Cummins has big plans to let the sunshine in

Crews install a solar array at Cummins' Rocky Mount Engine Plant in North Carolina.
Crews install a solar array at Cummins' Rocky Mount Engine Plant in North Carolina.

After a record year for solar projects at Cummins Inc. in 2021, this year promises to be almost as busy as the company continues adding renewable, low-carbon solar power to its energy mix for plants and facilities.

The company worked on 20 solar projects in 2021, ranging from a relatively modest 36-kilowatt peak (kWp) array that was phase 2 of a project at the Cummins Generator Technologies facility in Ahmednagar, India, to a 1,472 kWp installation atop the new U.K. Logistics Center in Daventry, United Kingdom, to a 3,600 kWp array at the Rocky Mount Engine Plant in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. 

When completed this year, the Rocky Mount solar array will be the second largest at Cummins, behind only the combined power of the 3,600 and 3,300 kWp installations atop two buildings that make up the Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Company plant in Beijing, China.

Cummins currently has plans for another 18 solar projects in 2022, with a special emphasis on China and the United States as the company’s efforts move forward.

“Solar is going to play a major role in meeting our PLANET 2050 environmental goals,” said Mark Dhennin, Director of Energy and Environment for Cummins’ Facilities and Operations. “There have been significant technical improvements and price reductions that make it increasingly attractive as a low-carbon energy source.”

PLANET 2050 is the company’s sustainability strategy for addressing climate change and other environmental challenges. It has nine goals timed to 2030, including reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from facilities and operations by 50%. The strategy also includes the aspiration to exclusively power customer success using net-zero emission technologies by 2050.

CUMMINS’ STRATEGY FOR RENEWABLES

Solar array at Cummins facility in Juarez
The solar array at the Cummins facility in Juarez, Mexico.

Solar alone won’t get the company to its 50% reduction goal, but solar can play an important role in a multi-faceted approach that includes other forms of renewables, energy conservation, process modifications and an expected greening of the grid. Dhennin says the company’s initial target is for on-site solar to provide about 10% of the company’s global electricity needs.

On-site solar is especially good for buildings like warehouses, with relatively modest power needs compared to manufacturing plants and large roofs or adjacent spaces like parking lots where panels can be placed. It also helps to be in a location receiving a lot of sun, although Liam Roe, Facilities Project Manager for Cummins covering the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, points out that the technology has improved tremendously in recent years. 

He says Britain is far from the sunniest place on earth, but the array atop the U.K. Logistics Center (UKLC) is expected to provide most of the facility’s electricity for long stretches of the year, working with a near zero emission natural gas generator. The array is projected to pay for itself in five to six years and is one reason UKLC received an Outstanding rating under BREEAM UK’s Code for a Sustainable Built Environment for non-domestic buildings.

Cummins has also worked to expand the availability of renewable power by supporting the expansion of a wind farm in a particularly windy corner of the company’s home state of Indiana through a virtual power purchase agreement. While none of the power generated by the expansion of the Meadow Lake Wind Farm in 2019 goes directly to Cummins, the company’s share of the expansion roughly offsets all of the electricity the company uses from the grid across the state.

SOLAR’S OTHER BENEFITS

The solar array at the Cummins campus in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
The solar array at the Cummins campus in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

The company does have a number of sites that receive significant amounts of sun annually. India, for example, has been a point of emphasis for Cummins’ solar efforts with 20 installations since 2018 that together have a maximum potential output of 11 MWp. The largest project in the country was a 1,250 kWp array during phase 2 of a solar initiative at the Kothrud Engine Plant in Pune, India. The total solar capacity at the plant is now 2,800 kWp, the largest installation in India.

Solar power is an important source of low-carbon energy in the country, especially in light of estimates that up to 70% of the electricity from the grid in India comes from coal-fired power plants. It’s also, however, an increasingly important source of power as demands on the grid mount, said Pravin Ghodke, Energy Project Manager for Facilities and Operations in India.

