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Six Companies Earn 2019 Sustainability Awards

Posted by Wendy Bea Dalwin on Aug 26, 2019 9:30:00 AM

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.

Ocean SprayAIM 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:

  1. Measure: How sustainable is Ocean Spray cranberry farming today?
  2. Validate: How does Ocean Spray’s assessment compare to others in the industry?
  3. Verify: Can the assessment results be independently verified on farm?

Measure

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.

Validate

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.

Verify

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:

Customers/Suppliers:

  • 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.

Community:

  • 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.

Employees:

  • 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

Register for a Regional Employer Celebration

Topics: Sustainability, AIM Sustainability Roundtable, AIM Sustainability Award

Berkshire Award Winners Discuss Business Success

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Oct 19, 2018 4:49:01 PM

Three Berkshire County employers who will be honored with Next Century and Sustainability Awards next Thursday by Associated Industries of Massachusetts, sat down recently on the John Krol Show to discuss business success.

The program, sponsored by AIM-member Berkshire Money Management, featured Canyon Ranch in Lenox, B&B Micro Manufacturing of North Adams and Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing of Pittsfield.

Watch the video and then join us in Pittsfield on Thursday as we honor these forward-thinking companies. There is no charge to attend, but pre-registration is required.

 

Register for the Berkshire Employer Celebration

Topics: Massachusetts employers, AIM Sustainability Award, AIM Next Century Award

AIM Announces 2018 Sustainability Award Winners

Posted by Debbie Carroll on Sep 6, 2018 1:59:04 PM

Seven Massachusetts companies ranging from a global financial-services powerhouse to a startup Berkshire County drug manufacturer have been named winners of the third 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.

Berkshire SterileAIM announced today that State Street Corporation and Eversource of Boston; Analog Devices of Wilmington; Fallon Health of Worcester; Sanderson MacLeod Inc. of Palmer; Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing of Lee; and Twin Rivers Technologies of Quincy were selected from among several dozen nominations. The seven companies will be honored at a series of regional celebrations throughout Massachusetts during September, October and November.

“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 Richard C. Lord.

“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 seven 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, Ocean Spray 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.

State Street Corporation | September 27 | 100 High Street Amenity Center | Boston

Financial-services giant State Street Corporation is proving that sustainability encompasses operational elements ranging from environmental stewardship to management of human capital.

State Street in 2015 launched The Boston Workforce Investment Network, a four-year program to strengthen Boston's future work force by advancing job readiness for youth. As the signature program of the State Street Foundation, the company has committed $20 million over the four years to five high-performing Boston area nonprofit organizations that focus on education and work force development.

The Boston WINs initiative brings together the private, public and nonprofit sectors toward a common goal: creating meaningful career paths for Boston youth. The program is unique both in its size and scope – State Street has committed to it across many facets of its work. State Street Foundation has pledged major support both directly and via a matching gift incentive, and the State Street Corporation is working to hire WINs candidates into permanent and internship roles. In addition, the Coordinated Action component strengthens working relationships between the WINs partners and the schools in which they work, ensuring better sharing of data.

Over the course of the program, partners will scale their reach by 60 percent so that more Boston youth will receive services that prepare them for college and career success. Since program launch in June 2015, partners have collectively served 53 percent  more youth.

State Street also launched Coordinated Action a means for partners and 26 Boston public high schools to work together to prepare students for college and workforce readiness. State Street has committed to hiring 1,000 aspiring professionals as part of the initiative. 

Eversource| September 27 | 100 High Street Amenity Center | Boston

The largest electric utility in New England has launched a broad-based initiative to ensure the sustainability of its work force through a commitment to diversity and inclusion (D&I).

Eversource CEO Jim Judge joined more than 350 other CEOs in signing the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion pledge. The CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion is the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance D&I in the workplace. 

Eversource’s D&I Corporate Council, state teams, and Business Resource Groups (BRGs) are comprised of employees based in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire who serve as change agents and champions of D&I.

