Cummins Achieves Two Environmental Goals Early, Faces Challenges Ahead

In 2018, the Cummins plant in Juarez, Mexico, received its first full year of renewable power from the solar array it installed over part of its parking lot. Encouraging the production of renewable energy is part of the company’s energy goal.
In 2018, the Cummins plant in Juarez, Mexico, received its first full year of renewable power from the solar array it installed over part of its parking lot. Encouraging the production of renewable energy is part of the company’s energy goal.

Cummins has reached two of its seven 2020 environmental sustainability goals early, reducing the water it uses per hour worked and cutting carbon dioxide through collaborative projects with customers.

The company, however, still has work to do to fully meet Cummins’ goals to increase its recycling rate to 95%, cut energy use per hour worked by 32%, reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from the shipment of goods within the company’s own network by 10%, and meet its water neutrality and zero disposal site goals. 

“While it’s gratifying to accomplish our goals on water and reducing CO2 through our products in use, we still have work to do on waste, water neutrality, energy and logistics,” said Brian C. Mormino, Cummins’ Executive Director of Environmental Strategy and Compliance.  “We wanted goals that would force us to stretch as a company and that certainly appears to be happening.”

2018 Sustainability Progress Report cover
To learn more, check out the Cummins 2018 Sustainability Progress Report, which covers not just the environment, but community engagement, health and safety, diversity and inclusion, innovation and much more. The report is posted on the company's sustainability website.

THE GOOD NEWS

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Cummins products in use are the company’s largest environmental impact and represent an estimated 99% of Cummins’ GHG footprint due to fossil fuel use.

Cummins fuel teams throughout the world implemented 76 new products in use projects in 2018, bringing the total number of initiatives with customers since 2014 to nearly 300. The company has surpassed its 2020 goal of achieving an annual run rate reduction of 3.5 million metric tons of CO2. The 2018 rate was 4.3 million metric tons.

Cummins has also achieved its goal of a 50% reduction in water use intensity (water use adjusted for hours worked) by 2020 compared to the company’s baseline year of 2010.  Leaders are not declaring this achievement complete, however, until the company can maintain its performance level while continuing to expand, or balancing any downturn in production.

In 2018, the company used 950 million gallons of water (3.6 million kL), a 14 million gallon decrease from 2017. Since the goal’s baseline year of 2010, direct water use is down 16% despite the company’s growth between 2010 and 2018.

Cummins’ water neutrality goal work is also progressing, but not yet fully achieved. The company set a goal of having water neutrality at 15 sites. Eight sites have been validated as water neutral toward the company’s 2020 goal of 15. These locations are off-setting their water use with community improvements that either conserve water or make new sources available. 

THE WORK STILL AHEAD

Cummins is also getting close to reaching its 2020 energy goal to reduce energy intensity by 32% compared to the baseline year of 2010.  This is the company’s third energy goal since 2006 and many of the “early win” projects have long been completed. 

The company, however, has an aggressive investment and action plan thorugh 2020 toward meeting its energy goal. Cummins invested $15 million in 140 energy efficiency and onsite solar photovoltaic capital projects in 2018. By the end of the year, the company’s energy intensity reduction was at 29%. Over the same 2010 to 2018 time-period, the company’s energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts reduced Cummins’ GHG intensity by 37%.

Cummins also made significant progress on its goal to encourage the use of renewable energy, entering into a virtual power purchase agreement to help an Indiana wind farm expand. The expansion will send about the same amount of power to the grid this year as the company uses in all of its headquarters state of Indiana.  

On recycling, Cummins in 2018 reached the 90% mark for a second consecutive year, just short of the company’s 95% goal. The recycling rate has been flat due to regulatory barriers in regions like India and China for problematic waste streams, and an absence of waste management suppliers in some operating regions such as Africa.

In addition, the company has been reducing packaging waste globally by increasing its use of returnable and reusable packaging. That means less material is available for recycling.

Finally, on logistics, disruption from switching third party logistics providers  has caused the team to take some steps back to better understand baseline data to determine where it stands toward meeting  Cummins’ goal to reduce the CO2 per kilogram of goods shipped in the company’s network by 10%.

The logistics team has been working to better understand the increased amount of detailed data it receives from the company’s new vendor and launched a Six Sigma project in early 2019 to gain a better understanding. It is working toward making improvements that would smooth CO2 reductions throughout the year.

