upon our suppliers’ ability to provide the volumes we need and upon our customers’ willingness to invest in the associated costs for sustainable supply chains.

Stepan Europe now offers two products certified as sustainable by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Stepan sites in Wesseling, Germany and Stalybridge, United Kingdom received mass-balance certification in June 2014 and began offering STEOL® CS-270 CIT/MB (Wesseling) and STEOL® CS-270/MB (Stalybridge) in the third quarter of 2014. Stepan’s RSPO-certified product offerings will increase over the next two years and interested customers may contact Stepan Europe Technical Service at to learn more about these product offerings.