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The Power of Your People: Why Employee Engagement Programs are Essential to CSR Initiatives

By | General, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Sustainability | No Comments

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This guest blog post is authored by Scott Tew, Executive Director of the Center for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability (CEES) at Ingersoll Rand.

We’ve seen that our employees can teach us a lot about sustainability. In fact, many of their sustainable actions at home translate to, and thrive in, the workplace, further helping advance corporate engagement and sustainability efforts. By harnessing the motivating passion of employees and allowing them to work on projects near and dear to them, businesses are in a unique position to make corporate sustainability initiatives relevant to their staff’s day-to-day lives. Small, focused and passionate efforts made through employee engagement programs can make a big impact when viewed in the aggregate, highlighting the potential of these types of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

At Ingersoll Rand – an industrial leader in creating comfortable, sustainable environments – we’ve seen great success in engaging our employees on CSR efforts with our Green Teams program. Green Teams are local Ingersoll Rand employee volunteer groups green-monday-waco-2015_07_27_green-teamswith three goals: enable progress, measure progress, and celebrate success. Established in 2011, our Green Team network consists of nearly 100 teams around the globe.  This program has resulted in impactful, local projects globally. Domestically, we’ve seen a local Green Team entirely revamp the recycling program (signage, color-coding, bins, etc.) at our Charlotte Remanufacturing Center, which led to a 150 percent increase in recycling universal waste and e-waste in 2015. At Ingersoll Rand’s Taicang plant in China, where the Green Team will have invested more than 10,000 volunteer hours in Hengli School by the end of 2016, employees are improving school facilities and working with teachers to introduce new teaching techniques.


Through internal collaboration and partnership with community groups, Green Teams have successfully advanced our sustainability objectives highlighted in our Climate Commitment, helping the company avoid 2 million metric tons of CO2 – the equivalent to the electricity used in 270,000 homes for a year. Beyond reducing emissions, other climate change and environmental contributions have successfully:

  • Saved more than 80 billion BTUs of energy;
  • Saved nearly 6 million gallons of water; and
  • Avoided sending more than 6 million pounds of waste to landfills.

It’s important to help employees understand that their actions play an important role in meeting the company’s energy commitments. Therefore, we’ve instituted a system where employees can continuously self-report their progress in terms of personal actions, which allows the company to track and monitor total improvements made in energy efficiency and waste reduction. Not only does this demonstrate the tremendous impact of strong employee engagement on our greater CSR goals, it also inspires everyone to contribute more once they see the difference they’re making.

We believe that local, community efforts are key for making an impact on global sustainability initiatives and show us what companies can achieve with strong employee engagement programs. How are you unlocking the power and passion of your employees to work toward your CSR goals?

Sustainable Development Through Public-Private Partnerships

By | General, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Sustainability | No Comments

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This guest blog post is authored by William (Bill) Steers, general manager, communications and corporate responsibility for ArcelorMittal’s Americas region, which encompasses more than 50 steel production, mining and finishing facilities, and approximately 40,000 employees. He oversees the company’s corporate responsibility efforts across two continents as well as corporate communications, media relations and brand management. 

In 2014, ArcelorMittal launched a comprehensive new approach to ensuring the sustainability of our business and the contribution to society – our 10 sustainable development outcomes. The words we used to name this approach are important and specific – sustainable development outcomes. Sustainable development means, in short, meeting today’s needs without compromising future generations. At ArcelorMittal, we believe our company and the steel industry can rise to this challenge.

One of the many ways we contribute to sustainable development outcomes at ArcelorMittal is through public-private partnerships that build opportunities to be an active and welcome member of the communities where we operate. We recognize it is not enough for ArcelorMittal to be resilient and sustainable, the communities surrounding us must be as well. Our experience has shown that strong public-private partnerships can be instrumental in bringing together a variety of experienced, like minded partners to leverage collective resources around common goals for greater impact.

dscn0412Two strong initiatives that affirm ArcelorMittal’s commitment to public-private partnerships as a vehicle for community resilience and sustainability are Sustain Our Great Lakes and our evolving work with the Millennium Reservegreat-lakes-2

For some context, the Great Lakes are truly at the center of the ArcelorMittal business in North America. More than 70 percent of our employees in North America live and work in the Great Lakes region. Spanning the U.S./Canada border, these world-famous lakes provide drinking water to 35 million people and transport raw materials to steel plants responsible for around 20 million metric tons of steel each year.

