Corporate Responsibility


Donald Trump said, “As long as you’re going to think anyways, THINK BIG.”

At first, Saturn of Indiana’s manufacturing plant didn’t think they could achieve zero landfill status, but by setting the goal and thinking big, they were able to take the neccesary steps to that mark. OK, I know Trump wasn’t refering to zero landfill status when he talked about thinking big, but you get the point.

Industry Week published a few briefs dated July 1 (so I’m assuming the articles are coming out in a to be released paper issue) and it caught my green-manufacturing eye.

I think the tone of the articles are a sign of green becoming commonplace. The magazine describes the necessity of green practices and its benefits while barely even mentioning the planet, or our climate. They just highlight companies that have made efforts to contribute zero waste to landfills: in Subaru of Indiana’s case, done in part by making sure materials are used again and that the byproduct of byproducts are sent for recycling.

Subaru also hired Allegiant Global to help them keep up with their zero waste goals because assafety and environmental compliance manager Denise Coogan, Subaru of Indiana says.

“We’re in the car making business, not the waste management business,” 

“Allegiant finds us places to recycle our material.”

And they do this by doing three primary things:

 

“on-site collection and sorting of recyclable materials,

advice on using recyclable and reusable materials,

and creation of markets for manufacturing byproducts. “

 This is the kind of thing the Green Collar Economy B2B Directory was made for. Finding companies like this that can help you save money and reduce waste.

 

Industry Week also highlights another large corporation, Frito-Lay, which has created their very own Department of Energy, which allowed them to better develop an off grid energy plan.

 

With progression like this, the planet benefits while you, the manufacturer, benefits. The attraction of a green economy is the idea that it could actually create a stronger economy while we making the necessary changes needed to preserve earth.

An important lesson to learn from these stories is that they never thought “zero waste”, or “net zero” would happen at such a large plant or at such a large scale but by taking the right steps in the right direction, it gradually became a reality.

As a general rule, it’s a great idea to aim high. Even if you think zero waste or even carbon neutrality is not possible, aim for it anyways, set a deadline and try to get as close to it as you can. Even if you don’t hit the number you expected, you will be headed in the right direction.

 

First of all, the Electronics Supply and Manufacturing website just summarized the first chapter of the book Green Electronics Design and Manufacturing by Sammy G. Shina. My Cradle to Cradle sumnmaries pale in comparison to this in depth excerpt. It’s more like a brief text book.

It would be a great read for green manufacturing managers who aren’t sure if they need to read the whole book. However, they do provide a link to buy the book (Perhaps I should provide one to Cradle to Cradle).

Second, The Greening of Lean Manufacturing, a press release for McClarin Plastics published by emediawire.com informs readers that McClarin has increased business, kept to their lean principles, become greener, and increased profits.

“We are anxious to share what we’ve learned about eco-responsibility through using Lean principles. Our hope is to get everyone in a supply chain operating on the same page so they too can realize the benefits…We’ve lowered overhead and increased cash flow which we’ve re-invested back into the company.”

 said Roger Kipp, vice president of marketing and engineering for McClarin Plastics in Hanover, PA

It a bit of a controversial story, a Hornell, New York factory has proposed that they switch to a 10 hour per day, four day workweek. This sounds great at the onset. Three day weekends every week; fewer commutes, which will save on gas; and only four days that the factory has to be open, which will save them energy costs as well.

The problem is the overtime availability. You can’t please all of the people all the time and 49 out of 600 people said they would not prefer the four day work week. One reason is that some feel their overtime opportunities will be taken away, and that this is really just the factory avoiding having to pay for that extra cost.

Personally, I think a four day work week is a great idea. It could become even more common in the green economy as businesses look to save on energy and assist their workers with transportation costs. There will be no decision, though, until the factory manager makes an official written proposal and the Union has its say.

 

Just watched a Bill McDonough video on youtube that highlights some important aspects of Cradle to Cradle, which can be related here. As he said, “He is in the business of making things.” So are we.

