Since Ashland moved its headquarters from Covington, KY to a its research site near Wilmington, the company ha completed several local sustainability initiatives.
Ashland’s new headquarters is part of the former research center for Hercules incorporated. Ashland acquired Hercules in 2008 and more recently moved its headquarters after spinning off its Valvoline motor oil business. Ashland started out as an oil refiner and after exiting that business built up its chemicals business buying Hercules and other businesses.
“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, CEO of the company.
Since 2014, several former Ashland remediation sites have achieved certification through the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), a non-profit 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, known as “solvers,” have worked with Wildlife at Work (WAW), a Wildlife Habitat Council program and the site has achieved a WHC Silver Conservation Certification.
A wildlife habitat has been restored around a closed 2.3 acre including nesting sites for birds. Solvers assist in annual monitoring to continue to maintain the habitat and promote nesting. In 2020, Ashland expanded the program.
Native plant meadow
Also, in 2020 Ashland and the Delaware Nature Society designed a natural flora and fauna garden for the Wilmington campus which 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 a 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.
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 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 electricity from the project going to power Ashland’s campus, the onsite solar project also delivers renewable energy certificates 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.
Overall, 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 already delivering clean energy to the campus.