Cummins leader promotes the power of choice to address climate change

Dr. Wayne Eckerle, seated middle, testifies in front of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Wayne Eckerle, seated middle, testifies in front of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change in Washington, D.C.

The Cummins leader for research and technology urged U.S. lawmakers today (Oct. 23, 2019) to preserve the power of choice in heavy duty powertrains so customers can select the best technology for them to address challenges like climate change.

Dr. Wayne Eckerle told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change in Washington, D.C., that there is no one size fits all solution for heavy duty transportation. Policies establishing national standards while maintaining technical flexibility are the best way to promote the innovation needed to ultimately reach net-zero emissions.

“Cummins is committed to investing in an energy diverse future where our customers have a broad portfolio of power options – a future that includes clean diesel, natural gas, electrified power, fuel cell technology and alternative fuels – so they can choose what works best for them,” Eckerle told the subcommittee in prepared testimony.

FLEXIBILITY IS KEY

All of those technologies can play important roles in reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs), the principal cause of climate change. For example, the nearly 5 million diesel trucks using advanced diesel fuel, the latest engine technology and modern emissions control, have avoided the production of more than 26 million metric tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 59 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) over the past decade.

NOx is a key contributor to smog and CO2 is pivotal to GHGs. Cummins believes internal combustion engines will be around for some time, especially for long haul trucking, as the infrastructure develops for carbon neutral technology such as electrified power and fuel cells. The company is working to make the engines cleaner, and more efficient.

Watch the testimony

“We remain committed to making our internal combustion engines as fuel efficient as possible,” said Eckerle, Vice President of Global Research and Technology at Cummins.

Eckerle said natural gas can also be a clean source of energy for customers using the latest technology, especially for those with access to renewable natural gas from sources such as landfills.

“Biogas can provide a clean, easily controlled source of renewable energy from organic waste materials, replacing fossil fuels with a sustainable carbon neutral fuel option,” he told the committee.

EMBRACING NEW TECHNOLOGIES

Cummins has long been a leader in engines fueled by diesel and natural gas. It is quickly becoming the leader in electrified power and fuel cell technology, building on its own expertise through several recent acquisitions.

The company, for example, has greatly expanded its technical capability with battery-electric technology, offering electrified powertrains for school and transit bus applications as well as work trucks in 2019.

In addition, Cummins is the largest provider of Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel-cell powered locomotives in the world. PEM fuel cells generate electricity through a chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen.

“The heavy-duty vehicle industry is undergoing significant change and Cummins is leading the way,” Eckerle said.

But he cautioned that the company’s work with new technologies will only be effective if the market adopts the technology.

“Cost and infrastructure readiness are the main barriers to adoption of low emission technologies for commercial vehicles,” he told the subcommittee.

HOW GOVERNMENT CAN HELP

Eckerle said one thing the federal government can do toward the goal of carbon neutral heavy-duty transportation is encourage the development of infrastructure and affordable technology through public-private partnerships like the 21st Century Truck Partnership and cost-shared research and development projects like SuperTruck. 

Launched in 2010, SuperTruck has brought together major players in heavy duty transportation to work on experimental technologies making trucks more efficient, sharing costs with the U.S. Department of Energy. Many of the innovations are now included in engines on the market today.

Eckerle said the government can also establish nationwide emissions targets for product specific applications, noting that federal GHG standards for commercial vehicles will lower CO2 emissions by about 1.1 billion metric tons if fully implemented, saving vehicle owners $170 billion in fuel costs and reducing oil consumption by up to 2 billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program.

“Policies should be free of technology-forcing mandates, ensuring manufacturers’ ability to provide options that allow communities to make the best choices that will meet their performance and environmental needs,” Eckerle said. “Successful policies should not be prescriptive but should instead focus on desired outcomes, allowing flexibility and innovation to meet goals.”
 

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]

 

Cummins honored by governor of Indiana for wind farm project

The Meadow Lake Wind Farm is in an ideal location in a nearly fully developed agricultural area.
The Meadow Lake Wind Farm is in an ideal location in a nearly fully developed agricultural area.

Cummins received a Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence this week for the company’s work helping the Meadow Lake Wind Farm expand so it can generate more renewable power. 

