Six Companies Earn 2019 Sustainability Awards
| August 26, 2019
By: Chris Geehern
Six companies ranging from a global ride-sharing powerhouse to a Berkshire County company making key chemicals used for water purification have been named winners of the fourth annual Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Sustainability Award. The award recognizes excellence in environmental stewardship, promotion of social well-being and contributions to economic prosperity.
AIM announced today that Lyft Inc., with Massachusetts headquarters in Medford; Holland Company of Adams; American Saw of East Longmeadow; Ocean Spray Cranberries of Lakeville/Middleboro; FLEXcon Company of Spencer; and Signify of Burlington were selected from among several dozen nominations. The six companies will be honored at a series of regional celebrations throughout Massachusetts during September and October.
“These companies set the standard for sustainably managing their financial, social and environmental resources in a manner that ensures responsible, long-term success,” said AIM President and Chief Executive Officer John R. Regan.
“Sustainability guarantees that the success of employers benefits our communities, our commonwealth and our fellow citizens. We congratulate our honorees and all the worthy companies that were nominated.”
Sustainability has gained widespread acceptance in recent years as global corporations such as Wal-Mart, General Electric and IBM make it part of their business and financial models.
The 2019 honorees were selected by a committee that included members of the AIM Sustainability Roundtable, along with experts Wayne Bates PhD., PE, Principal Engineer for Tighe & Bond, Inc.; Matt Gardner, Managing Partner Sustainserv; and Cristina Mendoza, Solutions Design Lead for Capaccio Environmental.
AIM initiated the Sustainability Roundtable in 2011 to provide employers the opportunity to exchange sustainability best practices and hear from experts in the field. That opportunity has attracted hundreds of participants ranging from companies such as Bose, Coca-Cola, Boston Beer and Analogic to smaller businesses such as RH White and Precision Engineering.
Here are summaries of each recipient, along with the date and location of the celebration when each will receive the award:
Lyft Inc. | Boston Regional Celebration, September 12, 5-7 pm, District Hall
In 2018, Lyft became the only transportation network company to offset all of the greenhouse gas emissions generated from its rides, in the process becoming one of the world’s largest voluntary purchasers of carbon offsets.
A multimillion-dollar investment during the first year of the initiative allowed the company to offset more than one million metric tons of carbon.
Lyft became a fully carbon-neutral company in September 2018 when it began purchasing enough renewable energy to cover 100 percent of its electricity consumption, including every electric vehicle mile on the platform and expanded its offsets procurement to address emissions from its non-ride operations.
Overall, Lyft has purchased more than two million metric tons of carbon offsets, equivalent to the amount of carbon that 2.4 million acres of trees would remove in a year. Roughly two-thirds of this investment is funding emission reductions in the transportation sector.
Lyft’s achievement of 100 percent carbon-neutrality and 100 percent renewable energy is made possible through partnerships with local agencies to the extent available, and then supplemented where direct renewable energy is not yet available by renewable energy credits (RECs).
“Growing shared, sustainable transportation is central to our goal of ensuring cities are built around people instead of cars. Through growing the number of bikes, scooters, and green vehicles on our platform, investing in carbon offsets, encouraging shared rides, and growing we can make that future a reality,” the company says.
Holland Company | Berkshire Regional Celebration, September 19, 5-7 pm, Hotel on North, Pittsfield
If you drink or use water, chances are that Holland Company of Adams played a role in making it clean.
The 52-year-old family business produces chemicals that are necessary for water purification. Holland chemicals are used in settings ranging from potable water drinking systems to municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities to lake/pond algae control to cosmetics to process chemistry.
The Holland product line includes aluminum sulfate, polyaluminum chloride, sodium aluminate, as well as dry alums. More recently, the company added sodium bisulfite solution.
“Holland Company products have evolved to meet the increasing demands and requirements of our customers. By applying the “Best Fit Technology’ practices, we provide solutions to unique problems our customers face, as requirements for cleaner water increase,” the company says.