In 2007, ArcelorMittal teamed up with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and several Federal agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to launch the Sustain Our Great Lakes. Addressing goals that will ultimately improve habitat and water quality across the basin, the SOGL program brings together public and private funding to make competitive grants for on-the-ground projects that sustain, restore and protect fish, wildlife and habitat in the Great Lakes basin. Since beginning the partnership we have contributed almost $6 million which has unlocked twenty times that amount in matched and grant funding. However the importance of the partnership goes far beyond the dollars we have contributed, the strong collaboration with partners, the ability to access and raise awareness among diverse stakeholder groups has allowed the partnership to substantially contribute to restoring approximately 33,000 acres and nearly 200 miles of marine and riparian habitat since our funding started.

July 14, 2016 Millennium Reserve press conference and announcement at ArcelorMittal in Riverdale, IL, on July 14, 2016, attended by David St. Pierre and Commissioner David J. Walsh, IL Rep Marcus Evans, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Wayne Rosenthal, Executive Director at South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association Edward Paesel, IDNR Suellen Burns, Marty Ozinga from Ozinga,

Millennium Reserve press conference and announcement at ArcelorMittal in Riverdale, IL, on July 14, 2016, attended by David St. Pierre and Commissioner David J. Walsh, IL Rep Marcus Evans, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Wayne Rosenthal, Executive Director at South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association Edward Paesel, IDNR Suellen Burns, Marty Ozinga from Ozinga.

A second exciting initiative is our participation with the Millennium Reserve. Our presence in the Calumet region brought us to the Millennium Reserve initiative at its inception. Since then, Millennium Reserve has been working to advance Sustainable Development initiatives that recognize and build on the nexus between economic development, stronger more resilient communities and the many environmental and ecological assets of the Calumet region

In the Calumet region of Illinois and Indiana, ArcelorMittal was a founding member of the Millennium Reserve– a public-private partnership formed in 2012 by then Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. The initiative brought together state and local government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private companies to advance Sustainable Development initiatives that recognize and build on the nexus between economic development, stronger more resilient communities and the many environmental and ecological assets of the Calumet region.

Last year, I was honored to become Chair of the Millennium Reserve, and with the support of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, move this project to the next level. To advance this exciting work, we are strengthening the partnership to foster new level of collaboration in sustainable development for our region by expanding across the border, engaging stakeholders in Northwest Indiana and taking a regional approach to solving the area’s greatest challenges. Only through partnership and collaboration can we leverage our collective resources to advance the Calumet region as it transforms itself into an area recognized for its economic, environmental and cultural value.

Each of these public-private partnerships represents a sustainable development opportunity for ArcelorMittal and an opportunity to leverage knowledge and resources beyond our own.  Partnering within our communities, government agencies and like-minded NGOs, we build stronger relationships and better understanding of stakeholder expectations in our communities. This provides a unique opportunity to ensure our business strategies align with the expectations for sustainability and resilience found in our communities.

Unite Our Country—Vote Manufacturing

By | General, Shopfloor Main | One Comment
The NAM Council of Manufacturing Association's 2015 Winter Leadership Conference, held Jan14-16, in Wilmington, Delaware.

The CMA’s 2015 Winter Leadership Conference, held January 14-16 in Wilmington, Del.

By Heidi Brock, President and CEO, The Aluminum Association

It’s impossible to turn on the news without hearing about some new twist or turn in the presidential election, and sometimes this campaign feels like the longest in memory—or in history. I find the political conversation this cycle is either starkly off the table or everywherewhether at a summer BBQ (is your family united behind the same candidate?) or traveling overseas (where every taxi ride includes a conversation about U.S. presidential politics). Many of us wonder, will it ever endlet alone, how will it end?

Well, yes, it will end. In less than four months, which will go fast, voters will head to the polls, elections will be determined, and a new president will be sworn into office. So a key question is, will we end up with leaders committed to strengthening U.S.  manufacturing?