The award was presented Wednesday (Sept. 18) by Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Bruno Pigott on behalf of Gov. Eric Holcomb. Brian Mormino, Executive Director – World Wide Environmental Strategy & Compliance at Cummins, accepted the award on behalf of the company and its partners at Meadow Lake VI in northwest Indiana.

Brian Mormino receives Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence on behalf of Cummins
Brian Mormino (center), Executive Director – World Wide Environmental Strategy & Compliance, joins Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Bruno Pigott (second from left) and other state officials to accept the award on behalf of Cummins.

“The expansion of the wind farm produces the equivalent amount of energy that Cummins uses at its Indiana facilities and reduces air emissions and water consumption at the local power plant,” Pigott said in announcing the award at the 22nd annual Indiana Pollution Prevention Conference and Trade Show in Indianapolis, Indiana (U.S.).

The project was the winner in the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Resources category. Five other initiatives also won excellence awards, which recognize organizations that “voluntarily went above and beyond their regulatory requirements.”

Pigott called the winners Indiana’s leaders in implementing the most “innovative, sustainable and exemplary” environmental projects in 2018-2019.

In a brief presentation on the project, Karen Cecil, Director of Environmental Sustainability at Cummins, called the wind farm expansion “probably one of the projects I’m most proud to be a part of.”

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Cummins has entered into a 15-year Virtual Power Purchase Agreement, more commonly known in the industry as a VPPA. It guarantees the wind farm a fixed price for the power Meadow Lake VI generates, providing some certainty for the expansion, which helped it move forward. The VPPA provides Cummins with a hedge against rising energy prices.

Meadow Lake VI has a capacity of about 200 megawatts annually, which is generated from 61 wind turbines. All six phases of the wind farm collectively have an installed capacity of 801.25 megawatts, enough to power approximately 220,000 average Indiana homes with clean energy each year.

The share of the expansion Cummins is supporting is 75 megawatts of capacity. While none of the power will go directly to a Cummins’ facility, its share of the expansion is projected to generate slightly more electricity annually than the company uses at its Indiana facilities. 

Essentially the greenhouse gases from the electricity consumption at Cummins' facilities in Indiana are offset by the renewable power sent to the grid.  About a quarter of the company’s total energy use is in Indiana.

ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE

Cummins partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund and The Nature Conservancy, which reviewed the expansion plans. While no energy technology has zero impact, the expansion site was nearly ideal for wind energy, with a flat topography. Almost all of the site is fully developed agricultural land, with minimal sensitive habitats. 

A drone view of the expansion at Meadow Lake VI
You can find a video about the expansion, and Cummins' role in it, here.

The Meadow Lake Wind Farm is owned by EDP Renewables, which values environmental stewardship, an important factor for Cummins. The company was represented at the awards ceremony by Kelly Snyder, Senior Origination Manager – East Region. Paul Jackson, Director of Benton County Economic Development also attended, along with Steven Cox, Benton County Commissioner President. The county is home to the wind farm expansion and many of its farmers have benefited financially from having wind turbines on their property.
 
Expanding renewable forms of energy is included in Cummins’ 2020 environmental goals. The company wants to do its part to address climate change.

Other winners of environmental excellence awards included: Grace College for its work with the Lilly Center for Lakes and Streams in northeast Indiana, the city of Bloomington for its work on energy conservation, Jennings County for its work to promote and improve pollinator habitats, Helmer Scientific for its work to phase out hydrocarbons and the city of Greendale for its work to implement curbside recycling. 

The Cummins team and representatives from EDP Renewables and Benton County
Representatives from Cummins gathered with important guests after the ceremony. From left to right, Brian Mormino, Executive Director – World Wide Environmental Strategy & Compliance at Cummins; Laurie Counsel, Global Environmental Relations Director at Cummins; Cummins’ Alan Resnik, Director – Facilities and Operations Environmental Management; Karen Cecil, Director of Environmental Sustainability at Cummins; Kelly Snyder, Senior Origination Manager – East Region, EDP Renewables North America, and Paul Jackson, Director, Benton County Economic Development.