Hugh “Dutch” Holland founded Holland Company in 1967 to serve the paper industry in the northeast with liquid Alum as they converted from dry Alum. As the desire for cleaner drinking water and the environment has grown, Holland Alum and other products have helped municipal water and wastewater customers meet the stringent standards.
Holland currently employs 50 people on its seven-acre site. Adams is a strategically advantageous site for a company serving both New England and New York state and company officials also say they are fortunate to operate in such a beautiful part of the country.
American Saw ” LENOX, A Stanley Black and Decker Company | Holyoke Regional Celebration, October 3, 5-7 pm, Wistariahurst Museum, Holyoke
It takes a lot of energy to produce more than 35,000 miles of saw blades each year. But thanks to an initiative at called the “energy conservation filter” launched by American Saw at its sprawling East Longmeadow manufacturing plant, being the world’s foremost maker of cutting tools takes much less energy than it used to.
American Saw makes tools using heat-treating equipment like annealing, hardening and tempering. The equipment requires significant amounts of electricity and compressed air ” the company uses as much power each year as 3,000 households.
The company in 2012 began to replace much of its old and outdated heat-treating equipment with state-of-the-art machinery that increased capacity while reducing power consumption. American Saw also replaced its air blasting processes with mechanical wheel blasting, considerably reducing the use of compressed air.
The replacement process led the company to institute the energy conservation filter for all new capital equipment. The process requires that all new equipment, prior to funds being approved, must be at least 20 percent more energy efficient than its predecessor.
“The energy conservation filter now forces everyone here to evaluate more utility efficient options as we continue to grow,” the company says.
American Saw has also improved the efficiency of its facilities. The company upgraded the lighting system to LED, installed occupancy sensors in all of its offices, put variable-speed motors on more than 800 motors in the facility, and installed a 2.2-megawatt solar farm on 11 acres of roof.
All of the changes have allowed American Saw to reduce its annual energy consumption by 14.5 million kilowatt hours and its energy bills by $1.8 million per year.
Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. | Easton Regional Celebration, October 10, 5-7 pm, Easton Country Club
Ocean Spray, a farmer-owned cooperative and one of the best know food brands in the world, should next year become the first fruit cooperative in North America to certify that 100 percent of its crop is sustainably grown.
As public interest in food visibility has increased, the ability to measure impacts growers have on their farms, the surrounding ecosystems, and within their communities has become an important challenge for agricultural producers.
The 100 percent sustainable designation grows out of a three-step process initiated by Ocean Spray in 2016:
- Measure: How sustainable is Ocean Spray cranberry farming today?
- Validate: How does Ocean Spray’s assessment compare to others in the industry?
- Verify: Can the assessment results be independently verified on farm?
In 2016 and 2018 Ocean Spray partnered with FieldRise to develop and launch the Cranberry Farm Sustainability Assessment. This comprehensive questionnaire asks farmers about their cranberry management, non-cranberry land conservation, business operations, worker health and safety, and community involvement.
The results from both 2016 and 2018 demonstrated the cooperative’s strong commitment to sustainable cranberry agriculture.
During development of the 2018 Cranberry Farm Sustainability Assessment, Ocean Spray partnered with the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI Platform) to benchmark its assessment against the Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA), an international and widely accepted agricultural sustainability standard.
This benchmark maps questions from the Ocean Spray assessment to the FSA. This mapping was then verified by an independent auditor, demonstrating the Ocean Spray assessment’s validity as a sustainable agriculture measurement tool.
The benchmarked Ocean Spray Cranberry Farm Sustainability Assessment allows the company to make cooperative-level sustainability claims through the FSA. These claims are not verified until confirmed through an on-farm audit performed by an independent auditor. Ocean Spray is currently working to complete this step, with initial positive results as of the date of this application.