The video gives a basic idea of what the book was about; one youtube commenter said “no bother buying and reading the book, he summed it all up here.” There’s no substitute for reading the actual book but I kind of agree that he sums up the ideaas behind Cradle to Cradle and gets you to buy into his concepts in the 20 minute video.

He states that

Our goal is a delightfully diverse, safem healthy and just world, with clean air, water, soil and power- economically, equitably, ecologically, and elegantly enjoyed.

Such a great image that seems very possible, but comes with manufacturers consiously choosing a lifecyle for prducts that is sustainable.

Another point that he makes that was my facvotire part until I watched the city creation at the end was his description of the elegance of a tree,

Imagine this design assignment: Design something that makes oxegyn, sequesters carbon, fixes nitrogen, distills water, accrues solar energy as fuel, makes complex sugars and food, creates micro climates, changes colors with the seasons and self replicates.

Now, why don’t we knock that down and write on it.”

Perfect

He also points out that “Competition means strive together. Olympic athletes compete together in order to get fit together. Survival of the fittest can build a fit community.”

He created a city that you have to see to believe.

It’s worth it to watch from 17:44 on to watch the transformation of a field to a city. Completely sustainable and follows his ideas of cradle to cradle.

 

 

 

 

I finally watched The Story of Stuff, the 20 minute web movie about, well, The Story of Stuff. Maybe I’m the last person but I’m glad I finally took the time to watch it.

So informative and didn’t seem too lean to far to the green side of business. It really just laid out the reality that we only have one planet and we are using and wasting resources at an alarming rate. If not for our behavior just for the sheer number of people on the planet.

Obviously this affects manufacturing and it brings me back to the “Cradle to Cradle” concept, which is that we can’t have a linear production system. Part of green manufacturing is that the products that are produced must have a definite destination once they are done being used.

Since, as pointed out in The Story Of Stuff, we are a consumer society that thrives on using things for a while and then throwing them away, the manufacturing of the stuff must take this into consideration as well.

Once whatever you make heads to a consumer, where is its final resting place. In the Green Collar Economy, this question must be answered before it is even made. Will it be recycled? Will it be incinerated? Will it last for a long time? Was it made to last for a short time so that people buy more?

The true green manufacturers take this into consideration and ethics and corporate responibilty are critical points that sometimes conflict with the almighty dollar.

That’s why we’re working toward profitable sustainability

Natural Care  

          Simmons announced the relaease of a line of mattresses that will be sold under the SIMPLY GREEN label at JC Penny stores, with the support of green guru Danny Seo. Dan is the man when it comes to green lifestyle choices and Simmons says the mattresses, which are made with organic and renewable materials make green choices available under a brand people trust. Which I agree with and is true.

 

          The best part about the press release, though is that the new components are actually better for you as far as keeping allergens away and it also provides a better nights sleep. Take heed green manufacturers. Some green changes could actually increase the quality of your products.

 

“Natural Care® mattresses feature natural latex made from biodegradable materials like rubber tree sap, which is harvested and refined to create one of the most soothing and responsive sleeping surfaces in the world. The highly resilient and durable nature of latex means that a mattress will retain its shape and performance for many years to come. Natural Care® latex is also inherently resistant to dust mites, mold and mildew. Furthermore, beneath the Natural Care® mattress latex layer is a layer of base foam enhanced with soy. The use of soy reduces the amount of petroleum needed to manufacture the foam and results in a smaller carbon footprint. “

 

 

Ahhh, okay I’m gonna go take a nap.

Get your turbine engines revving in Texas because thanks to T. Boone “T BONE” Pickens, the largest wind farm in America will be built in the Lone Star State’s Panhandle. The project run by his company, Mesa Power should create plenty of new jobs and also could create enough energy to power a million homes.

Who would have guessed that a Billionaire Texas Oil Tycoon would commit to generating power through a renewable source? I guess selling oil at high prices has made him enough money to fund such a project that will save him from going out of business.

