Companies are not just the engines of the economy – they are also corporate citizens. The basis of corporate citizenship is maintaining a good relationship with immediate neighbors. As a chemical manufacturer, we make sure that we openly communicate what happens behind our factory gates. Every WACKER location around the world is obliged to provide constructive, candid responses to questions from local communities. We respond quickly and clearly. WACKER’s environmental reports and other brochures are full of information about our sites. On top of this, we welcome the public into our plants for open house days and other events, such as Burghausen’s environment information day and Nünchritz’s annual neighborhood dialogs. We maintain local hotlines and have central contact persons ready to deal with questions and other matters.
In 2008, Wacker Chemical Corporation invited employees, their families and local residents to its Adrian site (Michigan, USA). 1,100 visitors came to tour the plant’s manufacturing facilities, distribution center and technical center.
In fall 2008, WACKER started building a new polysilicon plant in Nünchritz (Germany). The project is expected to cost €800 million and will create some 450 jobs. WACKER informed local residents about the construction work early on. Practical discussions covered noise pollution, potential vibration damage to houses, the clearing of some birch woodland, and the community’s afforestation plans. WACKER handled the compensatory measures quickly and straightforwardly. For example, WACKER is having 32 acres (13 hectares) in Leckwitz and Nünchritz landscaped to make up for the cleared woodland. The company has also had additional trees planted as a screen for local residents.
At WACKER’s salt mine in Stetten (Germany), we built a new access route – the Clara tunnel – in 2008, opening the mine to road vehicles. Now, trucks can transport backfill directly into the mine. Costing €6 million, the new tunnel is important for safeguarding jobs – the site has about 60 employees. Some of Stetten’s residents expressed misgivings about backfilling mineral waste, fearing that the mine’s open-air bunker transfer would cause dust pollution. Even though precautions at the mine met all technical/health considerations and even exceeded legal requirements, WACKER introduced extra measures to ease the minds of local residents. For example, we stopped reloading material above ground completely. Another step was to continue taking dust measurements outside the mine in 2009 (originally a temporary measure) and to set up supplementary measurement points. WACKER also commissioned TÜV Süd – a technical inspection body – to review the earlier appraisals of an independent expert.
WACKER directly and indirectly supports local communities, both as employer and customer. In 2008, our Nünchritz plant in Saxony, for example, sourced 26.5% of its deliveries and services from companies based in this east German state, with a further 12% coming from companies in other parts of east Germany. The total value of these deliveries and services exceeded €130 million.
Another example is Burghausen, WACKER’s largest site and part of Bavaria’s Chemical Triangle. A supply-chain study by Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilian University revealed that a single job in the Triangle secures almost two other jobs elsewhere in Germany.