'ENVOLVE'-MENT CROSSES THE ENTIRE PRODUCT LIFECYCLE
Product stewardship at Cummins’ means the company’s mission demanding “everything we do leads to a cleaner, healthier, safer environment” is foremost on the minds of employees when they think about the lifecycle of the company’s products.
Cummins adopted its first-ever comprehensive environmental sustainability plan in 2014, building on the good work the company had already done to reduce its environmental impact. The plan examined Cummins’ entire environmental footprint, focusing on the key areas of water, waste, energy and greenhouse gases (GHGs).
It was clear from this analysis that the company’s top priority must be its products, both in design and in use. This analysis led Cummins to establish its products in-use goal in 2015 and its new product design vision statement in 2016.
As the concept of environmental sustainability matured at the company, views broadened and leaders initiated “Envolve Cummins,” a comprehensive way to view and prioritize actions to address the company’s biggest environmental opportunities. These actions ranged from the materials the company buys to the emissions of its products.
Envolve Cummins’ priorities for sustainable consumption and production focus on four key considerations:
- Reducing the company’s carbon footprint.
- Using fewer natural resources.
- Partnering to solve complex problems.
- Material compliance.
REDUCING CUMMINS CARBON FOOTPRINT
Cummins is working in multiple ways to reduce the carbon footprint of its products and operations:
Cummins’ operations met the company’s second energy and GHG reduction goal in 2015 and is making progress on its logistics goal announced that same year.
While only 1 percent of the company’s estimated GHG footprint comes from its own operations, they offer a great opportunity for employee engagement and cost savings and remain an important priority at Cummins.
PRODUCT DESIGN AND USE
Seventy percent of a product’s environmental footprint is determined during the earliest phases of the design process, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Cummins engineers are now thinking about ways to make the company’s products even more environmentally-friendly in the future, captured in the company’s new product design vision statement.
Cummins is beginning to integrate tools and training programs into its new product development process to take into account the environmental impacts of all phases of product life-cycle, including raw material extraction, manufacturing, product use and end of life.
GHG emissions from Cummins products in use are the company’s largest environmental impact and represent an estimated 99 percent of Cummins’ greenhouse footprint due to fossil fuel use, which emits carbon dioxide (CO2), a key contributor to climate change. Cummins’ biggest opportunity to expand its product stewardship beyond the upfront design is in working with customers to improve the efficiency of its products in use.
This is a win-win as it saves customers on fuel use and reduces GHGs. Through Cummins’ products in-use goal, the company can make an immediate difference.
Based on previous Cummins fuel efficiency projects, the company expects that a 3 to 5 percent reduction in fuel usage can be achieved for many customers through optimization tools, system-level expertise and various fuel economy engine features.
Cummins’ remanufacturing is the company’s oldest “green business.” It requires far less energy and natural resources to remanufacture products to extend life than to build new products.
Remanufacturing maximizes benefits for customers and the environment. Cummins products are designed with this in mind, enabling them to have a long, and increasingly fuel efficient, life.
Through the common application of salvage technology, component re-use guidelines and remanufacturing-specific policies and procedures, the company has become increasingly sophisticated in what it can remanufacture and for how long it can extend a product’s life.