Case Study: Annual Sustainability Excellence Awards

Case Study: Smithfield Foods –Annual Sustainability Excellence Awards

Companies can use recognition and reward to connect with employees in order to generate employee enthusiasm for a variety of programs, including sustainability initiatives. When Smithfield Foods began developing its sustainability program, it became apparent that significant efforts to conserve resources, reduce waste, and interact with the local community were already in place at many of its facilities. As Smithfield’s programs evolved and the results materialized, management decided it would be appropriate to recognize and reward the employees and projects that best represented company objectives. In addition to recognition for work well done, this process could serve to motivate other facilities and highlight best practices across the company.

To that end, Smithfield Foods developed a Sustainability Excellence Awards program. The program is simple and straightforward consisting of a submission form and a set of scoring criteria. Employees who have been involved in a sustainability project are eligible to submit project information for award consideration. Depending on the project, this information might include costs, savings, resource conservation and waste reduction achievements, and social impacts. All the submitted information is saved and compiled making it available for other data management purposes.

Submissions are reviewed and scored by the corporate Environmental Affairs team. Twelve to fifteen winners (out of what has grown to 120 – 150 submissions each year) are selected annually and recognized at an awards banquet held in conjunction with the company’s annual Environmental and Sustainability Training Conference. In addition to plaques and certificates, each winning project receives $5,000 which helps to inspire further employee participation. The $5,000 is apportioned between the project participants ($2,000 split equally among participants) and a local charity (the remaining $3,000) chosen by the project team. All project submissions are posted on the company’s intranet site which helps to identify additional sites suitable for similar projects and serve as inspiration for new ideas.

The Smithfield Foods Sustainability Excellence Awards program has been a significant success. Facilities across the company submit applications and compete with projects and programs that have become an integral part of Smithfield’s overall sustainability efforts.

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

Charleston|Orwig joins

Charleston|Orwig joins Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI)

Latest GEMI member brings reputation and communications expertise to EHS group

Washington, DC – The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI), the global leader in developing insights, networking and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business, today announced the membership of Charleston|Orwig, a strategic communications consultancy serving leading and emerging brands with a focus on sustainability, agriculture and the food system.

“We are pleased to add Charleston|Orwig to our group, because they bring a unique communications mindset to our membership of environment, health and safety professionals,” said Roland Mostovy, Sustainability Program manager, Ashland Inc., and GEMI’s membership chair. “While GEMI focuses on best practices for sustainability programs, Charleston|Orwig can help to better position and communicate these efforts externally.”

Lyle E. Orwig, founding partner, Charleston|Orwig, will be the senior representative to GEMI.

“Our clients are facing a much more socially conscious world, and we work with them daily on sustainability and corporate social responsibility strategies that help strengthen and protect their businesses, attract talent and investors and protect their social license to operate,” said Orwig. “We joined GEMI to better comprehend the processes and challenges EHS professionals navigate internally to build and continually improve their sustainability programs – ultimately, helping us be even better partners and advisors.”

“GEMI’s purpose is to work together on sustainability solutions and developing tools and resources to solve sustainability challenges, but all companies still need to know how best to communicate their sustainability efforts to stakeholders, shareholders, the public and even critics,” said Bill Gill, assistant vice president, Environmental Affairs, Smithfield Foods, and chair, GEMI. “Having Charleston|Orwig on board will infuse issues management and marketing expertise to our membership meetings and the materials we develop.”

For more information about GEMI, visit www.gemi.org.

About Charleston|Orwig

Charleston|Orwig, based in Hartland, Wisconsin, with a satellite office in Austin, Texas, is a full-service communications firm, providing integrated marketing and reputation management to food system clients—from agriculture through processing and distribution to the point of retail. For more information, visit www.charlestonorwig.com.

About GEMI

GEMI is the global leader in developing insights, networking, and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business. For 25 years, GEMI has captured the vision and experience of global corporate environmental, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability leaders from diverse business sectors through the development of a wide range of publicly-available, solutions-based tools designed to help companies improve the environment, their operations and add business value.

