Cummins uses Environmental Month to educate and empower employees on climate strategy

Employees work on a riverbank restoration project.

Cummins Inc. this week wrapped up its 9th annual June Environmental Month, a four-week series of seminars, presentations and more to help employees learn about the company’s commitment to a healthy planet, and the important role they play in implementing it.

Discussion topics ranged from climate change to environmental justice as well as the state of PLANET 2050, the company’s environmental sustainability strategy, and Destination Zero, Cummins’ newest initiative to guide its decarbonization journey.

“It is very exciting to see how Cummins has embraced our PLANET 2050 goals and announced important efforts so we can do our part to preserve clean air, available water and a sustainable planet for future generations to enjoy,” said Vice President Jim Fier, the company’s Chief Technical Officer, in a note to employees introducing this month’s activities.

Cummins is committed to taking a leadership role on the world’s climate challenges, working with other stakeholders to take action. The company is reducing the carbon produced by its core products, including internal combustion engines, while bringing to market the new technologies that will power the future, including battery-electric platforms and hydrogen fuel cells.

Board member addresses employees

This year’s kick-off event was a presentation by Cummins Board Member Dr. Franklin Chang Diaz, a former NASA astronaut and founder, Chairman and CEO of the Ad Astra Rocket Company. Ad Astra is a leading spaceflight technology company dedicated to the development of advanced plasma rocket propulsion.

The former astronaut and Ad Astra have been pioneers in exploring the potential of green hydrogen as a no-carbon fuel to address the world’s climate issues.

Chang Diaz shared his perspectives on various technologies and the best course of action to address the environmental challenges the world faces. About 1,300 employees watched the live event or a video recorded of it.

Other presentations included a discussion on “How do we heal the planet?” featuring Dr. Sailesh Rao, founder and Executive Director of Climate Healers, a non-profit dedicated to healing the Earth’s climate.

Dr. Rao worked on internet communications infrastructure for 20 years after obtaining his doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University before dedicating his life’s work to environmental concerns.

How strategies align

Environmental Month also served as an excellent opportunity to discuss how Destination Zero aligns to PLANET 2050 and the company’s business strategy. Cummins’ PLANET 2050 strategy includes nine environmental goals timed to 2030, building on the success of the company’s environmental goals announced in 2014 and timed to 2020.

In addition to the new goals, PLANET 2050 includes the aspiration to power customer success with net-zero emissions technology by 2050. Destination Zero is the company’s strategy to achieve that aspiration in a way that serves all of the company’s stakeholders. Company leaders believe the global drive to reduce carbon is a growth opportunity for Cummins.

Even employees who do not have a role directly tied to the company’s products can be part of the PLANET 2050 initiative by volunteering on a community-based environmental project or joining Cummins' PLANET 2050 Influencer program, designed to raise awareness about the company’s environmental efforts. More than 250 employees have volunteered for the influencer program, so far.

Brian Mormino, Cummins’ Executive Director of Technical Environmental Systems, told employees attending his Environmental Month presentation that PLANET 2050 aligns seamlessly with Destination Zero, which connects with the company’s business strategy.

“Together, they provide a path to making a positive impact on the environmental challenges we face that aligns with Cummins’ mission to make people’s lives better by powering a more prosperous world,” Mormino said. “We can’t have a prosperous world without clean air, water and land, and every employee has a role to play.”

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]

 

Indiana's Abortion Law

Cummins Distribution Headquarters - Indianapolis, Indiana

Today, our company has received a number of media inquiries about Cummins’ position on Indiana’s abortion law. We want to be clear that we have been communicating our position on this issue to our employees and directly with legislative leaders prior to, and during, the legislative process. Below is the full statement we shared with our employees on Saturday, August 6.

"Late last night, the Indiana General Assembly passed a comprehensive abortion bill that the Governor has signed into law. We are deeply concerned about how this law impacts our people and impedes our ability to attract and retain a diverse workforce in Indiana – concerns that we have voiced to legislators. Cummins believes that women should have the right to make reproductive healthcare decisions as a matter of gender equity, ensuring that women have the same opportunity as others to participate fully in the workforce and that our workforce is diverse. This law is contrary to this goal and we oppose it.

For Cummins to be successful it is critical that we have a safe and welcoming workplace, and communities where we embrace our differences and enable all employees to thrive. As we continue to grow our footprint with a focus on selecting communities that align with our values and business goals, this law will be considered in our decision-making process.

We have also been clear and consistent in advocating that we will continue to provide our employees with access to high-quality, affordable healthcare, regardless of where they live and are able to make healthcare decisions based on what they believe is right for them.

This law does not affect our right to offer reproductive health benefits and we will continue to offer such benefits to our employees."
 

