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green@work : Magazine : Back Issues : May/June 2004 : Cover Story

Part of Cover Story

A Gold Standard

by Katie Sosnowchik


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Side Bars
Doing Business Worldwide
A Gold Standard
A High Performance Showcase

Johnson Controls recently received the 2004 Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development, awarded annually by the World Environment Center (WEC). Johnson Controls was honored with the 20th annual award for creating tremendous shareholder value through businesses and initiatives that enable energy efficiency and reduced carbon dioxide emissions; facilitating resource efficiency, reuse and recycling; and promoting green building design concepts. The gold medal is awarded each year to a corporation that demonstrates preeminent industry leadership and contributes to worldwide environmental quality and sustainable development.

The jury cited Johnson Controls for its commitment to environmental conservation, conscientious citizenship and sustainable development. “Through its long-time policies and practices, Johnson Controls has demonstrated its leadership in sustainable development,” noted Dr. Joel Abrams, Professor Emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh and chair of the independent Gold Medal jury. The decision was based, in part, on the company’s “High Performance Green Buildings” initiative, through which Johnson Controls creates buildings designed to conserve energy and water, use natural materials and lighting, treat landscapes with respect, and minimize emissions. Broadly accepted, this concept can have a profound effect on global energy consumption and resource depletion.

“ Johnson Controls is providing global leadership in revolutionizing the way businesses and contractors build their facilities,” notes Dr. Abrams. Johnson Controls, through its internal programs and efforts on behalf of its customers, is considered one of the largest deliverers of energy efficiency in the U.S. In the United States alone, energy efficiency projects implemented by Johnson Controls since 1990 are expected, by 2020, to produce energy savings of $95 billion and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.3 billion tons.

Johnson Controls is also a founding member of the Supplier Partnership for the Environment, an organization of automakers and vehicle suppliers that works with the U.S. EPA to develop a business-centered approach to environmental protection in the automotive industry. As part of its environmental initiatives, the company developed Eco-cor™, made from plant fibers and recycled plastics, for use in automotive interior components. In addition to its waste reduction benefits, Eco-cor has the advantage of reduced weight, which contributes to improved vehicle fuel efficiency.

In 2003, the Johnson Controls’ automotive interiors business reduced manufacturing waste disposal costs approximately 18 percent through diversion of waste products into a variety of recycling and recovery applications. All of its North American interiors plants are ISO 14001 certified and, as part of this compliance, environmental management plans include input from stakeholders, including local community interest organizations.

The jury also acknowledged a range of the company’s achievements in the areas of waste reduction, sustainability and social responsibility. The Johnson Controls’ automobile battery business is a model for reuse and recycling. Currently, approximately 96 percent of all Johnson Controls automotive batteries are recycled and its manufacturing plants recycle 99.9 percent of all lead used. Waste reductions are also achieved through the application of life cycle assessments with the goal of zero waste-to-landfill; application of ISO 14001; installation of air filters; integrating renewable natural based materials into product lines; and assisting customers and suppliers with recycling and reclaiming materials.

Johnson Controls’ commitment to working with a diverse range of suppliers was demonstrated in 2002, when the company first achieved $1 billion in annual spending with diverse suppliers. To further increase supplier diversity, Johnson Controls encouraged joint ventures between itself, key suppliers and minority-owned companies.

The jury also cited high corporate expectations for global suppliers that go beyond mere regulatory compliance by pushing for suppliers’ operating standards to reflect Johnson Controls’ own high standards. Suppliers’ performance is monitored and the implementation of ISO 14001 management systems is actively encouraged.


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