Plans are in place to launch two new Business Resource Groups in 2018: a Young Professionals BRG, an LGBQT BRG; and one in 2019: a Differently Abled BRG. Currently, nearly 1,000 employees across all three states are involved in Eversource state councils and BRGs and the company continues to evolve and expand these groups.

Eversource says it wants to build the next-generation energy work force, “one with diverse, highly skilled, and qualified employees capable of delivering on the responsibility to meet customers’ evolving energy needs.”  Eversource has developed a three-year diversity and inclusion plan, which incorporates initiatives and metrics to improve our overall D&I results, and by pledging to take on specific D&I actions.

Analog Devices| October 4 | The Riverwalk | Lawrence

Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) in Wilmington occupies a campus composed of six buildings housing offices, semiconductor manufacturing space, labs for R&D, and a central utility plant. 

The company in 2015 initiated a major efficiency effort that has been implemented by cross-functional teams of operators, engineers, and managers, with the intent to eliminate wasteful activities and update older equipment.  To date, the effort has yielded more than $1 million of annual savings in electricity costs and a 19 percent spending reduction on chemicals supporting manufacturing operations, significantly reducing ADI’s impact on the environment. 

The Wilmington facility has reduced its electricity consumption by 34 percent and its water usage by 18 percent, based on data normalized to production output (i.e. the resources required to create one unit of product).  ADI also reduced usage of two solvents by 60 percent in this same timeframe.

ADI says it had to convince itself as a company to think beyond what solutions worked in the past and focus on creating the future.

“Some changes – especially those related to solvent usage - affected areas or processes that were thought to be too complex or simply untouchable, others affected areas that didn’t appear would have much of an impact, until the measured effects proved otherwise,” the company says.

Specific projects completed during 2017 include:

  • Replacing dozens of vacuum pumps and chillers with more energy efficient models for semiconductor processing equipment. This saves over 3.4 million kilowatt hours per year.
  • Lowering the idle power or temperature on reactors and furnaces between runs, which saves over 1.2 million kWHs per year.
  • Reviewing our manufacturing facility’s exhaust configuration and optimizing the exhaust flow in many areas, resulting in 1.4 million kWHs saved per year.
  • Across the site, reducing nighttime lighting in low & no traffic areas as well as completing 75% of LED replacement for parking lot lighting (remaining 25% to be completed in 2018).
  • Consolidating the number of tools running two kinds of solvents and reducing the change-out frequency, effectively reducing usage of those solvents by over 60%.
  • Combining and reducing the frequency of trans-Pacific shipments reduced our usage of packing materials and generation of transportation-related pollution.

ADI recently announced that the Wilmington campus would become its new global headquarters, which entails constructing two new LEED-certified buildings. These buildings will incorporate cutting-edge energy-efficiency technology, solar panels to support energy usage, and new collaboration and social areas that will draw the best and brightest employees for years to come. 

Fallon Health| October 11 | Mechanics Hall | Worcester

Fallon Health uses grants and community/employee engagement to address barriers that affect the health and well-being of under-served communities. By addressing some of the most basic barriers, such as transportation, education, housing and access to food, the health plan can identify the underlying root causes of poor health outcomes.

The commitment to hunger relief extends throughout Fallon Health.  Employees throughout the organization are encouraged to volunteer in the community—and are provided eight hours of paid work time to do so. Employees volunteered 6,428 hours of their time in 2017.

Over the last 12 years, Fallon has distributed $1.8 million to hundreds of hunger-relief programs and helped 726,000 individuals throughout the state who are food insecure. Those efforts help to prevent avoidable health-related expenditures because food insecurity leads to more doctor visits, hospital stays, emergency room treatment, prescription medication and home health care.

Indirect costs associated with hunger weaken the state’s economic health through lost work time, low productivity and premature death.