Jon Mills

Jon Mills

Jon Mills is the Director of External Communications at Cummins Inc. Jon brings more than 16 years of communications focusing primarily on public and media relations. Jon has served as the primary external communications contact and spokesperson for a variety of companies including Wellpoint, IU Health, Planned Parenthood. His career has also included stints on Capitol Hill, state level lobbying, talk radio and political campaigns. During his tenure, Jon has also played a leadership role in communicating and messaging around several crises, including one that attracted national attention when lives were lost at a large downtown Indianapolis hospital. Jon is a native Hoosier and resides with his family in Indianapolis.

Cummins reports key progress toward 2030 environmental goals

Solar array at the Cummins Engine Plant at Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Cummins Inc. in 2021 made significant progress toward the company’s 2030 environmental goals, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from both its products and facilities, while cutting water use and waste production.

The global power technology leader also made progress in 2021 on its goal for reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from paint and coating operations and completed foundational work toward its lifecycle planning goal to create a plan for every part to use less, use better and use again.

These findings are included in the company’s recently posted 2021 Sustainability Progress Report. The report includes the first update on the 2030 goals in PLANET 2050, Cummins’ environmental sustainability strategy. 

As part of PLANET 2050, the company established nine goals, ranging from reducing absolute GHG emissions from facilities and operations by 50% compared to a 2018 baseline, to producing net water benefits that exceed Cummins’ annual water use in all company regions around the world.

PLANET 2050 also includes the aspiration to power customer success exclusively using carbon neutral technologies that address air quality, near zero pollution in facilities and operations, and designing out waste in products and processes – all by 2050. 

Solar array at the Cummins Engine Plant in Rocky Mount , NC
The solar array at the engine plant in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, will increase the company's use of low carbon power.

GHG REDUCTIONS OFF TO GOOD START

Cummins has vowed to take a leadership role on climate action and the company is off to a good start on reducing GHGs. In 2021, Cummins cut GHG emissions from plants and facilities by 31% compared to a 2018 baseline.

Completion of solar projects in India played a key role as did the company’s continued support for an expansion of a northern Indiana (U.S.) windfarm that sends enough renewable power to the grid to roughly offset all of the power Cummins uses statewide from traditional power sources. 

The second year of the pandemic also may have played a role but not to the extent that it did in 2020 when most facilities at some point closed for a period of time to help guard against the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Cummins continued working with customers to reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions from its products in the field and ended 2021 on pace to reach its 2030 goal of cutting those emissions by 55 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) compared to a baseline year of 2014.

The company reached a cumulative emission reduction of 26.8 million metric tons of CO2 by the end of 2021 by various means, such as working with customers on engine settings to improve fuel economy.

Finally, the company achieved some important initial steps toward the complex 2030 goal of reducing Scope 3 absolute lifetime GHG emissions from newly sold products by 25%. Calculating lifetime emissions requires a number of assumptions and projections.

It is perhaps no surprise that those calculations showed emissions were essentially flat between 2021 and the baseline year of 2018, given it will take a few years before planned changes in product design and fuels yield significant results. Cummins in 2021 developed Destination Zero, the company's strategy to achieve product decarbonization.

PROGRESS ON VOCs, WATER AND WASTE

Cummins is also off to a good start in achieving its goals to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from paint and coating operations and reduce both the company’s water use as well as its waste generation.

On VOCs, Cummins’ 2030 goal is to reduce emissions by 50% compared to 2018. In pandemic-altered 2020, the company recorded a 51% reduction compared to its baseline year. Despite operations returning much closer to normal levels in 2021, the reduction in VOC emissions did not change all that much, ending the year at a 45% reduction compared to 2018.

Meanwhile, Cummins recorded a 12.7% reduction in water use in facilities and operations compared to 2018 as it strives for its 2030 goal of a 30% reduction in absolute water consumption from its baseline year. There is still a long way to go, but the company made significant progress.

On waste generation, Cummins’ 2030 goal is to generate 25% less waste in facilities and operations as a percent of revenue compared to a 2018 baseline. In 2021, the company achieved a 4.1% reduction in waste as a percentage of revenue, up from 2.6% in 2020. That also represents a decent first step but, as with water, much work remains to be done. 

BUILDING STRONG FOUNDATIONS

On two other goals, Cummins achieved critical steps that will pay off closer to 2030. To create a circular lifecycle plan for every part, Cummins in 2021 recorded two important steps – the creation of a Circular Lifecycle Design Standard and an Optimization Center with the tools that will be needed to meet that standard.

Cummins India employees work on a water project
Cummins employees work on a project in India to help a community develop a more sustainable water supply.

Design standards serve as a roadmap of sorts for engineers as they put together parts designs. The Circular Lifecycle Design Standard includes steps like review by Cummins’ Materials Science function to ensure a part uses the most appropriate materials and processing.

