1. Ford Motor Company: The River Rouge Plant
The goal for this company to become sustainable started in 1999 when the chairmen at the Ford Motor company wanted to redesign the River Rouge plant in Dearborn, Michigan. Considered to be the most significant manufacturing facilities in the 20th century, the River Rouge plant was the first vertically integrated manufacturing plants. When the plant first opened in 1921, iron ore would be brought in and made into the materials and parts needed to construct each car in just 28 hours.
Since the idea of a "good" company have changed over the years, production is not the only element that dictates whether the company is "good". Many were looking into the fact that this company and manufacturing plant are not sustainable and want to make improvements. The group in charge of making the transition to a sustainable facility based all of their decisions on the idea that "waste equals food". With this in mind every aspect to make the company sustainable was fully thought out and accounted for. Workers, stake holders and community members were all educated on the changes that were being made. They wanted to envision a new future.
The goal was to restore the factory complex and the Rouge watershed. This project was set to cost two billion dollars and be completed over a 20 year span. The first issue was the plants storm water run off problem. The team proposed the worlds larges grass roof would be the best way to solve the issue. This project brought back native song birds and in turn saved the company 30 million dollars.
The next steps for this company is to integrate sustainable materials to assemble their vehicles with. Once a large company such as Ford makes the change to become more sustainable, a bigger market will develop for the sustainable materials. After that, just like a domino affect, others will follow. Thus making our world a more sustainable place.
2. Chrysler: Brampton Assembly
The Brampton Chrysler Assembly plant was built in 1985 in Brampton Ontario, Canada. The plant takes up 2,950,000 square feet of land and supplies 3,795 jobs. Currently in production at the plant are the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Challenger.
"Chrysler Group’s Brampton Assembly Plant (BAP) is the first automotive assembly plant in Canada to achieve ISO 50001 energy management standards certification by TÜV, an international certification organization. And thanks to the plant’s energy efficiency practices, it has saved millions of dollars along the way."
The ISO 50001 implements an energy management system that reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emotions and improves energy performance.
"BAP served as the pilot plant for ISO 50001 certification among Chrysler Group’s North American automotive assembly plants. The remaining plants are expected to be certified by the end of 2014. BAP had previously achieved certification against a number of international standards, among them ISO 9001 for Quality and ISO 14001 for Environmental Management."
“This experience has proven that when employees rally together, and work alongside management and agency partners, sustainable solutions can be identified that help us improve energy optimization and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” - Dan Omahen, plant manager.
"Chrysler Group adopted World Class Manufacturing (WCM) as its operating system in 2009 as part of its alliance with Fiat. First implemented by Fiat in 2006, WCM is a methodology that focuses on reducing waste, increasing productivity, and improving quality and safety in a systematic and organized way".
This local plant has implemented sustainable practices that will affect everyone for the better over the time that the plant is in operation. More companies should try to introduce these practices into their facilities.
The progress that the Brampton Assembly plant has made is already very impressive. Being the first plant in Canada to implement these sustainable methods is a great achievement and other plants should strive to follow in their footsteps. Introducing energy management that helps energy performance and reduces greenhouse gas emissions is a huge step in making all plants sustainable. As this company leads others to follow, it too can learn from the progress that the River Rouge plant has introduced.
Some things that the Brampton assembly plant could do are:
- Grow a green roof. The building takes up so much square footage that it could use the roof space to give back to the environment by growing a green roof.
- Use solar panels. Also because there is so much square footage of the building, parts of the roof could hold solar panels that could power the building or other buildings around it.
- Integrate green materials into the assembly of their cars. So many are produced each year, they too should be made out of green materials.
- Create more energy efficient cars. Too many cars burn the small supply of fossil fuels that we have left, so by only building electric cars there will be less destructive emissions produced and less need for fossil fuels.
- Create a green environment for the employees. As the video says with the addition of plants and natural light productivity will improve making more money for the company.
- Using wind turbines. There is a lot of space taken up by the plant and implementing wind turbines as another source of energy could reduce the amount of emissions produce to power the plants
- Better solution for old cars. Most of the cars that are outdated and that become to expensive to repair are sold for parts and then crushed in a wrecking yard. There needs to be a solution as to how these cars could be put to better use. One solution could be using materials that can be broken down later and reused in other products. Another could be using them to create new habitats. Some people have been putting the shells of old subway cars into the ocean where they create new habitats for marine life, such as the coral and fish. This could be done with old cars too.
- Renovate for a more green building. Some renovations could be made to the building to make sure that it is as sustainable as possible.
- Create less construction waste. If the materials used were properly recycled and reused then there would be less construction waste produced meaning less waste would be put into our landfills.
- Invent a more affordable hybrid car. Hybrid cars at the moment can cost up to 20% more than regular cars. Unfortunately, most people would choose a cheaper car over a sustainable one. If a more affordable care was created people would be more likely to buy it because of the increase in gas prices. Buying a rechargeable car would be the smartest solution.