Ghodke says he believes Cummins’ experience with all the benefits of solar in India as well as the South Pacific and Africa will help as the company expands its investment in China, the United States and elsewhere.

A BRIGHT FUTURE AWAITS

Laura Jones, Cummins’ Energy and Environment Manager in the U.S., can see the future as she watches work enter its final stages on the 3,600 kWp solar array at the engine plant in Rocky Mount. 

Located on 7 acres on the south side of the facility, the field of solar panels will be the first Cummins has employed using technology that enables panels to follow the sun for maximum power generation. While Rocky Mount receives plenty of sun, the rotating panels and other advances could make solar a low-carbon option for other regions of the country not so blessed.

“There’s no question the technology is changing very quickly while becoming increasingly affordable,” she said. “We’re looking at it as an option in a number of areas.”

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 powers equitable workplaces on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

banner that says IPwD

This article originally authored by Mark Smith, Cummins Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Mahesh Narang, Vice President, President Components, and posted internally on December 1, 2022 for employees to recognize International Week of People with Disabilities. 

Inclusion. Innovation. Impact. These are among the outcomes Cummins’ Disability Inclusion Initiative drives as we strive to power accessible, equitable and inclusive workplaces and communities where people with disabilities are enabled to achieve their potential. In observance of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we take time to reflect on the barriers that prevent nearly 1 billion people in the world from full and effective participation in society, particularly when it comes to employment. Let’s explore how Inclusion, Innovation and Impact at Cummins are helping to break down these barriers. 

Inclusion 

An inclusive work environment is one where all employees are valued, belong, contribute and succeed.  One of the ways we help to create an inclusive environment for our employees with disabilities and their allies is through our Disability Inclusion Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Another way of contributing to inclusivity in the workplace is by learning more about disability and how to be a better ally for people with disabilities. We are excited to introduce a new Disability Fundamentals online training that complements our Disability Inclusion Employee Awareness Guide and adds to our portfolio of disability learning resources.   

Innovation 

There are two ways to think about innovation. The first is how proportionate representation of people with disabilities in our workforce helps us to be a more innovative company. By harnessing the diverse perspectives, skills and experiences from all of our employees, we provide superior solutions to our customers and drive innovative engineering, best-in-class quality, manufacturing efficiencies, world-class sales and services and more. The second way to think about innovation is how technology removes barriers for people with disabilities, enabling them to fully apply their diverse perspectives, skills and experiences. Our portfolio of accessible technology solutions like Dragon Pro speech-to-text, Zoom Fusion magnifier/reader and AccessiBe break down obstacles preventing interaction with, or access to websites, digital tools and technologies for people with disabilities.   

Impact 

While much remains to be done, from dismantling the negative bias and outdated stereotypes associated with disability that are still held by some, to increasing the representation of people with disabilities at Cummins, we are proud of our progress which is marked by these achievements:   

  • Excellent leadership engagement, from sponsoring ERGs to championing hiring initiatives 
  • A vibrant ERG network comprised of seven regional chapters 
  • Consistently generous Corporate Responsibility grants and employee EEEC hours  
    • Over $1.4M in grants 
    • 2,948 employees volunteered over 12,000 hours to 173 different projects 
  • Improved facilities' accessibility and an expanded portfolio of accessible technology solutions 
  • Regular communications that are increasing awareness and understanding of disability 
  • A growing library of training and resources 
  • Invited to join the [email protected] Roundtable 
  • For the second year in a row, we scored 100% on the Disability Equality Index and earned recognition as a Best Employer for Disability 

 We would like to express our sincere gratitude to every employee that has been involved in helping us toward fulfilling our vision “to make Cummins an employer of choice for individuals with disabilities and to eliminate employment barriers within our communities”. Thank you.  

