Since Ashland moved its headquarters from Covington, Ky., to Wilmington, Del., the company has completed several local sustainability initiatives that further its sustainability journey. Over the last three years, the American Chemistry Council, the Society of Chemical Manufacturing Association, the European Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, and others have recognized Ashland for safe and sustainable initiatives.

“Ashland is on a journey to expand renewable and sustainable solutions, help improve customers’ products and processes, reduce our environmental impact, preserve the world’s natural resources and enhance the quality of life in the communities where we operate,” said Guillermo Novo, chairman and CEO, Ashland.

Consistent with the company’s Responsible Care policy, Ashland actively endorses the concept of conservation of biodiversity by operating in a manner that minimizes effects on natural habitats and biological resources. The company combines conservation and corporate sustainability goals with environmental remediation efforts. 

Since 2014, several former Ashland remediation sites have achieved certification through the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), a non-profit, non-lobbying international organization dedicated to increasing the quality and amount of wildlife habitat on corporate, private, and public lands. This includes the Ashland Research Center in Wilmington.

Ashland’s employees have worked with Wildlife at Work (WAW), a Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) program; the site has achieved a WHC Silver Conservation Certification. Together, a wildlife habitat has been restored around a closed landfill (2.3 acres), including nesting sites for birds.  Employees assist in annual monitoring to continue to maintain the habitat and promote nesting. In 2020, Ashland expanded the WAW program.

Also in 2020, Ashland and the Delaware Nature Society designed a natural flora and fauna garden for the Wilmington campus that included the installation of a native plant meadow. The project began last spring and is expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year.  The plan includes the creation of a trail that allows visitors and employees to walk through and enjoy the native meadow. The meadow will provide a habitat for wildlife, including butterflies, bees, and other pollinator species. A long-term management plan has been developed for the area that includes invasive plant control, habitat improvement, and more.

A first for Ashland, and one of the largest solar carports in the state of Delaware, Ashland worked with Constellation Energy, a subsidiary of Exelon, and built approximately 904 kilowatts (kW) of solar energy generation at the Wilmington location. “Solar energy is clean energy,” said Nicole Voss, director, sustainability and environment, Ashland. “This exciting initiative will help us reach our 2025 Sustainability goals.”

Along with the electrons from the project going to power Ashland’s campus, the onsite solar project also delivers renewable energy certificates (RECs) to Ashland, which can be retained and retired to help offset the company’s Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions. With more of Ashland’s energy requirements coming from a carbon-free source like onsite solar, the company can begin to transition operations away from fossil fuels. Ashland reports that the project will generate enough electricity annually to power the equivalent of approximately 160 typical households.

To date, solar energy carport structures have been installed for both visitor and employee parking lots on the Wilmington campus. Working with Edison Energy as their project advisor and technical consultant, Ashland and Constellation broke ground on the project in January 2020. The solar carport was officially completed in October 2020 and is delivering clean energy to the campus.

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