Environmental Champions Energized By Broader Role

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Caption: Some Cummins Energy Champions look for savings at a company facility. The group is evolving into the company’s Environmental Champions.

Cummins’ successful Energy Champions initiative, which trained employees to look for ways to save energy in plants, facilities and offices, is evolving into the company’s Environmental Champions program.

“We wanted sites to have a holistic view when reviewing facility projects, not just look through the lens of one media like energy,” said Nichole Morris, Environmental Manager and Cummins’ Water Program leader. “This way, you look at the benefits and the disadvantages of a project with the media of water, waste and energy in mind.”

The newly trained Environmental Champions say they welcome the expansion of their roles.

“We consider it an important chance for Cummins to reinforce sustainability concepts and environmental preservation in ways besides energy,” said Cintia Silva, a Cummins Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) employee in Brazil who recently went through the Environmental Champions training. “I’m very excited about the opportunity to make a difference in a broader range of areas.”

The Energy Champions program was created in 2009 to engage employees in the company’s energy conservation efforts. The initiative was created after Cummins committed to a voluntary 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 2010 as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders program.

Cummins targeted its highest energy consuming plants, technical centers, warehouses and offices in the program. The company achieved its goal and then set a new goal to reduce energy use and GHGs by 25 percent and 27 percent, respectively, compared to a 2005 baseline and adjusted to sales by 2015.

When Cummins achieved that goal, the company approved its third energy goal in 10 years. It now pledges to achieve a 32 percent energy intensity reduction from company facilities by 2020 (using a baseline year of 2010) and increase the portion of electricity it uses derived from renewable sources.

The champions scoured Cummins facilities to find energy savings in areas such as power management, lighting, heating and cooling, machinery and equipment and fuel usage. While the savings were relatively small compared to other initiatives, the champions played a critical role in establishing a culture where energy reduction and conservation is a top priority.

That culture was recognized in 2016 when the company won the Award of Excellence in Energy Management from the Clean Energy Ministerial, a global forum that promotes policies and programs to advance clean energy. An independent panel of international experts selected only three organizations worldwide for the group’s top honor in energy management.

Cummins is now hoping to bring the same energy to all of its environmental initiatives through the Environmental Champions program. The Environmental Champions take 32 hours of training over five days.  In 2016, the company conducted five training sessions with 166 employees, who represented a good portion of the company’s environmental footprint.  The goal is to train Champions at 50 priority sites for the company that make up 90 percent of Cummins environmental footprint.

“The Environmental Champions training was built on the best practices happening at Cummins, and it was a big undertaking to expand the scope and leverage the strength and effectiveness of the Energy Champions program across a broader range of opportunities,” said Mark Dhennin, Director, Energy and Environment at Cummins.  “The common approach to tools for all three media makes it easier to teach, understand and support all the material.”


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