Certas Energy Is Fuelling Futures The Right Way: In Conversation With Wilma Kelly

Wilma Kelly, HSE Director and TSA Vice President, explores Certas Energy’s ambitions for the future and highlights the innovation, partnership and expertise that will be key to drive success going forward.

What are Certas Energy’s objectives and ambitions for the future?

From new products and digital innovations to sustainability goals and future fuels, our objectives are firmly focused on driving our customers’ future. Indeed, our objective is always to deliver the energy that homes, farms, and businesses rely on, while responding to the changing needs of the market with innovative solutions. We provide a convenient supply of high-quality, carefully sourced products while also offering expert advice for customers on the solutions that best meet their needs. Our ambition for the future is to continue enabling our customers to smoothly integrate alternative fuels, such as renewable liquid fuels as they manage their energy transition, and to become more environmentally responsible in ways that make sense for their business. We are continually innovating too, sourcing the latest fuel solutions that can help our customers achieve their emissions reduction goals while balancing their bottom line.

Certas Energy’s parent company is DCC, a leading international sales, marketing and support services group operating in 20 countries with the purpose to enable people and businesses to grow and progress. DCC has identified four pillars for future sustainability reporting. Within each of these pillars there are relevant targets and metrics for non-financial performance. This reporting framework is aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as to relevant elements of the GRI and SASB reporting standards. And our strategy is structured around these four core pillars:

1. First, climate change and the energy transition, to help customers reach net zero by supplying them with renewable and lower-carbon forms of energy and by helping them become more energy efficient. We will lead by example and have accordingly set targets to reduce our own carbon emissions to net zero in line with the Paris Agreement.
2. Second, the safety of the people we deal with and the communities we serve. We ensure this by operating safely and preventing pollution.
3. Third, the development of our people and, more widely, society. We contribute in this area by providing career and other development opportunities to a diverse range of people and by supporting selected community groups using our financial and non-financial resources.
4. Fourth, our commitment to high standards of governance and compliance, which preserves our licence to operate, giving us the opportunity to add value to our stakeholders. We have identified a series of metrics, which are aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to SASB and GRI reporting standards, to measure our progress in these areas.

Indeed, at Certas Energy we know that being sustainable takes more than a policy and a sense of purpose, so we’re making sustainability a business reality. And we are committed to being a responsible business. Supply chain integrity measures, in line with modern slavery requirements, are at the centre of our efforts, and we are firmly committed to being a diverse and inclusive employer that empowers all colleagues to reach their full potential.

In order to reach our ambitions for the future, we are also clear that membership in a trade association, such as the Tank Storage Association (TSA), provides us with a powerful industry-wide voice where and when it matters the most. At such an important time for the bulk storage and energy infrastructure sector, I have also recently taken on the role of Vice President of the TSA and have been working together with our members to champion this incredibly vibrant and innovative industry as it leads on the opportunities of tomorrow!

What is your outlook on the global bulk liquid storage market, its potential and growth drivers visà-vis other markets across the world?

As businesses navigate their path to net zero emissions, demand for bulk fuels will shift from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources, from electricity to hydrogen and sustainable liquid fuels. Sustainable liquid fuels – particularly blended biofuels and synthetic fuels – will have a significant cross-sector role to play within the energy transition period and beyond. Against this background, the scale up and commercialisation of low carbon sustainable fuels is essential to reach net zero GHG emissions. Indeed, it is widely accepted that future transport solutions will encompass a wide range of technologies and that low-carbon sustainable liquid and gaseous fuels will play an essential part for sectors, for example, that have limitations in using electricity directly, such as some sections of long-distance heavy-duty on and offroad transport, as well as maritime transport, potentially making up a significant share of transport energy demand in 2050.

The global bulk liquid storage market has incredible growth potential and there is a great deal of innovation taking place in the alternative fuels space. As the deadline of net zero carbon by 2050 draws closer, there are already several drop-in alternatives to diesel, such as Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), for example, that are taking the spotlight as a solution to keep us all moving while reducing emissions.