Each year, Fallon’s Senior Leadership team kicks off the new year by going directly into the community to understand the barriers at street level. They volunteer their time by preparing and serving community meals for children and their families at a local Boys & Girls Club.

The company believes in helping people access food where they live and learn. Employees built or renovated food pantries at the Boys & Girls Club and the South Worcester Neighborhood Improvement Center in Worcester (SWNIC). During the holidays, Fallon supports families with personalized and bountiful holiday meal kits in addition to new toys and much-needed clothing. Employee donation and corporate giving in 2017 for the holiday program totaled more than $17,000.

Fallon is also working on an innovative, sustainable solution modeled after the “Open Door Pantry” in Gloucester and the “Food is Medicine” approach in Lowell.  The company has partnered with the Lowell Community Health Center (LCHC), Mill City Grows and the Merrimack Valley Food Bank (MVFB) to lay the groundwork for a food pantry to be housed in the MVFB. Fallon solidified its commitment with a $50,000 donation to the project.

Sanderson MacLeod| October 18 | Wistariahurst Museum | Holyoke

Many manufacturing companies have adopted continuous improvement initiatives, but few small employers have adopted them as comprehensively as Sanderson MacLeod, a maker of twisted wire brushes based in Palmer.

The company initiated a continuous improvement effort while establishing a LEAN culture under which employee teams identified waste.  Sanderson-MacLeod says involving the work force in improving the company created a rewarding experience.

“Our teams include employees from various positions. We encourage everyone to share their ideas – what the problem is and their thoughts on how to go about researching the issue and finding a solution to it.  When we first started the process, we mentioned “LEAN” multiple times a day … now it is hardly mentioned as it is just a part of who we are.  It is in our culture; our employees are always looking for a way to improve our processes,” the company says.

Adopting LEAN culture is a big challenge for small companies - many start the LEAN journey and then stop after a few weeks or months.  The process requires a culture shift that is supported throughout the entire organization. 

Sanderson-MacLeod says the move to LEAN manufacturing has made the company measurably more efficient, producing more parts in a shorter amount of time. On-time shipping metrics improved, and lead times decreased. The result – the company has brought in additional business based upon its ability to produce quality parts delivered on time.

Employment has increase 23 percent since the process began.

Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing, Inc.| October 25 | Hotel on North | Pittsfield

What if you could create a sustainable, sterile drug manufacturing facility from the ground up?

Chances are that it would look a lot like Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing, a three-year-old startup that specializes in manufacturing small-scale injectable drugs for clinical trials with an isolator that ups the quality of the clean-room product.

Berkshire Sterile describes itself as a state-of-the-art fill/finish contract manufacturer providing formulation and sterile filling as well as analytical development and stability services to the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. All sterile filling operations at BSM are performed utilizing isolator-based technology.

BSM also offers terminal steam sterilization of syringes, specialty filling and lyophilization of vials and syringes including dual chamber liquid/liquid and liquid/lyo configurations. 

It’s an operation that is generating significant economic growth in the Berkshires.

The company has hired more than 80 professional positions in the past 3.5 years.  More than 10 of those employees have purchased houses in the area.  Clients come from all over the US and overseas to visit the facility, bringing a lot of business to local hotels and restaurants

BSM worked with several suppliers of pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment to design and produce an isolator-based manufacturing line that could produce sterile injectable drug products in vials, syringes and cartridges. A flexible design of the system allows multiple drug container types to be filled in the same manufacturing line.  The drugs that BSM produces are primarily new drugs in development and clinical trials to treat various therapeutic areas including cancer, osteoarthritis, cardiac diseases and pediatric orphan diseases.

The use of isolator technology not only provides better assurance of drug sterility, it reduces requirements for large volumes of heating, cooling and dehumidification/humidification required for traditional cleanroom environments. The technology also reduces the requirements for sterile gowning and testing reducing trash and consuming fewer valuable resources.

