“Fortunately my father guided me to a company that has sustainability in its DNA – Brenntag.
Especially in Chile we have a spectacular and rather overwhelming natural landscape literally just around the corner. Keeping this miracle of nature unspoilt and safe is a main concern for me and for everyone at Brenntag. Handling chemicals requires an enormous responsibility, not only towards our own employees but also to society as a whole.
As Plant Supervisor, it is my responsibility to connect all aspects of sustainability in my daily work. Always putting safety, quality and the environment first in our actions is what I aim for together with my team. I’m proud to be working for a company that has its heart in the right spot when it comes to something as important as sustainability.”
Interview about Marco’s work at Brenntag
“Taking care of ourselves by taking care of our environment”
Marco Riquelme has been with Brenntag Chile for 20 years and knows the company by heart. He is Plant Supervisor and Head of the Emergency Brigade at the site in Santiago de Chile taking his responsibility in regards to safety towards his team and the environment in general very seriously. Thinking of sustainability and acting to its principles is the basis of his daily work.
Marco, how has your career at Brenntag in Chile developed in the past 20 years?
My dad has been a truck driver all his life, working 25 years transporting products for Brenntag Chile. When I was in school, he told me stories of his work and the risks of the products that are handled here. For me, he was a super hero who lived every day faced with risks and returning home safely. I admired him and wanted to be like him.
When the opportunity arose, I presented myself at the offices of the company when I was 19 years old and I passed the selection process. I started at Brenntag mostly dedicated to housekeeping, quickly moving on to become Junior Operator of the drum filling plant and after that Plant Senior Operator working in the truck station.
I continued to be Supervisor of the warehouse and later yard Supervisor. As you can see I actually had worked in all areas in Operations before being promoted to my current position as Plant Supervisor. I’m now responsible for planning, executing and controlling various activities such as the filling plant for containers, bulk truck loading/unloading, and plant mixtures.
However, above all, my first responsibility is to ensure the safety and integrity of my team. This is made up of two people in the Mixing and Blending plant, three in the truck station and eight in the drum filling station. Additionally, I am also Head of the internal Emergency Brigade. As Plant Supervisor it is my task to connect all aspects of sustainability in my daily work.
What would you say is the best part of your job?
By far, the best part of my job is working with the team I lead. I have a team that supports me and accompanies me in all that I do, with the ability to work with joy. It is a team that takes care of each other and that encourages one another. Everybody can learn from each other. It already starts in the early morning when I gather the team to make the five minute CASA* talk.
In this talk before starting to work I address issues of quality, safety, or environment that are relevant to the work planned for the day. I see it as my responsibility as team leader that we reach our homes safely every day and therefore I put a lot of emphasis on our CASA program and the daily realization of its core messages. Thinking of sustainability and acting to its principles is the basis of my daily work.
Part of sustainability is the environment. Why do you think it is important for Brenntag to engage in environmental protection?
Because environmental protection is important for everyone and fundamental when it comes to working with the kind of products we work with. A company that destroys the environment destroys itself; a society that destroys the environment, destroys itself. The environment allows us to live and so taking care of it is a shared responsibility. Without this concern, Brenntag could not be sustainable, especially considering the hazardous nature of the chemicals we work with.
How would you describe the environmental awareness of Brenntag in Chile and what are examples of this approach at the site in Santiago?
The attitude of Brenntag Chile towards environmental protection is a clear commitment to respect, care for, and assess our environment, optimizing the use of natural resources, preventing pollution and minimizing environmental impacts. It invites us to take care of ourselves by taking care of our environment. This attitude is very integrated in each of our activities.
Today for example, it would be inconceivable to throw away paper or recyclable waste to a landfill. All of us try to minimize the use of natural resources. The same applies to energy. If for example you leave the lights of your office on for long, someone will call your attention and even turn them off for you. We live the so called 3R principle: reduction, reuse and recycle.
This includes for example the reduction of waste, water or energy consumption as well as reusing containers and recycling pallets, plastics, glass and paper. Some years ago, we even installed a solar panel to heat water for the sanitary facilities of our contract drivers.
Another very important cornerstone of sustainability is safety. What is your take on that?
For me it is the most important core value of Brenntag that we should cherish and take care of on a daily basis and in each activity. I’m very proud to be leader of our own internal Emergency Brigade and to contribute to making Brenntag in Santiago a safe place to work. I’m well aware of the responsibility for my team to ensure that everybody reaches his home safely each day. At our site in Santiago and I believe throughout all Brenntag sites globally every employee has the value “Safety First” in mind, which makes me very proud to work for this company.
The site in Santiago is located quite close to a residential neighbourhood. Does Brenntag Chile engage in any community work?
We regularly invite our neighbours to our emergency preparedness meetings as part of our annual emergency drills. They see how our brigade works, tour our facilities and clarify any concerns related to being neighbours of a large chemical distribution plant. I think it is very important to be a responsible community member as a company.
Furthermore, we have been working on a social responsibility project with a nearby school for several years. It is a large project that our CASA team has coordinated successfully, offering technical and financial assistance to the school in order to organize a Chemical Operator technical course for its young students. The school program includes a chemical laboratory specialization. All of this includes a dual education system, where two students come to our plant two days a week in their two last years of schooling, in order to have a practical experience.
Additionally, all of the students are invited to visit our plant with their teachers on a field day, learning more about what we do. All of this helps them improve their knowledge and increase their employability levels when they finish school. Brenntag has employed several of these students regularly.
Marco, what does “ConnectingChemistry” mean to you?
For me it is important that we do not only sell chemicals, but we serve our customers. Those customers manufacture the products for our own consumption and so, at the end of the circle, we are our own clients. “ConnectingChemistry” is to connect with ourselves.
I contribute with my leadership, responsibility, values and being a multiplier of the principles of Brenntag. I try to ensure that our team shares the company values and strives to provide the best service to our customers.
*CASA: Calidad, Seguridad & Salud y Medio Ambiente (the QSHE program of Brenntag Latin America)
You want to learn more about sustainability at Brenntag and our activities in the field of occupational safety and environmental protection?
Fact Sheet Marco Riquelme
Santiago de Chile
I am the oldest of 4 siblings: 3 boys and a young lady. I have the great fortune of having wonderful parents. I've been living with my girlfriend for three years. I have a stepdaughter who is the joy of our household; I think of her as my own daughter. We have created a wonderful home together. Together we form one great, big, happy family.
Metal construction technician; hazardous materials emergency technician
Career at Brenntag:
I arrived at Brenntag mostly dedicated to housekeeping, moving to becoming junior operator of the drum filling plant, later becoming a plant senior operator working in the truck station and moving on to warehouse supervisor in charge and later yard supervisor.
I was promoted to the Santiago plant maintenance supervisor and finally to my current position as Plant Supervisor of the filling station, including plant, bulk and mixing and blending. Additionally, I am Head of the internal Emergency Brigade.
Although our resources were scarce, I consider myself to have had a happy childhood, always accompanied by a soccer ball, a cat, and a dog. To this day, I always stop to pet any dog or cat that I come across in the street; I love animals.
I am from the generation that played on the street, in the park, or at home with friends, those who pretended to be super heroes and who came home dirty at the end of the day.
I'm from the generation that did not have smartphones, Nintendo, video games or computers; we solved everything using our imaginations.
I like to do sports such as playing football or jogging and on the other hand I enjoy going to the movies and theatre. Although lately the time is limited, I have been a volunteer for the Red Cross for several years, coordinating summer camps for young people in Chile.