When Geminor's new Sustainability Manager signed on with the company in February 2023, it was with one main ambition: To make a difference in sustainability. With a recent PhD in the field of microplastics, the former environmental scientist was well qualified for the job.
"I've spent the last decade working in environmental science, focusing on the impact humans have on our planet. My PhD took me to the polar regions, both Arctic and Antarctic, to investigate the extent and consequences of plastic pollution in these areas. From reporting on the effects of plastic pollution in some of the most remote places in the world, it's a very interesting transition to work on the challenges of waste management," says Jones-Williams.
For the 32-year-old, being "part of the solution" is the biggest motivation for working in the industry.
Geminor is in a phase of rapid growth, making it important to establish a functional and standardized ESG and sustainability plan across all markets.
“We are currently working with a dual focus on sustainability. On one side we work on Research and development, and how to achieve more sustainable waste treatment in the future. Many of our HUBs in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and the UK are involved in projects with the intention of building more knowledge on increasing the circularity of plastics in the waste stream. Of course, there are many facets to the plastic problem, but working in waste management, our goal in Geminor is to offer customers the best options for innovating plastic away from landfill.“
An example of this is the “Pilot for a new chemical process for circular plastic”, which aims to create customized streams of waste plastic for the growing chemical recycling industry whilst simultaneously reducing the emissions of the residual waste sent for energy.
“The second focus is on how we can contribute through transparency. We must find and report on the most efficient transport and use of machinery, and secure the most sustainable offtake in the right markets. We need to work closely with the entire value chain, using the vast database Geminor has developed over nearly 20 years to help guide our customers and partners in making the right choices,” says Jones-Williams.
A challenging regulatory framework in the EU
Geminor has offices across Europe, which can be challenging given the different legislation. These disparities often create market uncertainty and loopholes that do not benefit the environment, says Jones-Williams.
“There has been a real inequality in reporting standards on sustainability that has led to the proliferation of greenwashing. I am happy to hear about the new EU Corporate Social Responsibility Directive (CSRD) which has a mandate to increase accountability of a company’s sustainability and the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) that drafts the framework for how to do this. Again, these take time to come into force, but at Geminor, we are working on being compliant with this reporting standard by the end of the year.“
“It’s vital that we integrate the ways in which we measure our ESG impacts, risks, and opportunities into everyday operations. At the same time, we must build awareness and understanding of sustainability among employees, as this is a crucial aspect in reaching our common goals. To do this we will be educating and promoting close collaboration on ESG goals and best practices among our employees,” says Sustainability Manager at Geminor, Kirstie Jones-Williams.