Volvo Commits to Sustainability by Reducing Energy Usage

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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, etc.) 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 (CARB) announced a grant award of more than $44 million to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) 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 (HDVEV) in California and throughout North America. In addition to all electric trucks, the project will integrate non-truck battery-electric equipment, non-proprietary chargers and solar energy production equipment to facilitate zero emissions freight movement.

Through our participation in the Department of Energy (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, Sustainability and Government Affairs and Rick Robinson,Volvo’s Director, Health Safety & Environment

How Coca-Cola Is Committing to Sustainability by Reducing Water Usage

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As a leader in the beverage industry, water stewardship is vital to our business. Water is the first ingredient in most of our drinks, central to our manufacturing process and necessary to grow the agricultural ingredients on which we rely. Safe, accessible water is also essential to the health of people, communities, ecosystems and economies.

The Coca-Cola Company is keeping our sustainability promise with our water stewardship efforts, focusing on the areas where we can have the greatest impact:

(1) Replenishing water we use in our finished beverages across communities and watersheds
(2) Improving water-use efficiency and reuse in our bottling plants
(3) Helping manage water resources in our agricultural ingredient supply chain

Since 2015, The Coca-Cola Company has replenished 100 percent of the water we use in our beverages, returning it to nature and communities.

Water Replenishment

We are giving every drop of water we use in our beverages back to communities and nature, including America’s most critical watersheds. We support more than 60 water replenishment projects in 100 communities across the United States.

We continue to replenish 100 percent of the water used in our finished beverages back to communities and nature, a goal we first met in 2015. We were the first Fortune 500 company to do so and actually met our goal five years early. We strive to do so every year.

Projects implemented by the end of 2017 are replenishing an estimated 248 billion liters per year through community and watershed projects globally, as estimated with the help of our many reputable partner organizations using peer-reviewed scientific and technical methods.

Water-Use Efficiency

By 2020, we aim to reduce our water-use ratio while growing volume in our bottling plants, with a target to improve water efficiency by 25 percent over 2010 levels.

We’ve reduced the water used in our products by 12 percent in the United States since 2005, saving more than 30 billion liters of water in Coca-Cola system facilities.

Water in Agriculture

Agriculture uses about 70 percent of all freshwater resources. As part of our water stewardship and replenish work, we continue to increase support of projects that aim to improve the productive use of water, especially in areas at high risk of water stress or pollution.

We are working with our global partner, the World Wildlife Foundation, to advance the work on valuing nature and to make it practical to help farming communities establish which sustainable farming practices provide the highest benefit for protecting watersheds.

Within our supply chains, our suppliers play an important role in addressing water risks of their farmers. Good water management practices, such as water-use assessments and water efficiency measures at the farm level, are an essential part of our Supplier Guiding Principles.

Bruce Karas is the vice president of environment and sustainability at Coca-Cola North America.

Manufacturers Are Paving the Way as Environmental Stewards

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Manufacturers take environmental stewardship seriously. As outlined in an op-ed that ran just this morning, manufacturers are looking to the future and leading by example through the implementation of sustainable practices and reducing their environmental footprint.

With the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) most recent economic outlook survey—released last week—underlining the industry’s strong economic optimism, manufacturers are taking the opportunity to not only invest more, grow their workforces and increase salaries but also embrace practices that protect the environment. One way this commitment is being demonstrated is through the NAM’s Sustainability in Manufacturing Partnership with the Department of Energy’s Better Plants Program. Launched on April 10, this partnership has provided a national platform for manufacturers to highlight their company’s projects, encourage the adoption of energy-efficient and sustainable practices and explore emerging technologies and evaluate future challenges that need to be addressed.

Moreover, when the NAM recently surveyed its member companies on sustainability, the numbers came back overwhelmingly positive. Not only do 93.8 percent report tracking energy usage and 81 percent report tracking water consumption, but 74 percent report they have a recycling program in place to do something about it, and 72 percent of manufacturers report they have a sustainability policy in place to do something about it (another 8.3 percent have programs under development). What are they doing? Well, as the op-ed notes, you can check out Manufacturing a Sustainable Future to see many different examples. The op-ed contains a few examples itself, for instance:

“When wallboard waste comes back to USG Corporation’s Rainier, Ore. plan, a machine separates the gypsum core from the paper. The paper is then sent to a local dairy farm, where it’s used for bedding, while the recovered gypsum goes back into the manufacturing process to be recycled into new wallboard . . . ”

“Union Pacific reduced its energy consumption by 3.8 million kilowatt hours in 2017—enough to power more than 400 American homes for a year.”

With an eye toward the future, the NAM is once again proving that modern manufacturing in America is synonymous to innovation, investment and environmental stewardship. We know that manufacturers will continue to keep their promises, too, because they remain committed to safeguarding the health and longevity of our planet and its people.

The BRICK Act Moves Forward, and Manufacturers Gain Regulatory Certainty

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Today, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee held a markup and approved the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2018 (S. 2461), a bipartisan bill that would permit a full legal review of national emissions standards for brick, clay products and clay ceramics manufacturing before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires regulatory compliance. On March 7, the House passed similar legislation (H.R. 1917) that was strongly supported by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

The NAM fully supports the ongoing national effort to protect our environment and improve public health through appropriate laws and regulations. However, manufacturers need policies that provide regulatory certainty and ensure a sustainable environment and economy. In September 2015, the EPA issued final National Emissions Standards for Brick, Structural Clay Products and Clay Ceramics Manufacturing, often referred to as Brick MACT. It is estimated that this rule will collectively cost the brick industry, which is made up of predominantly small and medium-sized manufacturers, more than $100 million per year.

When regulations stretch beyond what the law allows, manufacturers and other stakeholders must turn to the courts for relief–a lengthy process that can take months, if not years. Under the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2018, if a final rule under this Act is challenged in court, the compliance date extension would be limited to December 26, 2020. However, if the court refutes the EPA’s rule, the legislation requires the agency to issue new regulations within one year. This bill is a commonsense approach, as it ensures that manufacturers will have the certainty that the investments they make are based on laws that the courts have determined are appropriate and legal.

Manufacturers support reasonable environmental policies but need regulatory certainty to make necessary, long-term investments, and they believe both goals can be achieved through S. 2461. With the committee’s approval of the bill today, the measure will now proceed to the Senate for consideration.

Achieving Our Energy Goal

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The Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 initiative was established by American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) members in 2011. The voluntary industry goals it includes work to further the three pillars of sustainability: economic, social and environmental. As an energy-intensive industry, our members recognized the need to improve their efficiency in purchased energy. Not only does improved energy efficiency result in reducing overall costs to companies, but it also frees up resources for future investment and job growth and improves the environment.

Between 2005 and 2016, our members reduced their consumption of purchased energy by 11.6 percent, surpassing their goal of a 10 percent reduction ahead of schedule!

Our members meet approximately two-thirds of their energy demand through self-generated renewable biomass; this significantly reduces their purchased energy consumption.

One of the ways our members improve energy efficiency is through a combined heat and power (CHP) generation process, which efficiently produces electricity and steam used in manufacturing. In 2016, 98.5 percent of the electricity the industry generated was through CHP. The forest products industry produced 30 percent of the CHP electricity generated by manufacturing sectors (only the chemical industry produced more).

Improving energy efficiency will remain key as mills continue to consider their energy choices and strategies in light of environmental requirements and changing cost scenarios and fuel availability. As energy efficiency is a core element of mill sustainability, we are proud that we have met our energy-efficiency goal, and we will continue to strive to achieve further improvement.

Jerry Schwartz is the senior director of energy & environmental policy at the American Forest & Paper Association.