 

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]

 

Cummins again named to list of most sustainable companies in North America

Cummins takes a broad approach to sustainability, including multiple areas ranging from the environment to good governance and financial performance.
Cummins takes a broad approach to sustainability, including multiple areas ranging from the environment to good governance and financial performance.

Cummins has been named to the S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America for a 14th consecutive year.


The 2019 index, based primarily on 2018 data, reviews a company’s economic, environmental and social performance across more than 20 different categories, ranging from codes of conduct to environmental reporting and occupational health and safety.

“Raising the bar each year, the CSA (Corporate Sustainability Assessment) is continuously enhanced to identify and measure under-researched or under-reported financially material ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors,” S&P Dow Jones said upon releasing its findings last week. “This process helps better detect those companies that are well-positioned to address future sustainability-driven challenges and opportunities.”

ABOUT THE ASSESSMENT

The assessment is conducted by RobecoSAM, an investment specialist focused exclusively on sustainable investing. It says the 2019 assessment covered approximately 1,000 data points and attracted record interest from companies seeking to measure and improve their sustainability performance. This is the 20th anniversary of index.

Cummins' 2018 Sustainability Progess Report
Cummins' most recent Sustainability Progress Report, along with reports back to 2003, can be found on the company's sustainability page.

Despite raising its score four points over the company’s 2018 overall assessment, Cummins once again narrowly missed making S&P Dow Jones’ World Index. It saw overall increases in its economic, environmental and social dimension scores ranging from two to six points.

The largest year-over-year increases came in the categories of materiality, operational eco-efficiency and talent attraction and retention. Human capital development, product stewardship and corporate governance also recorded significant improvements.

EXCLUSIVE COMPANY

In Cummins’ category, capital goods, only 10 other companies made the North American Index. Those companies included: Caterpillar Inc., Fluor Corp., Ingersoll-Rand, Johnson Controls, Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., Owens Corning, Rockwell Automation Inc., Stanley Black & Decker and W.W. Grainger, Inc.

Cummins takes a broad approach to sustainability, including the environment, corporate responsibility, health and safety, diversity and inclusion, innovation, customer service, good governance, ethics and financial performance.

To learn more about Cummins’ sustainability efforts, check out the company’s 2018 Sustainability Progress Report and other related documents on Cummins’ sustainability page on cummins.com.
 

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]

 

5 reasons Cummins helped an Indiana wind farm expand

A farmer works in a field within the Meadow Lake Wind Farm expansion earlier this year. Cummins helped the wind farm expand in 2018.
A farmer works in a field within the Meadow Lake Wind Farm expansion earlier this year. Cummins helped the wind farm expand in 2018.

Some might wonder why a company perhaps best known for its engines would help a wind farm in northwest Indiana expand? 

But at Cummins it was a perfect fit with the company’s mission and strategy.

“Our mission is making people’s lives better by powering a more prosperous world,” said Rich Freeland, President and Chief Operating Officer, after a dedication ceremony in July at the Meadow Lake Wind Farm near Chalmers, Indiana. “And, so, a piece of powering a more prosperous world includes the environment. You can’t have a more prosperous world without a healthy environment.”

Here are five reasons the company helped Meadow Lake expand, to go with a new video Cummins is releasing on the project (see above):

1.    Cummins wants to help expand renewable forms of energy.

Expanding renewable forms of energy is included in the company’s 2020 environmental goals. Cummins wants to do its part to address climate change. The company uses solar energy where it makes sense, with large solar arrays in Beijing, China; Phaltan, India; Jamestown, New York, and most recently Juarez, Mexico. Meadow Lake is the company’s first foray into wind energy.

2.    The company wants to offset the energy it uses from traditional sources.

The wind farm expansion Cummins is supporting, known as Meadow Lake VI, has a capacity of 200 megawatts from 61 wind turbines, which are among the tallest in the world at more than 560 feet high (just over 170 meters). The share of the expansion Cummins is supporting is 75 megawatts of capacity. While none of the power will go directly to a Cummins’ facility, its share of the expansion is projected to generate slightly more electricity annually than Cummins uses at all of its Indiana facilities. So, essentially, the greenhouse gases from electricity consumption at the company's Indiana facilities are offset by the renewable power sent to the grid.

