Webinar:

E3 and Sustainable Manufacturing Training

On June 3, GEMI held a webinar discussion with Tom Murray and Pam Swingle of the US EPA to learn more about the Federal’s government’s E3 initiative, and tools/resources available through the program.

E3 is a technical assistance framework helping communities, manufacturers, and manufacturing supply chains adapt and thrive in today’s green economy. E3 supports the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), a new Administration-wide initiative designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing and help communities cultivate an environment for businesses to create well-paying manufacturing jobs in cities across the country.

Through its E3 work, EPA’s Region 4 has developed the ‘Sustainable Manufacturing Curriculum: Greening the Future by Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce’ to help address the growing demand for employees who are trained to identify opportunities for improving process efficiencies and preventing environmental wastes.

Opportunity to Engage?

The webinar concluded with a discussion of potential opportunities to work together with EPA to modify the EPA’s Sustainable Manufacturing Training for corporations internal use to increase understanding of sustainability concepts among employees across the US.

If your company might be interested in participating in a collaborative GEMI effort focused on companies’ sustainable manufacturing training needs, please contact GEMI Program Manager Kellen Mahoney.

Case Study: Project Clean Stream – Perdue

Case Study: Project Clean Stream

Perdue has long supported the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay though corporate sponsorship and board involvement. Perdue pursued the partnership with the organization due to the Alliance’s experience in bringing together broad spectrums of stakeholders into collaborative efforts. In 2008, Perdue provided financial support for the Alliance’s Project Clean Stream, through a grant from the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, and put out a call for associate volunteers on Delmarva (the Delmarva peninsula encompasses portions of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia).

The partnership’s first event was modest:  30 volunteers at a single site not far from Perdue’s corporate office in Salisbury, Maryland. The volunteers included the company’s Chairman and other senior leaders, who waded into the mucky shoreline of two local waterways collecting everything from cans and bottles to rusted bicycles and used car tires. Organizers shared photos of the event through company-wide communication channels.

Following the inaugural event, an effort led by associates expanded the program across Perdue facilities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. When associates saw the opportunity to do something in their own communities, and of their own choosing, interest spread.

Project Clean Stream is now a company-wide event. Environmental managers at each location work with their local management teams to recruit volunteers. The Corporate Communication department identifies an individual on each team to report on the local results and provide photographs of the team. The communications team publishes the information on the company Intranet and Facebook page. As a result, there is now a friendly rivalry between locations to outdo each other and the volume and pounds of trash and debris collected from their local waterways continues to increase.

In 2014, more than 890 Perdue associates and family members harvested more than 74,000 pounds of trash and debris from 52 sites across nine states. Since 2008, more than 4,100 Perdue employees have collected more than a quarter million pounds of trash.

[This case study was featured in the GEMI Quick Guide for Engaging Employees in Sustainability.]

Case Study: FedEx Fuel Sense

Case Study: FedEx Fuel Sense

Fuel efficiency is a priority at FedEx. The FedEx Express aviation fuel management team strives to reduce fuel use and emissions while maintaining company standards regarding quality, customer service and safety.  Team members who work with FedEx aircraft adopt a fuel-efficient mindset and search out innovative ways to help the company save fuel. Over 40 different programs fall under the company’s Fuel Sense initiative.

The program’s mantra is straightforward: be the drop. This mindset and call to action reminds team members that one person, one action and one drop does make a difference. As a result, the company has saved 334 million gallons of jet fuel since launching the Fuel Sense initiative in 2007. This mindset also gives team members permission to believe that no idea is too small. Ideas can appear simple and logical, such as shutting down one engine while taxiing an aircraft between the ramp and the runway, or highly complex, such as developing new computer technology to optimize aircraft speed during travel.

FedEx relies on the insight and expertise of flight crews, dispatchers, aircraft mechanics, ramp personnel, engineers and analysts to identify opportunities on the ground and in the air. Teams evaluate the ideas, then planning and deployment across the network begins.

FedEx has learned several lessons as a result of undertaking this initiative, including:

  • Set common cross-divisional goals and language. This approach helped the Fuel Sense team enlist a large number of team members with various backgrounds and experience. This led to fuel-saving efforts that reached far deeper into the organization than if only a few managers had tried to solve the problem on their own.
  • Incremental wins open minds. The Fuel Sense initiative faced early resistance because the program challenged time-honored practices, such as always carrying de-icing fuel – even in good weather. A process was put in place, through a collaborative effort, to carry de-icing fuel only when ice was forecast. These early wins encouraged more team members to be a part of the solution.
  • Measure, monitor and promote savings. The team developed a simple report to monitor all initiatives. Key performance indicators help the team set goals, stay focused and maintain support from upper management. The Fuel Sense initiative now has champions at every level of the company.

[This case study was featured in the GEMI Quick Guide for Engaging Employees in Sustainability.]

Case Study: Gathering Employee Feedback

Case Study: Union Pacific – Gathering Employee Feedback

Employees are a powerful resource for improving a company’s environmental citizenship responsibilities.  A successful sustainability program starts with input from employees at all organizational levels. Those employees closest to the work often have the best context for reducing the company’s footprint. The challenge for Union Pacific, a company with nearly 50,000 employees located across 32,000 miles of track, is ensuring an effective exchange of ideas. In 2008, the company launched a stewardship suggestion process. By the end of 2014, more than 1,800 employees had generated more than 3,200 suggestions.

The company’s Environmental Management Group manages suggestions and formalizes this process, providing a web page for employees to submit their suggestions. Recognizing that not all employees will submit an idea online, the group also uses other communication methods. In a typical year, the company receives about 600 suggestions, and more than 40 percent result in some sort of change. Depending on the suggestion, that change could happen at an individual level, within a work area, or across the company.

Stewardship suggestions have affected Union Pacific’s environmental performance. Suggestions have increased recycling at dozens of locations, reduced printing by millions of pages, and saved energy in multiple locations. The suggestion process has strengthened employee environmental commitment, deepened engagement, and increased pride in working for the country’s largest freight railroad.

The suggestion process also provides a broader framework for the company’s environmental stewardship. At the surface, suggestions can help identify the next potentially significant area to pursue. At a deeper level, the ongoing dialogue gauges how well employees understand stewardship principles and the company’s efforts to carry them out. For example, initial suggestions were heavily focused on recycling; reinforcing the message that “reduce” offers more sustainable value than “recycle” led to a greater percentage of “reduce” suggestions.

Union Pacific’s stewardship suggestion program has added tangible value – from environmental footprint reductions to the integration of engagement throughout Union Pacific’s culture.

[This case study was featured in the GEMI Quick Guide for Engaging Employees in Sustainability.]

Image from UP Intranet