The team wants to improve transport planning to maximize loads, reducing miles when trucks are empty and minimizing distance traveled.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

Cummins is planning to announce the next generation of its environmental sustainability plan as part of the company’s 100th anniversary later in 2019, while still working to achieve its existing 2020 goals.The plan will look out to 2050, setting quantifiable goals for 2030 along the way.


 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

High tech tools enable Cummins to safely support customers amid pandemic

Cummins Sales and Service technicians can work collaboratively with experts many miles away using RemoteConnect.
Cummins Sales and Service technicians can work collaboratively with experts many miles away using RemoteConnect.

A suite of high-tech tools called RemoteConnect is enabling Cummins to support customers while maintaining social distancing and travel restrictions implemented during the COVID-19 crisis.

The tools, which allow experts to remotely see what technicians see in the field, were created by the Cummins Care team in 2017, prior to the COVID-19 crisis, to support customers in hard-to-reach locations. Now, with travel discouraged to prevent the spread of the virus, the use of RemoteConnect has increased dramatically, making the tools more important than ever. 

“RemoteConnect was created to be an alternative solution when a Cummins subject matter expert cannot be onsite,” said Cummins Care Manager Joe Brooks, who has been leading the initiative since 2017. “This has quickly turned into the only solution to service our customers in certain situations due to COVID-19. RemoteConnect has been a real game-changer during these unprecedented times.”

HOW THE TOOLS WORK

The suite of tools comes in a kit that looks something like a suitcase and includes safety glasses equipped with a tiny camera that technicians can use to work collaboratively with company experts known as “CFSEs” to diagnose and fix problems. CFSEs can literally see what the technician sees even if they are many miles away.

RemoteConnect quickly demonstrated its ability to improve repair quality while reducing misdiagnosis, un-recoverable labor expenses and most importantly, customer pain and suffering. The kits have been placed in more than 140 Cummins locations, primarily in the U.S. and Canada but Cummins Care is working to deploy them elsewhere, too.

Before COVID-19, CFSEs spent a significant time on the road, working with Cummins technicians at a particular Cummins Sales and Service location to collaborate on difficult service work. In addition, they would also collaborate with technicians via RemoteConnect. 

When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, suddenly a simple flight, train, or even a car ride to service a customer was no longer a routine option. Many CFSEs discovered RemoteConnect was the next best thing to being there.

IMPRESSIVE NUMBERS

While the safety glasses equipped with cameras to live stream two-way audio and visual communication has perhaps the biggest wow factor, the kits also include:

•    LogMeIn Rescue: A tool providing the CFSE the ability to remotely collaborate with onsite technicians by taking control of their desktops.
•    Network Bridge: A tool allowing CFSEs working remotely to connect to an engine’s electronic control module (ECM), which is the command center on an engine controlling its operation.

As of April, over 5,402 remote support cases had been completed since November of 2018, including 621 that would have required travel, and 3,488 days of downtime were saved. The kit was used 166 times just between February and April.

Brooks and others at Cummins expect those numbers will go up in the days and months ahead. RemoteConnect is just another way Cummins puts technology and innovation to work for its customers. 
 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins CEO highlights employee safety, ingenuity at Annual Meeting

CEO Tom Linebarger speaks at a past event, before the COVID-19 crisis. The 2020 Annual Meeting was held virtually to protect against the spread of the virus.
CEO Tom Linebarger speaks at a past event, before the COVID-19 crisis. The 2020 Annual Meeting was held virtually to protect against the spread of the virus.

Cummins is taking numerous steps to protect employees from COVID-19, Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger said at the company’s Annual Meeting Tuesday.

The company has implemented health screenings and temperature checks for those entering plants, increased cleaning protocols and established a response center supported by medical personnel to answer employee questions 24 hours per day, seven days per week, Linebarger said.

He told shareholders the company has also established a leadership committee to respond to reported problems and a planning team focused on planning for future developments. Linebarger said the health and safety of employees and the communities where Cummins operates are the company’s first priority as it moves forward in these uncertain times.

“Most office employees around the world at Cummins are working from home as we comply with stay-at-home orders to reduce the spread of the virus,” Linebarger said. “At the time of this meeting, several of our plants have gone through periods of shutdown or reduced capacity, and many locations are now resuming operations, though at a very reduced level. …Things look very different now than how we operated prior to COVID-19.”

A Seymour Engine Plant employee at work
A Seymour Engine Plant employee in Seymour, Indiana, working under the new plant rules since the pandemic. 

