For Immediate Release: September 23, 2008
Contact: Seamus Kraft/Michael Brown (202) 482-3809
U.S. Commerce Official Promotes Sustainable Manufacturing at Three Rochester Area Firms
Convenes Manufacturing Council to Discuss Sustainability
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – U.S. Commerce Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services William G. Sutton made the third Sustainable Manufacturing American Regional Tour (SMART) at three Rochester area companies: Eastman Kodak, Co., Xerox Corp. and Harbec Plastics, Inc. SMART seeks to share with U.S. businesses successful and sustainable manufacturing practices that reduce natural resource use and energy consumption while enhancing profitability.
“American manufacturers’ ability to compete in the global economy is boosted with sustainable production practices,” Sutton said. “SMART showcases U.S. companies that have become more competitive and profitable through sustainability, leading the way into the 21st century economy.”
Sutton also convened the Manufacturing Council to discuss advances in sustainable manufacturing and foster public-private cooperation to meet industry’s future challenges. The Manufacturing Council meets quarterly to advise the Secretary of Commerce on industry challenges and solutions and is comprised of 15 executives of various U.S. manufacturing sectors, locations and firm size. All represented sectors agreed that sustainability is a key pillar of American manufacturing’s competitiveness, innovation and sustained growth.
Sustainable manufacturing seeks to profitably produce goods while minimizing the firm’s environmental impact, natural resource use and energy consumption. Evidence shows that companies that employ both environmentally and economically sound manufacturing practices gain significant competitive advantages across the board. These practices help companies comply with domestic and international regulations related to the environment and health, while improving their products, image and services.
The tour began at Eastman Kodak Co.’s global manufacturing headquarters in Rochester. Eastman Kodak has reduced company-wide energy usage by 36 percent since 2002 through implementation of global energy efficiency programs. Its efficiency initiatives have led to a 6.5 percent decrease in the company’s overall water usage and the recycling of approximately 42 million pounds of waste. Eastman Kodak employs a sustainable manufacturing process that is approaching zero environmental impact through energy management and by-products’ reuse.
The next tour stop was Xerox Corp.’s Rochester-based office equipment recycling headquarters. Xerox recovers and recycles 96 percent of its office equipment, and has turned 111 million pounds of old machines into more than 2.8 million copiers, printers and multifunction systems since 1991. In 2003, Xerox joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Climate Leaders program and under this initiative has cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 18 percent. The company has also developed a more efficient paper production technique that utilizes 90 percent of each tree, versus 45 percent under traditional papermaking processes.
The tour concluded at Harbec Plastics, Inc. in Ontario, N.Y. Harbec has cut energy costs 50 percent through all-electric manufacturing presses and a complete switch to low-energy lighting fixtures. The company installed a wind turbine at its manufacturing headquarters to further cut non-renewable energy consumption. Harbec also saves one million gallons of water a year by utilizing an 800,000 gallon reservoir to capture and hold rainwater.
For more information on SMART, please visit: http://trade.gov/competitiveness/sustainablemanufacturing/
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