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Greening the Supply Chain

Organization(s) Environmental Protection Agency - Region 1
Project Description EPA Region I-New England has been focusing on a "Greening of the Supply Chain" approach as a way to motivate small businesses that do not respond to traditional enforcement and assistance programs. Promoting EMS has become a major component of that effort in New England.

In August of 2001 Raytheon Company signed on as a Corporate Sponsor of the National Strategic Goals Program for Metal Finishers. Pratt and Whitney soon followed. Both companies outsource a great deal of metal finishing to New England metal finishers and were interested in working with EPA to figure out ways to mentor their small business partners, who are a crucial link in their supply chains. The Strategic Goals Program, sponsored by EPA, trade associations, and state and local governments, gave staff at these companies a vehicle to obtain internal support for working with small suppliers on environmental issues.

Raytheon has a strong corporate culture that stresses environmental compliance, health, and safety as a business metric. Through the Strategic Goals Program, they have worked to transfer their knowledge of safety and compliance issues to their suppliers. Raytheon has begun to use an EH&S checklist as part of the quality audits conducted annually at supplier facilities, and they are working internally to strengthen EH&S as a criteria for suppliers.

Pratt & Whitney has been working to get all of their facilities worldwide ISO 14000 certified by 2004. They have extensive training and auditing experience in environmental management systems. Pratt is offering free EMS training to their metal finishing suppliers. The training is based on the "user group" model, involving monthly training sessions of the suppliers.

In addition to these two companies, New Hampshire Ball Bearings (NH BBB) of Peterborough, New Hampshire, has joined EPA in a project to offer EMS training to NHBB suppliers. As a Performance Track Company, NHBB felt they should show leadership by assisting their suppliers, including metal finishers, machine shops, a laundry, and a cardboard manufacturer to develop an EMS. This project began in April 2003.

Region 1 is currently participating in two Supply Chain projects, the Green Suppliers Network for Aerospace and Environmental Management Systems training for suppliers. As part of a pilot project for the Green Suppliers Network, EPA funded a value stream mapping workshop for second, third, and fourth tier metal finishers. The workshop, conducted by the local Manufacturing Extension Partnership, involves a five day review of all processes at the facility, looking for opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce waste. The EMS training is delivered in the form of a user group, where suppliers meet once a month to review a different aspect of an EMS, and then go back to their facilities to implement this aspect. At the end of six to eight months, the suppliers have a completed EMS. EMS user groups have completed this program at New Hampshire Ball Bearings (9 companies), Pratt & Whitney of East Hartford (6 companies), and Pratt & Whitney of North Berwick, ME (5 companies).

Since early 2006, EPA Region 1-NE and ConnSTEP have been contacting aerospace suppliers in the environmental justice area of New Haven, CT to promote lean and clean reviews. These reviews, subsidized by EPA Headquarters, promote lean manufacturing while also looking for opportunities to reduce environmental impact. So far, the reviews conducted in New England have saved aerospace suppliers hundreds of thousand of dollars while reducing their use of water, energy, and chemicals and the production of solid and hazardous waste.

More Info www.epa.gov/dfe/tools/greening.htm
Project Contact
Name Linda Darveau
Phone 617-918-1718
Project Keywords
Areas of P2 Expertise Environmental Management Systems
Newsletter Northeast Assistance & Pollution Prevention News - Vol. 16 No. 1, Spring 2006 [PDF]


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