Linebarger said with most office employees staying at home, the company has been able to divert cleaning resources to facilities where employees are coming in to work every day, significantly increasing cleaning and disinfecting protocols. For those employees working in plants, in addition to the screenings and temperature checks, immediate care is available for anyone displaying symptoms for COVID-19.

 For employees whose work requires them to be in close proximity to others, the company has additional personal protective equipment for them to wear.

A DIFFERENT WAY TO WORK

Cummins has also redesigned certain processes and facility layouts to allow employees to operate safely and effectively, re-configuring assembly lines and entrances and exits to promote social distancing and ensuring common surfaces are cleaned regularly. In addition to answering questions, the response center is available to conduct contact tracing to determine people who might have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

The company is using medical personnel from Cummins’ LiveWell health center in Columbus, Indiana, to support the COVID-19 response. center.

Linebarger said the company has benefitted from having dealt with the crisis since January when the virus was first discovered in China. Cummins has several facilities in Wuhan, China, considered the epicenter of the outbreak. All of Cummins’ plants in China are now back in operation and business has been brisk as the company’s customers have responded to pent-up demand.

An employee works in Seymour, Indiana.
In addition to masks, anyone entering the Seymour plant must pass through a health check where they get their temperature taken.

OPTIMISTIC SIGNS

That is only one hopeful sign. Linebarger said Cummins is also in a strong financial position. At the end of the first quarter of 2020, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $2 billion, strong credit ratings and Cummins’ pension plans are fully funded. Linebarger said aggressive action to cut costs such as reducing pay and hours for some employees, while painful, will serve the company well during this unprecedented downturn.

Even in the middle of the crisis, Cummins has maintained its investment in low- and no-carbon technologies like hydrogen fuel cells and battery electric power platforms that will position the company well for the future when more normal conditions and demand returns.

“During our 100-year history we have encountered several unforeseen crises and economic challenges,” Linebarger said during the virtual meeting, another first caused by the pandemic. “I am confident we will successfully navigate this one as we have done before and emerge stronger as a company.”

He said also true to the company’s history, Cummins employees have risen to the challenges presented by COVID-19, responding in new and creative ways to help the company and the communities where they live and work.

Employees have engaged in a host of activities, from helping day care centers and hospitals plan for COVID-19, to powering essential shipments of food and medicine, building and servicing the generators at emergency medical centers around-the-world, and partnering with other companies to increase the production of personal protective equipment.

“It will come as no surprise to you that our employees around the world have stepped up and responded to the needs of their communities in innovative ways,” Linebarger said. “…As always, our employees and our company are doing all that we can do to address this crisis in new and creative ways, and we remain committed to powering a more prosperous world.”
 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

Team saves test using Cummins' ingenuity

The Cummins team had to figure out quickly how to keep testing going while practicing all the COVID-19 safeguards.
The Cummins team had to figure out quickly how to keep testing going while practicing all the COVID-19 safeguards.

On-Board Diagnostic Misfire Testing is as complex as its name would suggest. Keeping a recent test moving forward might have been even more complicated.

The labor-intensive test requires a driver and technician sit side by side to test an engine under “real life” circumstances to prove to regulators its onboard diagnostics are capable of detecting a misfire due to a component failure that produces excessive emissions. The testing is critical to keeping the regulatory process moving forward on the engine model for 2021.

The testing had been taking place at a college several hours away and was at a critical moment when the school suddenly had to shut the lab down as part of its response to the COVID-19 crisis. As the Cummins team quickly made plans to shift testing back to Columbus, Indiana, a feat in itself, plans were also being forged by the test team group leader Alex Marin Cruz to finish the critical testing at the Olympia Building (OLY) – this time while maintaining all the recommended COVID-19 safeguards, including the six-foot social distancing rule. 

FINDING THEIR INNER MACGYVER

In the midst of all the other personal and professional stresses caused by the fast-paced global pandemic, a team of engineers and technicians from both OLY and the Cummins Technical Center (CTC) quickly brainstormed a safe solution.

They pulled more than 50 feet of ethernet and specialized cables from rarely used storage closets in CTC and OLY. Two-way radios that hadn’t been used in some time were dusted off. The testing was slightly reconfigured, so the driver and technician no longer had to sit together but could still communicate using the radios. 

The team lost just under 48 hours, but testing was ready to continue.

A view of the testing.
The team  found cable and two-way radios that hadn't been used in some time to keep the testing going.