Twin Rivers Technologies Manufacturing Corporation| November 1 | Easton Country Club | Easton

Twin Rivers Technologies, one of the largest Oleochemical producers in North America, executed two projects - a Combined Heat and Power/Heat Recovery Steam Generation (CHP/HRSG) facility and Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers - that created measurable benefit for the environment while underscoring the company’s significant role in the community.

The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facility utilizes natural gas and incorporates Heat Recovery Steam Generation (HRSG) to generate high pressure steam for the manufacturing operations, as well as providing a significant portion of the electricity needed.  The direct benefit of the project is an increase in steam capacity and therefore production capability, as well as improved reliability for heat and electrical utilities.  

The indirect benefits of the CHP/HRSG project have been just as impressive.  First, the installation helped reduce the company’s reliance on heavy fuels like #6 and #2 oils. This helped to reduce the overall emissions of the facility by decreasing volatile organic compounds, Nitrous Oxide, carbon monoxide, particulate matter and other pollutants released to the atmosphere.  The facility is reliable and can operate without interruption if power goes out, preventing costly shutdown/startup operations where raw material, fuel, electric and manpower losses significantly affect the viability of any business.

The Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers replaced a packed-bed water scrubber that had been installed in 1998 and proved to be an ineffective odor-control device.  The direct benefits of the project were the reduction of odors from the facility that impact the surrounding community and the savings of water used to supply the former odor control unit. 

Topics: Sustainability, AIM Sustainability Roundtable, AIM Sustainability Award

AIM Announces 2017 Sustainability Awards

Posted by Matthew Gardner on Sep 12, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Editor's note: Matt Gardner, PhD., is Managing Partner for Sustainserv Inc.

Six Massachusetts companies ranging from a global defense-electronics giant to a western Massachusetts food bank have been named winners of the second 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.

Sustainability.jpgAIM announced today that Raytheon Company of Waltham, Bradford & Bigelow of Newburyport, Abbott-Action of Attleboro, AIS of Leominster, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in Hatfield, and Interprint Inc. of Pittsfield 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 Richard C. Lord.

“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 six honorees were selected by a committee that included the chair of AIM’s Sustainability Roundtable ,Johanna Jobin, Director of Global EHS and Sustainability at Biogen; Wayne Bates PhD., PE, Principal Engineer for Tighe & Bond, Inc.; Cristina Mendoza, Environmental Scientist for Capaccio Environmental; and myself.

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 dozens of participants from companies such as Bose, Siemens, Coca-Cola, Boston Beer, MilliporeSigma, Ocean Spray, Analogic and Cisco.

Register for the September 29 Sustainability Roundtable

Here are summaries of each recipient, along with the date and location of the celebration when each will receive the award.

Food Bank of Western Massachusetts | September 28 | Wood Museum of Springfield History

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts launched an initiative recently to address the problem of food insecurity.

Regional food banks, while performing important services to people in need, mostly rely on people taking the initiative to ask for help. For many people, however, this is a difficult admission to make and many people and families don’t end up getting the help they need.

The team at the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts partnered with the Holyoke Health Center to develop a screening process through which people who visited the center for health-related services could be identified as being “food insecure” and referred to the Food Bank for assistance.

The result - people who might have slipped through the cracks now have a chance to get the help they need.

AIS | October 5, Mechanics Hall, Worcester | 4:30-6:30 pm

AIS, a leading office furniture manufacturer in the commonwealth, is also a sustainable manufacturer.

Sustainability is a multi-faceted undertaking that requires knowledge and commitment across the organization and leadership from the top. AIS has shown this commitment.

From deploying a state-of-the-art solar energy system that produces half of their local energy needs, to being smart and strategic about the size and location of facilities, to using the principles of LEAN manufacturing, AIS has shown the holistic thinking required to be a leader in sustainability.

Business benefits have followed. The company has reduced energy usage by 40 percent, saved more than $1.6 million dollars, all supporting a goal of 100 percent on-time delivery of products.

