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Whirlpool Keeps Its Promise, Delivers Sustainability Wins

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At Whirlpool Corporation, we are committed to being a responsible corporate citizen, both because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s good for business. This year, we furthered our commitment by taking a number of steps to minimize our impact on the environment while also supporting our employees and the communities in which we live and work.

As we advance our global sustainability strategy for the 10th year in a row, we remain a company that prides itself on making positive change to affect people’s lives in meaningful ways. We are committed to going above and beyond the expectations, targets and reports, by making our products in plants that are more efficient and in sourcing materials and energy in ways that make a significant difference in lowering not just our carbon footprint, but also positively impacting our consumers and communities in which they live.

Our focus on conserving our planet’s resources continued this year. We met our 2020 goals for energy and water usage three years early and have set new sustainability goals, which exceed the original U.S. commitments to the Paris climate accord. We also expanded our use of on-site renewable energy, including our wind turbine program in Ohio and solar program in India. We are proud to be one of the largest on-site users of wind energy in the United States. Furthermore, we are committed to manufacturing more water and energy-efficient, high-performing products, helping consumers save money while lessening their impact on the environment.

We will continue to take a science-based approach to setting absolute environmental targets from the 2005 baseline. We invest in on-site renewables, achieving emission reductions and lowering costs and creating more resilient plants. We have achieved zero manufacturing waste to landfill in plants in multiple regions. In products, we continue to deliver valuable efficiency while improving the core performance our consumers expect. We are driving sustainability into how we design, build, distribute, sell and care for our products in their use and at the end of their life.

A version of this blog was found in the Whirlpool Corporation 2017 Sustainability Report. To view the full report, click here.

Congress Must Reauthorize CFATS for the Sake of National Security

By | Environment, General, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The countdown clock has begun for the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, as it will sunset on January 18, 2019—unless Congress acts first to reauthorize it. Unfortunately, with Congress set to adjourn in a matter of weeks and a limited number of days remaining on the legislative calendar, manufacturers are becoming increasingly concerned that CFATS will lapse and our nation’s security will be at risk. This is an issue of critical importance to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM): our members operate 2,152 CFATS-regulated facilities spanning a range of major industrial sectors—such as oil and gas refining; chemical production and distribution; mining; agricultural goods and services; and electrical utilities—and they are counting on Congress to act expeditiously and reauthorize this program without delay.

Operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the CFATS program relies on a multitiered risk assessment process to identify and regulate high-risk facilities. DHS ensures that CFATS-regulated sites have appropriate security measures in place to mitigate, prevent and protect against terrorist exploitation. Since its inception in 2007, CFATS was tied to short-term appropriations measures, which prevented Congress from making statutory improvements to the program. However, the four-year congressional authorization of CFATS in 2014 was a pivotal moment for the program’s longevity. Manufacturers were provided with the regulatory certainty needed to make long-term security investments, and it enabled DHS to run the program more effectively. Now is the time to pass a full reauthorization once more for this vital program—and there are multiple different proposals already introduced in both chambers of Congress to do so:

Securing the homeland requires strong partnerships among government at all levels, the private sector and concerned citizens across the country. Action to support these partnerships is needed now. CFATS reauthorization is and should continue to be a bipartisan issue that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle work on together to achieve. Security will remain a top priority for manufacturers, and they are dedicated to protecting their facilities and the communities in which they live and serve. Manufacturers call on Congress to reauthorize the CFATS program without delay for the sake of our nation’s national security.

NAM Backs FERC Nominee McNamee Ahead of Confirmation Hearing

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Today the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is considering the nomination of Bernard McNamee to serve as a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a key independent federal agency that regulates energy infrastructure. With leadership vacancies on the commission causing manufacturers in the United States to miss out on new opportunities to create jobs and grow their business, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) sent a letter ahead of the hearing to Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) urging the committee to back McNamee’s nomination. The letter from NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Ross Eisenberg reads in part:

“The FERC plays a critical role in ensuring Americans can count on the best energy infrastructure in the world. Moving energy safely and efficiently to where it is needed requires a modern and highly interconnected system. Energy infrastructure is delivering opportunity across America, and manufacturers cannot afford to delay progress on new projects. Investments to enhance our energy infrastructure to improve safety, efficiency, affordability, reliability and security are placed in jeopardy when FERC seats are left empty. Robust energy infrastructure creates jobs, improves safety and spurs domestic investment.

“Restoring a full suite of commissioners at FERC is a critical step toward a stronger future, and we ask that you do so as quickly as possible. With each passing day that key independent agencies like FERC have leadership vacancies, manufacturers in the United States are missing out on new business opportunities to the detriment of local economies and American jobs. I urge you to move forward.

“Manufacturers support the swift confirmation of Mr. Bernard L. McNamee to enable the Commission to carry out decisions that support U.S. manufacturers. The nominee is a proven leader with the necessary experience and policy insights to help strengthen American energy infrastructure.”

Click here to read the letter in full.

Volvo Commits to Sustainability by Reducing Energy Usage

By | General, Sustainability | No Comments

At the Volvo Group, we are committed to sustainability. It is our ambition to be part of the solution to improving how our products and operations impact the environment. We follow the triple bottom line—People, Planet, Profit—framework to ensure we “walk the talk” when it comes to our core value of “environmental care.” Practically, this means that we focus our efforts strategically in three key areas:

  • Production
  • Partnerships
  • Products

Production: Energy-Efficient, Renewable, Landfill-Free

Three of our largest operations, which make up greater than 85 percent of the energy footprint among our facilities in the U.S., are certified (Platinum) ISO 50001 Energy Management System/Superior Energy Performance. Through these programs and our participation in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings, Better Plants initiative, we’ve reduced energy consumption at our factories by 25 percent, five years ahead of our original target. We’re now more than halfway to achieving our new goal of 25 percent more in energy savings by 2024.

