Manufacturers form sustainability consortium

September 30, 2010   by PLANT STAFF

Manufacturers make up a third of the businesses in the Pearson Eco-Business Zone and consume almost 14-million gigajoules of energy.

Photo: Partners in Project Green

TORONTO: Manufacturers from several cities in Southern Ontario have formed a consortium committed to elevating their environmental sustainability efforts.

The Partners in Project Green group and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) established the Sustainable Manufacturing Consortium to help members reach world-class sustainability performance levels.

The companies, which fall within or just outside of the 120 square kilometres around Toronto Pearson International Airport, will share, learn and implement best practices in their operations and processes.

“We were struggling with the scope of work relating to sustainability,” said David Haigh, vice-president of operations, Canada, for TREMCO Inc. in Toronto, a manufacturer of roofing coatings. “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.”

Senior project manager Chris Rickett told PLANT this is the third consortium brought together by the Partners in Project Green. “We are looking for new members locally and from across the province.” (Click here for more information.)

The manufacturing group’s goals are to accelerate implementation time, levels of innovation, organization and personal performance, and to sustain those improvements.

Members will establish the direction of the consortium while the TRCA and Partners in Project Green, a partnership consisting of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), TRCA, Peel Region, Toronto and Mississauga, will handle administration. Companies have diagnostic tools at their disposal and access to the national High Performance Consortium Network, plus access to specialized resources. 

Current member initiatives include the following:

• Powersmiths International, a Brampton manufacturer of electronic coils and transformers, recently calculated its carbon footprint according to the internationally recognized Greenhouse Gas Protocol, including Scope 3 emission sources that reach all the way back to the extraction of raw materials.

• Pulp Moulded Products, a Toronto packaging manufacturer, has implemented a Sustainapack Program that allows its customers to divert post-consumer waste back into their internal packaging resulting in a closed loop, cradle-to-cradle system.

• Velcro Canada, which makes hook and loop fasteners at a plant in Brampton, completed a lighting retrofit that resulted in a 50% reduction in energy use, saving more than $42,000 annually.

• KIK Custom Products, a Concord-based manufacturer of consumer products, recently completed a green value stream mapping session to highlight green wastes and develop a plan for minimizing and eliminating them.

• Research In Motion, the Waterloo-based manufacturer of smart telecom devices, has implemented a Zero Waste to Landfill program at its Waterloo manufacturing facility. So far it has diverted 90% of its garbage from landfill.

• SC Johnson, a manufacturer of household products with a plant in Brantford, has implemented, among a number of green initiatives across its global locations, a Greenlist program that evaluates every raw material going into its products to ensure each one is safe and healthy for the environment and families.

• RuggedCom, a manufacturer of network technology in Concord, was recently certified to the ISO 14001 standard and has developed an internal green team focused on reducing energy consumption and waste diversion.

• ABS Friction, a manufacturer of disc brake pads in Guelph, has launched a “We Love Green” program, which is a proactive commitment to minimize and control pollution before it can harm the environment.

• SPEC Furniture, a Toronto manufacturer of public furniture, has switched to plant-based foams for seating products, reclaimed overspray from its paint line and is using biodegradable packaging.

• Tremco is extending the useful life of roofing systems, which will keep “countless” tons of materials out of landfills.

• Voith Hydro in Mississauga is pursuing sustainability goals through the development of products that further reduce environmental impacts of hydroelectric power.

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