With so much of the news coverage focusing on the reality TV dimension of this campaign season, it can be easy to overlook what’s really at stake: jobs, opportunity, paychecks and our communities. Will we remove the barriers standing in the way of manufacturers, or will we empower our sector to reach its full potential? Our entire country benefits from a thriving manufacturing sector and importantly benefits the more than 12 million men and women who make things in America. And another great thingsupporting manufacturing is a way to unite our country. It is something that both parties can be for and achieve together.

Manufacturers’ policy priorities are clear. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) spelled them out early this year in a pro-growth policy agenda, titled “Competing to Win.

The agenda includes a range of policy solutions: comprehensive tax and regulatory reform to ease the onerous burdens on businesses, serious investment in our ailing infrastructure and expanded opportunities for manufacturers to sell their products to customers overseas, while ensuring robust enforcement of trade policies, to name a few.

The bottom line is this: policymakers in Washington shouldn’t be distracted by silly partisan fights. They need to articulate a policy agenda that grows manufacturing in our country. And when manufacturers head to the polls, we must make sure we know where candidates stand on these important issues. So, let’s be sure that in this election season, we have done all we can to raise the profile of the manufacturing sector. Let’s be sure in this election season we get out the vote for manufacturing.

To spotlight these issues, members of the Council of Manufacturing Associations (CMA) are launching a Shopfloor blog series called CMA Insights. Over the coming months, you’ll hear from manufacturers from across the sector on what issues matter to us and what we expect from our leaders.

As chairman of the CMA, I am focused on ensuring that we not only strengthen the CMA but that our concerns and priorities are heard loud and clear by lawmakers. Cable news may not always cover the real issues, but CMA Insights certainly will! And remember, a great way to unite our country is to vote manufacturing.

Don’t miss NAM Senior Vice President of Communications Erin Streeter’s interview with Aluminum Association President and CEO Heidi Brock live on periscope at the CMA Summer Leadership Conference. Tune in on August 11 at 1:00 p.m. to hear more on why manufacturers must join together to share their stories.

Heidi Biggs Brock joined The Aluminum Association, based in Arlington, Va., as president in October 2011 and became CEO in October 2013. The association’s 104 members represent a significant majority of the primary U.S. aluminum producers, secondary producers and semifabricated product producers, as well as industry suppliers and distributors. Member companies operate approximately 180 plants in North America, with many conducting business worldwide. Brock is chair of the NAM’s CMA. The CMA, made up of nearly 260 industry-specific manufacturing associations, is a vital component of the NAM, providing resources and networks to members to broaden the reach of the NAM’s advocacy efforts.

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Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Contracted Again in July

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After slightly expanding for the first time since January 2015 in June, manufacturing activity in the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank’s district contracted once again in July. The composite index of general business conditions dropped from 2 in June to -6 in July. This region has been challenged for much of the past two years by pullbacks in the energy sector and the stronger U.S. dollar, and the sample comments suggest that post-Brexit anxieties might have lowered sentiment in this release’s data. New orders (down from 4 to -5), production (down from 12 to -15) and shipments (down from 10 to -17) all returned to negative territory for the month. One-third of all respondents saying that their sales were lower in July, with 28 percent suggesting that sales were higher and 37 percent noting no change. At the same time, the rate of decline somewhat for both hiring (down from -4 to -5) and exports (down from -1 to -7). Interestingly, the average workweek (up from 1 to 7) widened in this report. Read More

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Retail Spending Picked Up in June

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The Census Bureau said that retail sales picked up in June, increasing by 0.6 percent and rising for the third straight month. Spending rose by 2.0 percent in the second quarter, a nice improvement from being down 0.6 percent in the first quarter. This suggests that Americans were more willing to open their pocketbooks in recent months – progress after a more cautious stance at the end of last year and earlier this year. Retail sales have increased by 2.7 percent over the past 12 months, up from 2.2 percent in the prior report. Moreover, reduced gasoline prices (down 9.6 percent year-over-year) pulled the headline number lower. Excluding gasoline, retail sales were up 3.9 percent year-over-year, suggesting that consumers have increased their purchases have risen at a fairly decent pace over the past year. Read More

FAA Extension Takes off from House on Time

By | General, Shopfloor Policy, Transportation | No Comments

Today, the House passed H.R. 636 to extend the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs until September 30, 2017. While manufacturers are eager for the long-term certainty that a full FAA authorization brings, the 15-month bipartisan extension negotiated between the House and Senate is a next-best option. Manufacturers appreciate the effort to avoid stop-gap extensions, which create instability and disadvantage our job creators when a bipartisan bill like this can’t get over the finish line.

