Bochemie Bohumín Ltd. is the parent company of the Bochemie Group. Since it was founded, it has worked to meet health, safety and environmental requirements: for example by adhering to the chemical industry's Responsible Care programme. One of the most important steps it has taken so far to improve its environmental performance has been to introduce Cleaner Production (CP) in its chloramine production plant. Support from CP experts was available to the company through a European Union PHARE project. Company representatives participated in training at a new Cleaner Production Training Centre. Organisational and technical measures were identified with a focus on eliminating pollution of waste-water. The measure implemented so far have reduced waste-water volume by 3900 m3 per year and the level of inorganic salts (chlorides and sulphates) by 122 tonnes per year. Energy consumption has also decreased by 900 GJ per year. Total cost savings of US$ 45,000 have been realised. Other measures are under way and further savings of US$ 145,000 have been estimated. As a result of the surprisingly high cost savings, the company has decided to apply CP to other areas of its business.
The chemical sector in the Czech Republic consists of three large domestic groups, two large foreign competitors (specialising in consumer goods) and three small chemical factories. The small factories have not yet been completely privatised. There is a trend towards concentration of ownership within the sector and domestic chemical companies are under increasing pressure from international competitors; only companies that successfully restructure will be able to survive. In the past the Czech chemical industry has neglected environmental issues and the low level of environmental awareness, coupled with the lack of clean technologies and qualified staff to deal with environmental issues, has contributed to poor environmental performance. The situation is further complicated by insufficient legislature, in particular on waste. The introduction of Cleaner Production (CP), voluntary-sector programmes such as Responsible Care and formal environmental management systems (EMSs) provides the chemical sector with tools to improve environmental performance.