At Lonza, sustainability is a key consideration in everything that we do. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality products and services to our customers, while minimizing our impact on the environment. At our Visp site, we actively support our global initiative of Vision Zero, the aspiration to work without incidents and reduce emissions, water consumption and waste. In addition, with the help of our Green Team of employee volunteers, we are supporting a number of social impact and environmental projects in the areas of mobility, recycling and environmental education in our local community.
Our ongoing projects include:
- Supporting the local fire brigade by providing additional services to the Upper Valais from the Lonza Visp fire brigade team, in addition to sharing knowledge and providing training on subjects such as dealing with chemical fires and floods.
- Investing in alternative and sustainable modes of transport by co-financing public transportation for employees to Visp, as well as running special bus routes and offering free e-bikes and e-car rentals.
- Working closely with the local canton and other local organizations to develop a sustainable infrastructure to ensure the long-term prosperity of the region e.g. as part of the Regional Development Program WIWA.
- Ensuring new buildings are equipped with solar panels where possible, to support the generation of renewable energy on site.
Addressing our Legacy Issues
As well as investing in our future, we are also actively working on the remediation of historic pollution issues. Our key focus areas include:
2016 saw the start of a detailed investigation at the historic Gamsenried landfill site. The aim of the investigation was to determine the contents of the old landfill in greater detail and implement corrective measures as necessary. Due to the size of the landfill, these works are due to take several years to complete.
Simultaneously, measurements of mercury in the ambient air were carried out in cooperation with the University of Basel. The measurement results are far below the limit of reference values. We have further strengthened the groundwater protection barrier and are regularly monitoring the groundwater.
In the past, mercury was used as a catalyst in Lonza Visp’s chemical processes. Residues of this metal have been found in the sediments of the surrounding soil and embankments of the large ground channel used by Lonza. We continue to work closely with the authorities to finance and implement the required technical investigations in residential areas and agricultural zones between Brig-Glis and Niedergesteln. Remediation of the affected residential areas is complete and the remediation of the agricultural plots is underway.
Other Legacy Site Issues
Like many older industrial sites, Lonza Visp has legacy pollution issues as a result of the historic lack of knowledge around environmental impact and obsolete legislation. Other pollution issues have been caused by anilines, solvents and substances from fire-fighting foams. These polluted areas are partly located under buildings dating back to 1907, when Lonza first arrived in Visp. Subsequently, the site was entered on the cantonal register of polluted sites at the end of the 1990s. Following further technical investigations in recent years, all pollution levels are continuously monitored and where necessary, secured or remediated. The project perimeter is also readjusted as part of new construction or conversion projects.