 

Mark Smith                         

Vice President, Chief Financial Officer              

Executive Sponsor, Disability Inclusion Initiative 

 

Mahesh Narang 

Vice President, President Components 

Executive Sponsor Disability Inclusion ERG and GILC Chair 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Putting oyster power to work to help save the U.S. Gulf Coast

The Nature Conservancy’s Seth Blitch discusses the oyster reef project with Mary Chandler, Vice President – Community Relations and Corporate Responsibility, and Zach Gillen, General Manager -- Sales & Service North America.

Corporate Responsibility Director Travis Meek was aware of oysters’ amazing ability to filter out pollutants when he visited a company-supported oyster reef project in Louisiana earlier this month.

Meek says until he saw it first-hand, however, he didn’t fully appreciate the other environmental benefits from The Nature Conservancy’s three-mile oyster reef restoration project underway along the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in Calcasieu Lake.

"I wasn’t as well informed about the benefits they provide with respect to controlling erosion along the coast,” said Meek, who oversees Cummins Water Works and visited the project along with six other Cummins leaders Nov. 3.

“Louisiana is losing shoreline at a rate of 75 square kilometers per year, which is faster than anywhere on earth,” he said. “While the reefs are only one of many needed solutions, they significantly slow the rate of erosion where they’ve been built.”

Leaders wade to see the restoration project up close
Cummins leaders wade into Calcasieu Lake to see the oyster reef restoration project up close. 

CREATING SUSTAINABLE WATER SUPPLIES

Cummins Water Works is the company initiative to address the global water crisis by partnering with leading water experts and investing and engaging in sustainable, large scale, high impact water projects. Earlier this year, Cummins Water Works announced a $3 million, multi-year grant to The Nature Conservancy to restore water resources in the Mississippi River Basin in the United States.

The Nature Conservancy’s effort is focused both on the upper and lower reaches of the basin. The Wabash River watershed, which includes Cummins’ headquarters in Columbus, Indiana, is the single largest contributor of excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous from fertilizer to the Mississippi River Basin.

These excess nutrients not only pollute drinking water systems in the Midwest, but also contribute to an extensive dead zone, roughly the size of Massachusetts, in the Gulf of Mexico along the Louisiana-Texas coastline. The pollutants choke marine life, jeopardize the region’s fisheries and hamper recreation and tourism. 

The project is working with farmers in the Midwest on the benefits of adopting more sustainable farming practices like cover crops during the winter and no-till farming to reduce the runoff of excess nutrients. A team of Cummins employees recently worked with The Nature Conservancy to reintroduce mussels in parts of the upper watershed to clean and filter water before it reaches the gulf.

NATURE’S FILTERING SYSTEM

Oyster reefs do much the same thing, serving as one of nature’s most efficient filtration systems, according to Seth Blitch, The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Director in Louisiana. Blitch led the Cummins’ team on their tour of the project.

He said a healthy, one-acre reef can filter approximately 24 million gallons of water each day. Oyster reefs can also serve as natural buffers against rising sea levels from climate change as well as storm events.

The reefs form living shorelines that protect the adjacent coastal wetlands by dampening wave energy that would otherwise cause erosion. They also provide a critical habitat for marine life, contributing to the economic success of fisheries in the gulf.

The Nature Conservancy has so far restored over seven miles of oyster reefs, establishing an impressive coalition behind the work, which started in 2010. Supporters include the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, adjacent landowners and private donors and corporations contributing money to the effort.

Phase III of the project, which extends the reef for about a mile, was constructed in July and August. Blitch said The Nature Conservancy was able to significantly expand the scope of its original plan with Cummins’ support.

LEADERS LEAVE IMPRESSED

Cummins’ leaders making the trip included Vice Chairman Tony Satterthwaite and Mary Chandler, Vice President – Community Relations and Corporate Responsibility. After a short boat ride, the leaders put on waders and made their way through knee-high water to observe the reefs up close.

Cummins leaders Zach Gillen and Brian Mormino learn about the environmental benefits possible by restoring oyster reefs.
Cummins leaders Zach Gillen (left) and Brian Mormino (right) learn about the environmental benefits possible from restoring oyster reefs.

