Ontario manufacturers join forces to improve sustainability
By Mary Del
Partners in Project Green and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) have established a new Sustainable Manufacturing Consortium consisting of a group of 11 Ontario manufacturers who are committed to attaining world-class environmental sustainability performance.
Approximately one-third of businesses in the Pearson Eco-Business Zone, a 12,000-hectare area surrounding the Toronto Pearson International Airport, are in the manufacturing sector. This sector alone accounts for at total energy consumption of 13,757,000 GJ in the Pearson Eco-Business Zone. One of the biggest hurdles that the manufacturing sector faces when dealing with sustainability initiatives is the speed in which sustainable technologies change and evolve. Members of the consortium are striving to reduce their consumption by leveraging each other’s strengths through sharing, learning and improving the implementation of the best practices in their operations. Their overall goals are to achieve accelerated results in implementation time, levels of innovation, organization and personal performance, and the ability to sustain improvements.
"We were struggling with the scope of work relating to sustainability," said David Haigh, VP Operations Canada, TREMCO Inc. "The consortium allows us to exchange ideas and conduct an audit of our processes and benchmark ourselves. We share the results and learn from the best practices currently in place."
Each member has full ownership over the direction of the consortium through the creation of a vision and an annual strategic plan, while all administration for the team is the responsibility of Partners in Project Green and TRCA. Sharing, learning and improving are facilitated through consortium events, individual member company coaching days, and facility assessments. Membership privileges include sustainability diagnostic for measurement and development of individual members, access to the High Performance Consortium Network (a national network) and access to specialized resources.
"Sustainability is about being around for the long haul. One important component is looking at the impact of our products beyond traditional financial and pollution regulation metrics," said Philip Ling, VP Technology, Founding Partner, Powersmiths International Corp. "For many manufacturers, the majority of the impact of their product is not directly in their manufacturing plant, but in the supply chain and at their customer sites. For example, our product designs start a chain of events that include extracting, processing and shipping raw materials that make up our products. Furthermore, many of our product designs determine how much power, water or other resources are consumed while operating – and our designs also determine how reusable and recyclable our products are at end of life. These are complex inter-relationships, beyond what we can address alone. Fortunately, by working together as a group, with sustainability as our common focus, we can accelerate our progress much faster than we can imagine."
Members of the Partners in Project Green Sustainable Manufacturing Consortium are committed to environmental sustainability for their organization and sharing their best practices. These are just some initiatives each member is working towards:
• Powersmiths completed its Carbon Footprint according to the internationally recognized Greenhouse Gas Protocol, including the elusive Scope 3 emission sources, which reaches all the way back to the extraction of raw materials.
• Pulp Moulded Products‘ Sustainapack Program allows customers to divert their own post-consumer waste back into their internal packaging, resulting in a closed loop, cradle-to-cradle system that is as good for the environment as it is for the bottom line.
• Velcro Canada completed a lighting retrofit that resulted in a 50 percent reduction in energy use from lighting, and will save the facility more than $42,000 annually.
• KIK Custom Products recently completed a Green Value Stream Mapping session to highlight the green wastes within their operations and develop a plan for minimizing and eliminating those wastes.
• Research In Motion has implemented a Zero Waste to Landfill program at their Waterloo manufacturing facility, resulting in over 90 percent diversion of garbage from landfill that also realizes significant financial savings.
• SC Johnson is a global leader in sustainability and has implemented numerous initiatives across their global facilities, including their famous Greenlist program, which evaluates every single raw material going into their products to ensure they are safe and healthy for the environment and families.
• RuggedCom has recently been certified to the ISO 14001 standard and has developed an internal green team that is continuously driving out green waste resulting in reduced energy consumption and increased waste diversion.
• ABS Friction‘s "We Love Green" program is a proactive commitment to minimize and control pollution before it can harm the environment or people.
• SPEC Furniture has undertaken numerous sustainability initiatives, including switching over to plant-based foams for seating products, reclamation of over spray from the paint line and the use of biodegradable packaging resulting in significant reductions to environmental impact while increasing cost savings.
• Tremco has been committed to sustainability for years by extending the useful life of roofing systems resulting in countless tons of materials being kept out of landfills.
• Voith Hydro is committed to sustainability through the development of products that help to further reduce the already low environmental impacts of hydro electric power.