A truck passes through the Meadow Lake Wind Farm.
Support for renewable wind power is consistent with Cummins' energy diversity strategy.

3.    Cummins gets a hedge against high energy prices.

Cummins has entered into a 15-year Virtual Power Purchase Agreement, more commonly known in the industry as a VPPA. It guarantees the wind farm a fixed price for the power Meadow Lake VI generates, providing some certainty to the expansion that helped it move forward. The VPPA provides Cummins with a hedge against rising energy prices. VPPAs enable companies that aren’t located in windy areas to support renewable wind power. 

4.    The company gets to learn about VPPAs for possible replication elsewhere.

This project is going to allow Cummins to learn about VPPAs for possible replication elsewhere. The Meadow Lake Wind Farm is owned by a company called EDP Renewables, which operates in markets around the world.

5.    The project fits Cummins’ business strategy and its goal to build stronger communities around the world.

As a global power leader, Cummins is committed to offering a broad portfolio of clean power products to help customers choose the solution that’s best for them. That includes clean diesel, natural gas engines, electrified power and more. Learning about renewable wind power only makes sense.

The wind farm also has important additional benefits beyond producing clean, renewable power. Schools and local governments benefit from the taxes the wind farm pays and farmers benefit from the payments they receive for hosting wind turbines on their land. Cummins has long believed it is only as strong as the communities where it does business. That is true for northwest Indiana, too.
 

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]

 

Cummins CEO signs Roundtable’s statement expanding corporations’ commitment

Cummins Chairman  and CEO Tom Linebarger speaks at the company’s annual meeting in May 2019, promoting action on the environment and Cummins Powers Women initiative to help address global inequities facing women and girls around the world.
Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger speaks at the company’s annual meeting in May 2019, promoting action on the environment and Cummins Powers Women initiative to help address global inequities facing women and girls around the world.

Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger has joined 180 other CEOs signing a new statement issued by the Business Roundtable that commits them to leading their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders.

The stakeholders in the new “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation” include customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders. The statement reaffirms a practice followed by Cummins for more than 50 years, but it marks a significant change for the Roundtable.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

The Roundtable has periodically issued Principles of Corporate Governance since 1978, but each version has endorsed shareholder primacy, maintaining corporations exist mainly to serve shareholders. The statement released Monday by the Roundtable outlines a broader standard for corporate responsibility that supersedes previous statements.

“Businesses play a vital role in the economy by creating jobs, fostering innovation and providing essential goods and services,” the new statement says. “…While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders.”

The statement concludes saying:

“Each of our stakeholders is essential. We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.”

Other CEOs signing the new statement include Tim Cook, CEO of Apple; Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors; James Hackett, CEO of Ford Motor Co. and Jeffrey Bezos, CEO of Amazon.

CUMMINS’ STAKEHOLDER MODEL

Cummins has been following the stakeholder model of business dating back to longtime CEO J. Irwin Miller and embraced by every company chief executive since. Miller laid out his philosophy in Cummins’ 1972 Annual Report.

“We can in the long run be a healthy company only in so far as we exist and serve within an economically and socially healthy society,” Miller said in that report. “We, therefore, support the involvement of company personnel in both public and private social programs, with funds set aside for general philanthropy.”

Shareholders are still an important stakeholder, under the Cummins’ model. Financial success is critical for companies to have an impact on other areas of society. But shareholders are not the only stakeholder.

Linebarger is an active member of the Roundtable, serving as Chair of the Business Roundtable International Engagement Committee. He has continued the stakeholder model of leadership since becoming Cummins’ CEO in 2012.

Under his leadership, for example, the company started the Cummins Powers Women initiative to help address global inequities facing women and girls around the world. Cummins has also established goals to reduce the energy and greenhouse gases it produces, the water it uses, and increase the amount of waste it recycles. The company regularly reports on its progress in Cummins’ Sustainability Progress Report.

“I think all of us know that in order to continue, in order to thrive a hundred years from now, there will be significant challenges to all industrial companies and certainly a company in the power business, about what impact we’re having on the environment,” Linebarger said at Cummins’ Annual Meeting in May. “We will have to produce wealth for all stakeholders while using less, and it’s just that simple.”
 

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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