The reefs are constructed using wire baskets called gabions filled with limestone placed close to the shoreline to ensure the bulk of any erosion from wave action doesn’t get far. The baskets are tall enough so the reef that forms can’t be buried by sediment.

Over time, oysters cluster on the baskets and fuse together, creating rock-like reefs that provide habitat for other marine life. The oysters in the project are protected by law and cannot be harvested.

“I was really surprised by how quickly new reefs can be implemented,” said Zach Gillen, General Manager – Cummins Sales and Service North America. “Large reef extensions can take place in less than a year and they are definitely making a difference.”

Brian Mormino, Cummins’ Executive Director – Technical & Environmental Systems, said the trip left him with a renewed appreciation for the knowledge and dedication of The Nature Conservancy, and the complexity of the challenge moving forward.

The effort has stakeholders extending some 800 miles from north to south in occupations ranging from farming to shipping and commercial fishing. The initiative is further complicated by  flooding to the north and hurricanes to the south. 

“It’s one thing to know about a challenge and another to see it,” Mormino said. “I think the trip strengthened our commitment to what we’re doing, and our desire to do more.”

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 emphasizes STEM in global celebrations of International Day of the Girl

President and CEO Jennifer Rumsey tours the Columbus Engine Plant with students from Brown County High School.

Cummins Inc. employees around the world commemorated the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl earlier this month with virtual and in-person events to highlight the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.

STEM education naturally integrates critical thinking and language skills that enrich a child’s education. Yet more can be done to make STEM accessible to more girls globally and provide diverse representation.

Each of Cummins’ key regions hosted activities the week of Oct. 10, many of which incorporated employees’ children or connected them with students in the community. One young girl in India who participated in a Cummins event said, “Today was another step in getting to know myself better and what I want for my future.”

Research indicates that girls with role models in STEM are 1.4 times more likely to pursue opportunities in these fields. All the Cummins events were designed to encourage more girls to pursue STEM careers. For example:

  • In Beijing, China, more than 2,000 Cummins employees participated in delivering STEM educational programs to young female students. Nathan Stoner, Vice President of the China Area Business Organization for Cummins, gave an opening speech. The local Community Involvement Team launched a virtual STEM course for primary school students located thousands of kilometers away.
  • In San Luis Potosi, Mexico, 110 Cummins employees held a STEM fair for 300 students from five nearby schools. Together with two nonprofits, they provided STEM experiments, Lego builds, robotics information, a research and development tour, virtual reality experiences and testimonials from female Cummins engineers.
  • At several sites in Brazil, more than 100 Cummins employees offered plant tours to almost 300 children and teenagers so they could see female workers playing important roles in technical areas. Women in the technical field talked about their careers and highlighted the importance of STEM education for women and girls. They also participated in STEM activities, such as programming and robotics.
  • In Zambia, more than 250 students from a local secondary school participated in a STEM engagement session with Cummins employees.  

In Cummins’ headquarters community of Columbus, Indiana (U.S.), President and CEO Jennifer Rumsey (photo above) joined several Cummins employees in meeting with 15 high school students from nearby Brown County. Together they visited the company’s Columbus Engine Plant, touring the battery assembly line and saw a Cummins electric test truck.

They also toured the Additive Manufacturing lab, which produces 3D-printed metal parts. The day helped expose the students to a wide range of STEM opportunities within Cummins – from manufacturing associates, research and development lab technicians, service engineering, technical administrative associates, trainers and more. 

The team talked about the challenging and interesting careers in these areas and that starting a STEM career doesn’t require a college degree, as apprenticeships and two-year degrees are common.

 “It was great to be able to spend the day with young girls interested in STEM and to show them what manufacturing entails here at Cummins,” said Hayley McMahan, Senior Manufacturing Engineer at Cummins.