The manufacturing process that will ensue because of this endeavor will be huge considering the size of industrial strength wind turbines, but the reward is power for as long as the wind blows and a break to

 

Happy Earth Day. I must say that the media blitz on the Green America lately cannot be avoided. The weather is nicer in most of the country and people are outside enjoying the fresh air. This season, this year, after this Earth Day will be one of the greatest tests of how serious Americans really are about environmental issues. A huge spike in eco awareness among our population could lead to a huge spike in alternative ways to deal with waste, energy, and personal decisions.

 

The manufacturing sector should be ready for the type of overhaul that will surely come in the next few years. The average American home will look different and the most glaring difference would be what today is called eco-friendly practices. The Green Collar Economy is a place where today’s eco friendly practices are commonplace. Automatic givens in every community.

 

Starwood hotels is working on an experimental earth friendly hotel where they try out the following green features:

 

Energy star appliances

Energy efficient light bulbs

water saving faucets and fixtures

 

Soap dispenser in the shower

Low toxicity paint

Wood bed frames from certified forests

Couch cusions made from soy

Recycle bins

Low toxicity paint

Recycled carpet

 

The first three save Starwood money and possibly even the consumer and some might argue that the soap dispenser saves money too. The rest are just sustainable ways to give us the things we need, including comfort and luxury. It also shows how its important not to waste anything. Manufacturers must take into consideration that almost everything can be recycled and lean practices have been leading the way to zero waste for years.

 

The final point I want to leave you with is that the above green features should and will be standard features in the average American home (and extended stay hotels) soon. Just make sure you reuse the out of date stuff in the right way.

          Today, I take a look at my hometown. I believe I can make a difference most in my own community. Impacting the lives of the people I associate with seems more within my grasp. That’s why when the city of Boston sponsors green economic development, I am personally excited. It means that my community is doing something for the environment and is spending their money on renewable alternatives.

          My favorite so far is the urban compost center that will be the first of its kind. It will capture heat from a compost heap made of local restaurant scraps and yard waste and turn it into energy. The co2 that burns off will contribute to a greenhouse full of plants located above the compost pile. They have made plans to install wind turbines on the roof of city hall and there are other initiatives as well.  Also Massachusetts based Evergreen Solar has announced it will double its size and add 350 jobs.

In the article they also cite that

“Besides Evergreen, the state recently attracted a wind blade research facility that will be built near the Tobin Bridge. In addition, Greatpoint Energy, a Cambridge company that specializes in coal and natural gas conversion technology, is building a pilot facility in Somerset, MA.”

          It seems like communities across the country are looking to be the leaders in renewable energy and green business practices. I have read the phrase “If we take advantage of the green movement, we can put (insert region) at the forefront of growth in this industry” or something like that by writers from Buffalo, Vermont, Ohio, Indiana, and New Mexico. California and Oregon seem like they are already at the forefront. Hot weather desert states have the sun while the plains are looking towards corn and wind. Detroit has said they want to be at the forefront and think they have what it takes.

          I don’t want to get too historical but besides the analogies to the Industrial Revolution, I’ve also heard the “space race mentality” term being thrown around a bit too. All of these states, along with private corporations, are competing to be leaders and create a competitive advantage. This type of competition also speeds up the progression to a Green Collar Economy.

I spend a lot of time here promoting the use of green practices right now. My opinion has usually been,

“Let start taking advantage of innovative technologies and reduce non renewable energy usage today.”

The environmental reasons and capitalist reasons are plenty. But today I read a statement by Wake Forest University that made me stop and think.

Adam Mayer, the founder of the Wake Forest American Energy Security chapter said,

“…absolutely solar, wind, geothermal, etc., but only as soon as they are economically feasible. Trying to be completely renewable now will put too much strain on the US economy and on US taxpayers. The trucker strike is a prime example of the fact that we need cheap fuel now.”

So I opened my mind and dropped these words in. It makes so much sense. There needs to be a bridge to the green economy. We can’t get by on fumes while we try to set up new infrastructure; we need to work with what we got.

The purpose of greencollareconomy.com is simply to promote the idea that “We need to do the things that will save us money. By converting to renewable energy we are building a new revenue stream and simultaneously preserving the environment.”

If it is not economically feasible to work green manufacturing into your process, be sure to be aware of the things that you can do. Grasp green and apply it where possible.

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