To reach bipartisan consensus, the bill also includes some modest policy provisions on safety and security that were negotiated between House and Senate aviation leaders. Of note, the legislation includes additional guidance on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drone use, specifically for emergency response and critical infrastructure. The innovative applications of drones are endless and show great promise for manufacturers who are looking to UAS technology to inspect and secure facilities and other land-based assets. This guidance takes a practical approach to ensure safety remains the top priority while realizing the potential of this new technology.

With a 15-month reprieve, there is still important work to accomplish, and the NAM urges Congress to seek a long-term bipartisan FAA reauthorization ahead of the September 30, 2017, deadline. Reforms that would enhance the competitiveness of U.S. aerospace manufacturing through improvements to the FAA’s certification process for aircraft design and modifications are critical and should not be delayed. As aviation technology advances and manufacturing becomes more innovative, red tape and bureaucratic inefficiencies pose a risk to our globally competitive and enviable position in this sector. The FAA international certification process must not encumber, but strengthen American exports of aerospace products, which grew its annual trade surplus to a record $82.5 billion in 2015.

Today, Congress acted to keep critical FAA programs and the world’s largest aviation market open without further delay, and manufacturers urge the Senate to quickly get the FAA extension to the president’s desk. However, Congress must now recommit to working on a bipartisan, long-term bill that addresses critical reforms that support manufacturing competitiveness as well as bold funding solutions to tackle growing airport infrastructure demand, which create backlogs that cost American travelers and manufacturers billions of dollars annually.

NAM’s Timmons: Our Economy Isn’t Creating Jobs Fast Enough!

By | General, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

July 16 Job Numbers - Jay

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ release of the June jobs numbers today:

“While many in Washington may claim today’s report is a positive development, the bottom line is that an increase in the unemployment rate is unacceptable. Our economy isn’t creating jobs fast enough, especially manufacturing jobs. While 14,000 new manufacturing jobs last month is a positive development, we have lost 24,000 manufacturing jobs so far this year. We are not reaching our full potential. Our elected leaders in Washington and candidates on the campaign trail need to give us clear answers. What are they going to do to remove barriers to economic growth? If they need a guide, manufacturers have already outlined a clear agenda to move us forward.

“It’s frustrating for manufacturers to hear both major party candidates pretend the solution is to bash free trade and perpetuate myths about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and trade agreements in general. It’s time for this isolationist rhetoric to stop. It helps no one—except our competitors in the global economy. The United States should be writing the rules on trade. Trade opens up opportunities for manufacturers in the United States to reach new customers with our products, strengthening our economy and creating good jobs.”

Driving a Global Movement to Zero Waste

By | General, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Sustainability | No Comments

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This guest blog post is authored by John Bradburn, GM global manager of waste reduction. It is the inaugural blog post in the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Manufacturing a Sustainable Future blog series. 

It’s an exciting time to be working in the automotive industry. Our chairman and CEO, Mary Barra, believes the industry will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50. GM is restructuring its portfolio to maximize vehicle efficiencies, electrifying vehicles and providing connectivity solutions that promote sustainability. All of this transformation includes our operations and how we make our products. We are committed to responsible manufacturing that conserves our industry’s vital resources. Read More

Section 385: From Debt to Equity—Listen to NAM’s Latest Tax Podcast

By | General, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Taxation | No Comments

Though released as part of a package designed to curb cross-border mergers, the Treasury’s broad regulations do little to stop this activity. Instead, these efforts will have a significant negative impact on manufacturers in the United States while stifling investments, job creation and economic growth.

In this week’s Shopfloor podcast, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy Dorothy Coleman and NAM Senior Director of Tax Policy Carolyn Lee discuss the implications of these regulations.