NEVER A DOUBT

“We never had any doubt,” Marin Cruz said when asked if he ever thought the testing would have to be postponed. “We were just focused on safety and keeping us six feet apart.”

They are now on track to submit data as part of the certification package to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) by the regulator’s deadline. Their extraordinary efforts to keep the engine testing on track will likely be critical to keeping the project moving forward.  

Team members in addition to Cruz include Shelley Knust, Curt Barnhart, Justin Owen, Ansh Sharma, Michael Tress, Shashank Sharma, Celso Gomez, David L Adams, Arun Shori D Sundaravel, Daniel Holle, and Robert S. Jones.

They demonstrated, once again, that both the company’s value of teamwork and its vision to innovate for its customers are alive and well at Cummins. Even in the midst of a global pandemic.
 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Trio of honors reflect Cummins’ commitment to sustainability

Cummins has long believed that a wide range of factors determine the sustainability of a company.
Cummins has long believed that a wide range of factors determine the sustainability of a company.

Cummins  recently received three honors for its work on ethics, environmental resiliency and supplier diversity.

The recognition reflects the company’s broad approach to sustainability, including everything from Cummins’ efforts to shrink its environmental impact to corporate responsibility, health and safety, diversity and inclusion, financial success, innovation and governance and ethics. The company, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019, is committed to staying in business for the next 100 years.

“When we initiated the World’s Most Ethical Companies recognition in 2007, the concept of companies proactively aligning profits and purpose seemed unlikely,” said Ethisphere CEO Timothy Erblich, upon announcing the group’s list, which Cummins made for a 13th consecutive year. “However, leading CEOs and organizations continue to prove our long-held hypothesis that conducting ethnical business is the key to maximizing profits.”

WORLD’S MOST ETHICAL COMPANIES

Ethisphere is  the global leader in defining and advancing standards of ethical business practices. It said 132 honorees representing 51 countries and 21 industries were included in the group’s 14th annual recognition. There were 14 newcomers to the 2020 World’s Most Ethical Companies list, while seven companies have received the designation every year since the list was first announced in 2007.

To be eligible for the designation, companies must fill out a comprehensive survey on their business practices. Most of the survey questions deal with ethics and compliance, but there are also questions about the company’s environmental performance, community engagement, and supply chain engagement and oversight.

Honorees have historically out-performed other companies financially, demonstrating the connection between good ethical practices and performance that’s valued in the marketplace. Other companies on the 2020 list included Accenture, General Motors, Microsoft and Waste Management. 

Hoosier Resilience Hero logo
TheEnvironmental Resilience Institute has prepared a video to celebrate the 2020 heroes.

HOOSIER RESILIENCE HEROES

Cummins has been named to the Environmental Resilience Institute’s Hoosier Resilience Heroes list, which recognizes individuals and groups across the state of Indiana for their efforts to prepare Hoosiers for climate change and promote safe, healthy communities. The institute is part of Indiana University.

"We affect our environment, and our environment affects us," said the institute’s Director Janet McCabe. "Whether it is coronavirus, climate change or corn yields, we live in interconnected systems. The better we understand these connections, the more resilient we can become to protect our health, our communities and our economy.”

Cummins, which has its headquarters in Indiana, was recognized for its PLANET2050 environmental sustainability strategy to reduce the company’s environmental impact. The strategy was released in 2019 and includes science-based goals timed to 2030 and aspirations for 2050. Cummins was the only company among the 2020 heroes.

This is the second year the institute has released a list. The institute’s mission is to enhance resilience to environmental change in Indiana and the Midwest by accurately predicting impacts and effectively partnering with communities to implement “feasible, equitable, and research-informed solutions.”

SUPPLIER DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

Cummins has been named a Top Global Champion for Supplier Diversity & Inclusion, which recognizes corporations that lead with globally inclusive sourcing efforts. The recognition comes from a trio of groups: the U.S. Pan Asia Chamber of Commerce, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Disability:IN, the leading nonprofit for resource for business disability inclusion worldwide and WEConnect International, a global network that connects women-owned businesses to qualified buyers around the world.

Cummins finished No. 4 on the partners’ list behind only Kelly Services, Merc and IBM.

“If you are not sourcing inclusively everywhere you do business, you do not have full access to critical innovations and the best total value options that will help you meet and anticipate the needs of your clients,” said WEConnect International CEO and Co-Founder Elizabeth A. Vazquez. “This ranking showcases the acceleration of a truly global movement towards supplier diversity and inclusion.”
 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

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