 “One of the things I love most about my job is being able to share my experience with other women to empower and encourage them to get involved in manufacturing,” she added. “Events like these are what will help increase the female workforce in manufacturing!”
 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

CEO builds support for strategy to address climate and other challenges

President and CEO Jennifer Rumsey speaks at the 2022 IAA Transportation show on the environmental benefits in Cummins products.

Cummins Inc.’s new Chief Executive Officer urged employees to be advocates for the company’s environmental sustainability strategy, maintaining it is integral to the global power leader’s business strategy and future success.

Speaking at a recent virtual town hall meeting to some 2,000 Cummins employees, President and Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Rumsey said PLANET 2050, the company’s environmental sustainability strategy, is crucial to achieving Cummins’ mission of powering a more prosperous world. 

In addition to helping customers, investors, employees and other stakeholders achieve prosperity, a more prosperous world includes “our planet and protecting this planet for future generations,” Rumsey said.

“This sustainability plan takes a long-term lens and looks at what Cummins needs to do as a part of our mission, as a part of our responsibility, and how we grow our business at the same time,” the Cummins leader added.

STRATEGIES FOR A BETTER WORLD

PLANET 2050, established in 2019, has three focus areas: addressing climate change, using natural resources in the most sustainable way and ensuring communities are better because of Cummins’ presence. 

The strategy has nine goals timed to 2030, including goals to reduce water use and waste as well as science-based targets aligned to the Paris Climate Accords to limit global temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C. PLANET 2050 also includes the aspiration to power customer success exclusively with carbon neutral technologies by the year 2050. 

Destination Zero, developed in 2021, is the company’s approach to decarbonizing Cummins’ products and achieving that aspiration. It calls for advancing no-carbon technologies such as battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cells for customers who are ready, while reducing the carbon produced by Cummins’ core platforms such as internal combustion engines. 

The company, for example is bringing to market internal combustion engines fueled by hydrogen, as well as fuel agnostic engines offering the benefits of a common-base architecture that can be optimized for a particular low- or no-carbon fuel.

UMBRELLA COVERAGE

Rumsey, who was named CEO in July, described PLANET 2050 as the umbrella covering not only Destination Zero but a third initiative – Cummins Water Works, the company’s global strategic program to strengthen communities through sustainable water and addressing the global water crisis.

Launched in July 2021, the initiative partners with leading water experts to develop and invest in sustainable, large scale, high-impact water projects. Cummins Water Works aims to bring fresh water to 20 million people who would otherwise not have it. The effort already has projects underway in six countries – Brazil, Chile, India, Mexico, South Africa and the United States.

Cummins Water Works aligns particularly well with PLANET 2050 in two ways. First, the program helps offset the water the company uses at its facilities around the world, addressing the PLANET 2050 aspiration to have a net positive impact in every community where Cummins operates, and employees live and work, also by 2050.

In addition, Cummins Water Works tackles a common consequence of climate change – drought and water scarcity.

A HISTORY OF ENGAGEMENT

Fortunately, Cummins has a long history of working to protect and preserve the environment and strengthen communities. Rumsey noted the company’s emphasis on building stronger communities goes back to J. Irwin Miller, who played a leadership role at the company from the 1940s to his death in 2004, including more than two decades as Chairman.

Brian Mormino, Executive Director of Technical and Environmental Systems, joined Rumsey at the Sept. 28 event and noted while many companies are establishing their first greenhouse gas reduction goals, Cummins’ first goal dates back to 2006.

“Our commitment to the environment goes back many decades and just gets stronger,” Mormino said.

The challenging goals and aspirations in PLANET 2050, however, cannot be achieved without strong support and engagement from Cummins employees, Mormino and Rumsey said. They urged employees to join the PLANET 2050 Influencer Program, an effort to create employee advocates for PLANET 2050.

“All of us are part of shaping this,” Rumsey said of the company’s environmental strategy. “…Our success comes from all of you, your innovative ideas, your creativity, your problem solving. Your commitment to the work you are doing is ultimately what will make us successful.”
 

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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