Register for a Regional Celebration

Raytheon Company | October 12 | The Riverwalk, Lawrence | 4:30-6:30 pm

Raytheon, one of the most prominent high-technology electronics companies in the world and a key member of the Massachusetts business community, has long championed sustainability as an important part of how it does business.

The company integrates sustainability into every aspect of its business. Starting with a structured and strategic process to identify priorities, Raytheon employs best practices in designing, launching and maintaining comprehensive, organization-wide sustainability programs.

It’s a challenging commitment for a company that maintains more than four million square feet of office, manufacturing and R&D space in Massachusetts. But the company is making significant progress toward its 2020 goals.

Raytheon has implemented programs focused on zero-waste generation, energy and water management, and a “smart campus” program to upgrade energy management systems at its Massachusetts sites. And much of the progress has come in the form of low-cost or no-cost opportunities.

Bradford and Bigelow | October 12 | The Riverwalk, Lawrence | 4:30-6:30 pm

Newburyport-based specialty printer Bradford and Bigelow faced a significant challenge in making its products less environmentally harmful and more sustainable. High-end printing typically relies on the heavy use of solvents and other noxious chemicals.

But the company moved forward and became an industry pioneer in the use of higher-quality UV inks with the goal of eliminating toxic emissions of volatile organic compounds and greatly reducing energy consumption. The company also extended its environmental commitment to the inkjet side with low-energy dye-based inks. Customers constantly remark that the facility is one of the cleanest and most environmentally friendly in the industry.

Being more sustainable is not just a technical issue – employee engagement and a willingness to take chances are elements of many successful sustainability programs. And when done right, the results show benefits across all aspects of the business.

Abbott-Action | October 19 | CBS Scene, Foxboro | 4:30-6:30 pm

Sometimes sustainability initiatives require a fundamental rethinking of business processes. That was the case at Abbott-Action, a manufacturer of containers, packaging and displays, where the company recognized the need to handle the waste stream from their processes in a completely different manner.

Most of Abbot-Action’s peer companies use large electric motors to power fans and blowers that suck scrap material through ductwork at speeds of 40 mph. The scrap is then collected in a compactor and compressed into bales of waste to be recycled at a paper mill. Dust is typically captured by secondary filtration systems, which use tremendous amounts of compressed air and are costly.

Abbott-Action made the decision to invest into a Trench Scrap Removal System. This sustainable scrap- removal process operates a straight-line conveyer that is built in a trench located below the manufacturing floor. The discarded material simply falls onto the conveyer that transports the scrap to a compactor, which creates bales of scrap ready to be transported to a recycling mill. No blowers, fans or expensive electric motors.

The company realized electricity savings of as much as 90 percent compared to the conventional approach. Maintenance costs were 50 percent lower. And Abbot-Action is saving 30 percent on heating costs because there is no transfer of conditioned air out of the building.

Interprint | October 26 | Hotel on North, Pittsfield | 4:30-6:30 pm

Sustainability has long been a core principle for Interprint, a German company that is both a global leader in key employer in décor design and printing, and a key employer in Pittsfield.

Interprint’s commitment to sustainability is far reaching:

The company uses Forest Stewardship Council-certified material in many of its products. It monitors and controls the quality of its wastewater streams. It maintains an energy management system according to ISO50001, the gold standard for Energy Management systems. And its environmental management system is based on the principles of Life Cycle Impacts, where the company takes care to understand the impacts not just of its own operations but of the raw materials it uses and the products at the end of their useful lifespan. 

Sustainability also played a major role in Interprint’s recently expanded facility in Pittsfield. The company deployed solar systems that will produce as much as 20 percent of its energy needs, and converted to highly efficient natural gas-powered equipment. Lighting is now LED-based, saving more than 500,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year.

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Topics: Sustainability, AIM Sustainability Roundtable, AIM Sustainability Award

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