ELYRIA, Ohio – When visiting a Bendix (Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC) facility, you wouldn’t expect to see employees refashioning wood pallets and crates into coffee tables, wine racks, or patio furniture. But that’s exactly what you’ll find on Earth Day if you visit the company’s Huntington, Indiana, campus. To mark the global event, employees at every Bendix location are participating in a wide variety of activities focused on sustainability, including coloring contests for kids, tree plantings, and guest presentations.
Earth Day, founded in 1970 and celebrated annually on April 22, celebrates the planet while recognizing the need to protect the environment. Though Bendix focuses on sustainability throughout the year, it commemorates Earth Day and Earth Week – immediately following Earth Day – with environmental events for employees across its locations. These activities are inspired by Bendix’s long-standing commitment to sustainability through eliminating waste, reducing energy consumption, and remanufacturing.
“Earth Day is a time to celebrate our planet and recognize our responsibility to be a sustainable corporate citizen,” said Maria Gutierrez, Bendix director of corporate responsibility and sustainability. “Through a combination of company-led initiatives and employee engagement, we work year-round to pursue our goals of diverting waste, decreasing energy consumption, expanding our remanufacturing efforts, and shrinking our carbon footprint. Earth Day and Earth Week serve as a reminder of what we have accomplished – and what we have left to do.”
To mark Earth Week, Bendix employees across all North American facilities are organizing and participating in environmentally focused activities. For example, employees at headquarters in Elyria are orchestrating a plant giveaway, collecting household hazardous waste items, and holding a game to educate each other – in a fun and engaging manner – about proper sorting of recyclables and waste.
Employees are also all-in at the Acuña, Mexico, operation, where they are volunteering for trash pickup through the Adopt A Highway® program. The Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake (BSFB) plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is leading a “Quick Kaizen” – ideas for improvement – session, where employees submit their energy-saving ideas to win prizes. In recognition of the team member efforts, a collage will be posted within the plant of all the upcycling projects employees have completed with the reuse of the site’s wooden crates and pallets. And at the Huntington campus, in addition to the carpentry happening there, the plant’s new Green Team – a group of employee volunteers focused on zero-waste goals – is planting trees on the grounds.
Bendix strives every day to reach its goals for waste diversion and energy reduction. The company aligns its efforts to fully support the United Nations’ (UN) ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs were adopted by all UN member states in 2015 to promote prosperity while protecting the environment. As a global company and part of the international community, Bendix aims to positively contribute to all SDGs, with a focus on two in particular – SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and SDG 13 (Climate Action) – through its long-standing corporate sustainability strategy.
To contribute to these SDGs, Bendix is focused on being 100 percent landfill-free by 2020; and by 2019, reducing another 10 percent of its energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the 2014 baseline – by executing phase II of the energy-efficiency initiative ECCO2 (Efficient Cut of CO2).
Both goals are coming into reach: In 2018, Bendix moved closer to Zero Landfill by diverting 96 percent (over 25.5 million pounds) of material waste from landfill disposal. In addition, over the last four years, the company has saved more than 9 million kilowatt hours – translating to a savings of over $690,000 – through implementation of energy-efficiency projects.
Initial steps in the Zero Landfill strategy included the diversion of only industrial waste. Now, nine out of the 10 Bendix manufacturing facilities are industrial waste landfill-free. Efforts are now focused on reduction and diversion from landfill of all remaining waste streams, including general trash and cafeteria waste. The company continues to drive initiatives that will allow Bendix to reach the overall goal to be landfill-free by 2020.
Bendix’s Elyria headquarters is an example of the innovative solutions the company has implemented to advance its path to zero waste. A successful composting program that began in the site’s cafeteria in 2016 was expanded in 2018 to include the entire Elyria facility.
In addition, the Elyria Centralized Waste project, launched in June of 2018, set out to dramatically reduce waste sent to landfill by replacing deskside trash/recycling pickup with the mindful disposition of waste by employees into new centralized collection stations.
Elyria’s zero-waste program recently won a global award from the Knorr-Bremse Group, Bendix’s Munich, Germany-based parent company – making it a model for the rest of the 30,000 employees worldwide to deploy. Bendix team members directing the North American effort are also serving as the global lead for the Knorr-Bremse Group’s worldwide zero-waste initiative, helping to guide the company’s global actions for achieving the UN SDG 12.
Reducing Where It Counts
Along with waste diversion, Bendix has committed to international targets on climate protection and invests in improving the energy efficiency of processes and facilities. These actions include energy audits to identify energy conservation projects, use of renewable energy sources, logistics optimization, and programs for reducing the carbon footprint of products.
The company’s $690,000 and more than 9 million kilowatt hours in energy savings over the last four years are due in large part to Bendix’s continued improvement of lighting efficiency, and a focus on the primary energy consumers, HVAC and compressed air. Bendix raised the percentage of efficient lighting at its locations from 58 percent in 2016 to 99 percent in 2018.
“Our waste diversion and energy conservation goals are possible due to the commitment of our employees, who strive to reduce waste in every aspect of their work,” Gutierrez said. “At Bendix, where sustainability is one of our core values, we believe every day should be treated like Earth Day. Together, we hope to not only reach our own sustainability goals, but to inspire others to find ways to be environmentally conscious in their lives and in their work.”
The Reman Way
Remanufacturing is another key part of the company’s strategy for conserving energy, raw materials, and landfill space. In 2018, Bendix produced nearly 2.5 million remanufactured components across its broad product lines, saving 5,392 tons of raw materials. The remanufacturing effort was also responsible for reducing the company’s carbon footprint by 18,874 equivalent tons of CO2.
Bendix’s commitment to remanufacturing is just one reason why it is one of the first ambassador companies of the Manufactured Again Certification program from MERA – The Association for Sustainable Manufacturing. In its ambassador role, Bendix continues its efforts to educate buyers about remanufacturing, suppliers, and performance expectations. The Manufactured Again Certification program helps purchasers easily identify remanufactured goods with like-new quality and warranty coverage. The program also promotes environmental stewardship and remanufacturing as a leading example in the circular economy.
The Manufactured Again Certification program, launched in November 2016, is based on the internationally recognized quality management standards ISO 9001 and IATF 16949. Where ISO 9001 can be used by any organization, large or small, in any industry, the supplemental IATF 16949 is one of the automotive industry’s most widely used international quality standards. To receive Manufactured Again Certification, remanufacturers are required to submit third-party evidence of conformance to the accepted quality standards. The Manufactured Again Verification Committee oversees the program and reviews all applications.
For over 40 years, Bendix has been a remanufacturing leader. Remanufactured components from Bendix include an always growing portfolio of brake shoes, air disc brakes, valves, air dryers, compressors, and electronics.