Case Study: Creating Accountability for Sustainability

Case Study: Perdue Farms, Inc. – Creating Accountability for Sustainability

Creating an environmental scorecard, integrating an environmental platform into the company goals and linking performance to compensation communicates the importance of sustainability and creates accountability. Based on the success of the company’s quality and safety strategy, Perdue’s Corporate Environmental Services group developed a process and collected data to measure where the company ranked on its environmental performance. The result was an Environmental Scorecard designed to define and quantify what environmental responsibility means to Perdue and provide a baseline for the company to measure continuous improvement and progress.

For each Perdue operation, the Environmental Scorecard has metrics that measure progress in two key areas: environmental compliance and environmental sustainability. These reflect what is important to Perdue – being consistently compliant and reducing the company’s environmental footprint. Regarding environmental compliance, the company reviews the results of audits, regulatory notices, and the timeliness of environmental reporting. Perdue’s sustainability efforts are aligned under three platforms: reuse and recycle, research and innovation, and community outreach. The scorecard includes challenge goals for recycling, green team activities (including energy, utility and natural resource conservation results), associate engagement, and use of an internally-developed Environmental Management System.

Since 1993, Perdue has set annual goals, a shared accountability for all associates, in the areas of People, Products and Profitability. The “3 Ps” as the company calls them, were based on founder Frank Perdue’s belief that if you treat people right and produce quality products, profitability will follow.  In 2013, a new company goal was added, a fourth “P” for Planet. The goal, to responsibly manage Perdue’s use of natural resources, has now become a corporate initiative, shared by every associate across Perdue Farms, with each associate accountable for and empowered to achieve the company’s Environmental Scorecard goals. Adding a Planet goal elevated Perdue’s environmental sustainability efforts to the highest level of accountability. The company has gone a step further by incorporating performance against the Planet goal into compensation. It is now a criteria within the Management Incentive Program, Perdue’s bonus program.

[This case study was featured in the GEMI Quick Guide for Cultivating Sustainability within an Organization]

Case Study: Employee Engagement in Waste Minimization – Ashland

Case Study: Employee Engagement in Waste Minimization – Ashland

The right partnership and a culture of sustainability make a big difference.

Employees at Ashland Consumer Markets (ACM) East Rochester, Pa., site have taken on the challenge to decrease environmental impact by curbing energy usage, reusing, reducing and recycling waste. In the past two years, ACM facilities across the globe have combined to recycle approximately 8.3 million pounds of materials while reducing the amount of solid waste generated by 10 percent. There has been significant effort placed on educating employees on conserving, eliminating, reducing and recycling waste.

As a leader in recycling and waste reduction, the East Rochester plant initiated the program more than three years ago by establishing housekeeping and maintenance standards that eliminated many leaks and drips, thus reducing oily water shipments. The ACM engineering group even designed a drip less sample port that eliminated drips and collection buckets that were always a challenge to manage. In the past, these containers collected storm water, additives and oil that ended up as a waste stream rather than being used in product. In the past fiscal year, the site reduced its oily waste shipments by 99,000 pounds.

The team then identified the next opportunity – reduce waste generated from operations. Their mission was to make recycling convenient and easy so that it can be sustained. Employees set up a central collection area by the plant maintenance shop to collect and segregate miscellaneous waste for recycling. Teaming up with the right recycler also made a big difference. The recycler takes all of the site’s recycled materials, allowing for more frequent shipments and less storage. “If sorting materials is a challenge for other sites, consider teaming up with recyclers that will take mixed materials and sort the waste streams,” suggested Mike Critchlow, plant manager at the East Rochester site.

The results are significant – last fiscal year, East Rochester reduced its overall solid waste generation by 48 percent and increased recycled materials by 26 percent. “Our sustainable successes in increasing our recycling efforts and decreasing solid waste generation could not be accomplished without the efforts of all of our employees,” said Critchlow. “In East Rochester, our team has been extra diligent in ensuring all items that can be recycled are placed in the proper receptacle. Recycling has become sustainable and is part of our culture.”

ACM’s Ten Team and operations manager at the ACM Cincinnati facility are now standardizing East Rochester’s practices across the ACM supply chain. For example, the Cincinnati and East Rochester plants both changed their recycling companies and the new company began accepting many materials that had previously been land filled as solid waste.

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