At Certas Energy, we are committed to fuelling the future success of our customers by helping them to navigate a successful energy mix transition. And we pride ourselves on offering fuel solutions that balance quality, value, safety, and sustainability, thereby contributing to the longevity of all the industries we operate in. We are on this journey together with our customers in the global bulk liquid storage market, and we work hard to support their growth with our expertise.

What are the opportunities and challenges that the post-COVID 19 period presents for the industry?

At Certas Energy, safety has always been the number one priority across all our operations. For us, this means taking care of our colleagues and partners, as well as the environment in which we operate. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, our safetyfirst mindset helped us to be prepared in the face of a new challenge. And we continue to reassure our customers with our commitment to safety – we have shown them what we do best! Right now, the challenge ahead is clear: as we strive towards net zero, the pace of change must be quick. New regulations, new fuels and new ways of working must all be integrated and fully understood to succeed and achieve net zero goals. For Certas Energy, as a fuel distributor, the challenge is to provide our customers with the best possible support to enable a smooth transition. In this light, we continually strive to improve and to provide the products and services that industry can rely on and grow with.

In the context of the Energy Transition, what are the biggest challenges in terms of maintaining safety and environmental performance whilst meetings the UK Government’s objectives for Net Zero?

The enduring principle of health and safety law is that those who create risks are best placed to control them. Therefore, robust risk assessment and sound health and safety credentials will be vital to technologies and products’ ability to gain the confidence crucial to their successful introduction and expansion. In this context, with future solutions expected to encompass a wide range of low-carbon technologies, a supportive and wellinformed policy framework will be key to drive success and to meeting the UK Government’s objectives for net zero. Meanwhile, industry must continue to seize the opportunities of tomorrow by driving the development of low-carbon vehicle technologies.

Against this background, it is vitally important that we have the right combination of skills, knowledge and expertise to deliver on future opportunities. In addition, as many of the health, safety and environmental hazards will have been encountered in other environments, we collaborate with our partners, developers and other industries to ensure we put safety first. For Certas Energy, in the context of safety and environmental performance, this means agility to adapt to a new energy mix, one which is as diverse as our customer base. It also means adapting to new regulations in safety compliance as well as adapting our operations, infrastructure, and investment programmes to introduce new products and services.

How can the industry ensure that the opportunities for the future can be seized?

At Certas Energy, we believe that collaboration is the key to success. We see it as essential to work cooperatively with government bodies, suppliers, customers, and industry peers to develop an aligned and long-term approach. Indeed, knowledge-sharing and education are invaluable tools that help us all to develop the skills we need to keep the liquid fuels and bulk liquid fuels storage industries thriving. Only then can we source the solutions fuel that our customers are looking for and optimise those fuels for accessibility and performance, even after long periods of storage.

With a culture of strong safety and compliance principles, Certas Energy is leading from the front. Tell us more about the SAFETY F1RST and Doing the Right Thing Initiative.

We have recently launched SAFETY F1RST VISION ZERO. It is the vision that brings all our divisions together as one business to create a world class health and safety culture, in which every single individual works towards our goal of Zero harm. At the heart of our vision is a shared behavioural-based approach to safety. Using the SAFETY F1RST principles already embedded in our business, we have refined our approach to HSE awareness and compliance to drive greater individual understanding and a shared responsibility. This means Zero Harm to our people, to our business, to our communities and to the planet. Health and safety not only begins with the right rules, regulations, and standards, but, crucially, with the right mindset. To support our SAFETY F1RST VISION ZERO initiative, we have recruited an extended team of SAFETY F1RST Champions right across our business. We are also part of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) Vision Zero campaign aimed at eradicating all work-related injuries and illnesses. And we are asking everyone to play their part, to speak up, to inspire others and to lead by example!

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