Cleaning the stream is a longtime project of the Cummins Korea DBU Community Involvement Team. But in 2013, the team got other companies in the city involved.
Posted: October 2014
Employees at Cummins’ Korea Distribution Business Unit have been cleaning the Cheonheung stream since 2009, removing bottles, cans, paper and other household trash four times a year. It was a good project, but Community Involvement Team leaders wondered if they could do something to make it great.
In 2012, Andy Choi launched a project using the business problem solving tool Six Sigma to look at how to get more companies involved in the effort so more of the stream could be covered. He would end up drafting a blueprint for officials at Cheonan City Hall to recruit more companies to join the cleanup.
The “1 Company, 1 Stream” program was born. Today, seven companies have taken areas of the stream to clean, working independently and following their own schedules. More trash is being removed from the banks of the Cheonheung than ever before.
“The environment around the stream is visually much better,” Choi said, “and community residents are grateful for our activity.”
The effort to improve the environment around Cheonan was one of 15 winners in the 2013Cummins Environmental Challenge. The project was also one of three receiving special recognition. The Korea project was honored for its efforts to build community coalitions.
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS CRITICAL
Choi said employees were surprised to be one of the winning CITs in the Challenge. It was the first time the team had submitted an application.
Developing a relationship with city officials was critical to the success of the project, Choi said. The city was looking for a way to increase volunteerism in the area and it was in the best position to reach out to other companies.
Cummins approached city officials the first week of September in 2012 and the seven participating companies gathered less than two weeks later to talk about the possibilities.
The city would ultimately like to see more volunteer-led activities around the city. Choi believes that’s possible now that people from the participating companies know each other better, and have some experience working together.
Choi said the CIT learned that many companies feel a responsibility for the environment in South Korea, especially near their operations and near the homes of their employees.
The Cummins CIT in South Korea is going to extend its reach into the community with the $10,000 grant it received for being an Environmental Challenge winner. The money must go to a charitable group of the CIT’s choice and the team has selected the Cheonan Seobu Free Meal Support Center, a non-governmental organization that works with the homeless.
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