And while actions like these at the site and corporate level have a large impact, many new energy-saving ideas actually come from our employees. The Volvo Group partners with the DOE to conduct energy “treasure hunts,” in which employee teams observe their facilities during idle or partially idle periods (e.g., weekends, evenings) to identify energy waste. Events in 2017 at Volvo Group truck manufacturing plants in Virginia and Pennsylvania identified approximately $700,000 in low-cost or no-cost energy-efficiency opportunities. An additional treasure hunt at our bus service center in New Jersey uncovered $12,000 in potential savings opportunities, which was equivalent to 34 percent of the utility expenditures.

Renewable energy is also playing a part in our commitment to environmental sustainability. For example, the Volvo Group partnered with ConEdison Solutions and Entropy Solar Integrators to design and install a parking lot solar canopy—among the largest on the U.S. East Coast—at our Hagerstown, Maryland, powertrain manufacturing facility. Covering the plant’s entire north parking lot, the 5,000-panel solar canopy produces 1.3 megawatts of electricity, which is delivered to the facility to help offset the plant’s electrical demand. Because solar panels emit zero emissions, energy produced by the solar canopy is equivalent to eliminating the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 236 average passenger vehicles.

We created the Volvo Energy Network of North America (VENNA), a network of individuals who drive energy-efficiency and the transition toward renewable energy use and carbon neutrality throughout our North American operations. Through VENNA, we implemented a “learning by doing” model, which allows us to share best practices with plants within the Volvo Group in North America.

Partnerships: Taking a Leading Role

The Volvo Group stays connected to the global conversation about environmental sustainability through participation in a number of voluntary governmental and nongovernmental programs. In addition to DOE programs, we also take part in the World Wildlife Fund Climate Savers program and the Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Program. Mack Trucks, part of the Volvo Group, recently teamed up with The Nature Conservancy to bring awareness for land and water conservation to employees.

Products: Driving Prosperity Through Transportation

The Volvo Group has a mission of driving prosperity through transport solutions, and environmental sustainability is a key part of that. We participate in a number of programs and partnerships that enable us to develop and test sustainable solutions.

Most recently, the California Air Resources Board announced a grant award of more than $44 million to the South Coast Air Quality Management District and Volvo to develop all-electric truck demonstrators in California with commercialization planned in 2020. The Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project includes 16 partners and is a truly transformative freight facility project that will realize commercialization and market penetration of heavy-duty battery electric vehicles in California and throughout North America. In addition to all electric trucks, the project will integrate non-truck battery-electric equipment, nonproprietary chargers and solar energy production equipment to facilitate zero emissions freight movement.

Through our participation in the DOE SuperTruck program, we have also developed technologies to improve the energy efficiency of our vehicles that are currently on the market. We’re participating in SuperTruck II, developing next-generation technologies to increase the efficiency of our vehicles.

We offer alternative fuel options for many of our vehicles, and several Volvo and Mack models have recently been approved for the California Air Resources Board Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project.

By Dawn Fenton, Volvo’s Director of Sustainability and Government Affairs and Rick Robinson,Volvo’s Director, Health Safety & Environment

NAM, U.S. Chamber Launch Major Six-Figure Ad Campaign Ahead of SEC Roundtable on Proxy Advisory Firms

By | General, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Next Thursday, November 15, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will hold a roundtable on the proxy process. This is an opportunity for the SEC to solicit input from a variety of stakeholders on whether proxy advisory firms work in the best interest of Main Street investors. The roundtable is a critical step in the review process to determine if reforms to the existing rules are necessary to protect Americans’ retirement accounts.

Ahead of the roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have launched a major initiative to educate Main Street investors in 401(k)s and pension plans on the dangers posed by proxy advisory firms. A digital and print campaign, backed by a significant six-figure investment in print and social media ads, aims to ensure that retirees and those saving for retirement have their voices heard on this serious threat to their futures.

The retirement income of millions of Americans and the performance of the public companies in which they’ve invested their savings are affected by a little-known but powerful group of firms whose influence is gaining overdue attention. Proxy advisers provide recommendations on shareholder proposals despite having little regulatory oversight, and two companies, Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass-Lewis, control about 97 percent of the proxy advisory market. These firms lack oversight and can provide bad advice, based on inaccurate numbers or politically motivated agendas, that impacts your retirement savings.

It’s critical that hardworking Americans understand how their retirement savings are being put at risk by largely unregulated entities that operate with little transparency and provide advice that can be tainted by conflicts of interest. The business community has long advocated commonsense corporate governance reforms, including greater oversight of proxy advisory firms. These ads are indicative of the significance with which manufacturers view this issue. The NAM has also submitted a formal comment letter to the SEC outlining our proposed reforms.

The U.S. Chamber Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC) recently issued two reports examining how the influence of proxy advisers continues to place undue challenges on businesses and investors. Its 2018 proxy season survey found a minority of companies believe advisory firms adequately researched issues on which they issued advice. And its examination of so-called “zombie” proposals showed the toll that repetitive, failing proposals—often supported by proxy advisers—take on companies and their shareholders.

The ad campaign will help those most threatened by the growing power of proxy advisers to learn more and have their voices heard. Ad samples and additional information can be found at www.proxyreforms.com.

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