Ocean Spray is a cooperative of more than 700 cranberry farmers. These family farmers grow cranberries across the United States and Canada, and, in most cases, have been doing so for several generations. Cranberries are a long-lived perennial vine, which remains fruitful for several decades, with some vines over 100 years old still producing berries for Ocean Spray products.
FLEXcon | Worcester Regional Celebration, October 16, 5-7 pm, Mechanics Hall
As a global manufacturer of pressure-sensitive films and adhesives, FLEXcon has long sought to minimize environmentally adverse operations by striking a balance between environmental factors and its manufacturing processes.
FLEXcon is a cornerstone of the central Massachusetts manufacturing economy and also a sustainability leader in its industry ” the company maintains a gold sponsorship of the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership, which aims to the increase social responsibility of the graphic communications industry through certification and continuous improvement of sustainability and best practices within manufacturing operations.
“We believe being a good steward of our environmental resources will make us a stronger, more competitive company, better able to support and satisfy our broad customer base. Our employees and neighbors also benefit from our sustainability efforts,” the company says.
FLEXcon classifies its sustainability activities by those involving customers, community and employees:
- Develop enviro-friendly products utilizing enviro-friendly materials and water-based adhesives.
- Review packaging options to minimize waste, focusing on the re-use of pallets and packaging supplies.
- Be active in raw-material recycling programs.
- Pursue the most current environmental technologies available for new and existing processes and engage in activities that directly impact reduction in air emissions, effluents and toxic material use reduction or elimination.
- Provide materials for schools and other civic organizations.
- Support charities within the communities we operate.
- Encourage employees to live a healthier life by offering a workplace wellness program.
- Be a smoke- and tobacco-free workplace.
- Provide an open forum for all employees to suggest opportunities in environmental and sustainable matters.
- Utilize an Environmental Management System (EMS), which defines responsibilities of employees at all levels of the organization to continuously monitor and improve environmental factors.
- Require all FLEXcon employees and operations to comply with applicable local, state, and federal regulations relating to environmental matters.
Signify | Lawrence Regional Celebration, October 24, 5-7 pm, Salvatore’s
It seems appropriate that a company that has increased the energy efficiency of light bulbs by 80 percent would also become carbon neutral in 2020. That’s exactly what’s happening at Signify, formerly Philips Lighting, as the company continues to reach new milestones with its Brighter Lives Better World Sustainability initiative.
Since 2016, Signify has already became carbon neutral in Greater China, the Benelux, Middle East and Turkey, Canada, Iberia, United Kingdom and Ireland, France and Italy, Israel and Greece, and Latin America. In the United States, the company’s largest market, Signify achieved carbon neutrality in the fall of 2018.
Signify has committed to do the following by 2020:
- Obtain 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources;
- Deliver zero operations waste to landfills;
- Generate 80 percent of its revenue from sustainable products, systems and services; and
- Deliver two billion energy efficient LED lamps and luminaires.
The Brighter Lives Better World program is reviewed on a quarterly basis by the Board of Management and the company leadership. During these reviews, progress on strategic initiatives are discussed and corrective actions taken when necessary.
Sustainability is fully embedded in the organization and the company’s ways of working. The 2020 targets are included in the long-term incentive scheme for the company’s leadership, as the annual long-term incentive grant is dependent on how well Signify performs against its sustainability targets.
The results so far are encouraging. In 2018, Signify announced:
- Carbon dioxide”reductions of 49 percent were achieved year-over-year, resulting in a net carbon footprint of 146 kilotons of CO2.
- The company procured 89 percent of its electricity”from renewable sources.
- Amount of waste materials delivered to landfills decreased by 17 percent compared with 2017.
- Eighty-two percent of manufacturing waste was recycled.
- Fourteen Signify industrial units reported no recordable injuries in 2018.
- Signify achieved a supplier sustainability performance rate of 93%
- More than 280 suppliers engaged in carbon reduction through the CDP Supply Chain program