The Optimization Center includes tools like high-powered software so engineers can determine where strength and durability are important in a design and where a part can use a little less material without compromising performance. 

Cummins also has a 2030 goal to produce net water benefits that exceed company annual water consumption in all regions Cummins serves. In 2021, the company established Cummins Water Works to address the global water crisis.

The program, which partners with leading water experts around the world to invest and engage in high-impact water projects, is initially focusing on four of the most water-stressed countries: Brazil, India, Mexico and the United States.

Finally, Cummins has established the 2030 goal of reusing or responsibly recycling 100% of packaging plastics and eliminating single-use plastics at dining facilities and employee events. Work on this goal is still in the planning phase with details expected to be released in the company’s 2022 Sustainability Progress Report.

The company’s 2030 goals pick up where Cummins’ 2020 environmental goals left off. While 2030 might seem like a long time away, the Cummins environmental team knows from experience the end of the decade is fast approaching.
 

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]

 

New sustainability report has much to say – on almost everything

Crews work on the solar array at the Cummins Engine Plant in Rocky Mount, N.C.

Cummins Inc.’s 19th annual Sustainability Progress Report reflects the full gamut of ESG today, and how much sustainability reporting has changed in 20 years.

The company’s new report has much to say on reducing carbon, addressing racial and gender equity, and responding to a variety of other challenges, ranging from cybersecurity threats to the demands on supply chains in a pandemic.

By comparison, Cummins’ first report in 2003 mentioned “economic climate” four times and “climate change” just once. “Race” and “gender” were specifically singled out only in a quote from longtime company leader J. Irwin Miller some two decades earlier. “Supply chain” received a single mention and “cybersecurity” was not discussed at all.

Today, investors, interest groups, prospective employees and others want to see more information from companies than ever before. Cummins’ 2021 Sustainability Progress Report is up to the challenge.

The company’s new report includes Cummins’ first update on progress toward the 2030 goals in PLANET 2050, the company’s environmental sustainability strategy. The report has updates on Cummins Powers Women and CARE: Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity.

A special section explores the innovative steps Cummins’ Supply Chain organization has been taking to overcome industry-wide challenges with transportation and parts availability.

And there is much, much more. Here are just a few highlights:

Crews install a solar array at the Cummins Engine Plant in Rocky Mount, N.C.
Crews install a solar array at the Cummins Engine Plant in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to help increase the company's use of renewable power.

ENVIRONMENT FOCUSED

Cummins saw some good initial progress in 2021 on its goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from facilities and operations by 50%; its goal to partner with customers to reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions from products in use by 55 million metric tons; and its goal to cut emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from paint and coating operations by 50%.

The company is also off to a good start on its goal to reduce absolute water consumption in facilities and operations by 30%, and, with the establishment of Cummins Water Works, the company’s goal to produce net water benefits that exceed Cummins’ annual water use in all company regions.

In addition, Cummins achieved two foundational steps toward its goal of creating circular lifecycle plans for every part and made some headway on the company’s goal to generate 25% less waste in facilities and operations as a percent of revenue.

Cummins also now has a framework for reporting on its goal to reduce Scope 3 absolute lifetime GHG emissions from newly sold products by 25%, which include all of the indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain. Measuring goal performance requires a lot of assumptions and carbon modeling to calculate.

Finally, the pandemic really disrupted a lot of Cummins’ work on reusing or responsibly recycling 100% of packaging plastics and eliminating single-use plastics in company facilities. But it is relatively early in the goal cycle.

Cummins India employees work on a community engagement project
Cummins India employees work on a water-related community engagement project

SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS

2021 was a good year for the company’s social initiatives, as well. Participation in Cummins’ Every Employee Every Community program, which pre-pandemic was regularly around 80%, rebounded from 35% in 2020, when COVID-19 deeply impacted volunteerism, to 56% in 2021. The company also achieved a new record in giving, $35.7 million, a more than 60% increase from 2020.

Cummins also launched Cummins Water Works to address the world’s water crisis, adding to its other strategic community initiatives: Cummins Powers Women; Cummins TEC: Technical Education for Communities; and, in the U.S., Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity.

Women in the Cummins’ workforce increased in 2021 and gender diversity increased on the company’s top executive committees. Cummins reported the racial/ethnic diversity of its U.S. workforce for a second year and posted its first Human Capital Management report. Cummins’ work with diverse suppliers also increased. The company’s initiative to make COVID-19 vaccines available helped to deliver about 45,000 shots around the world.

GOVERNANCE/ECONOMIC

The company’s governance and economic initiatives also experienced impressive results in 2021, again despite the continued impact of the pandemic. Highlights ranged from the scenario-based training developed by the Ethics and Compliance function for 2,000 supervisors to help them create and maintain an ethical culture, to the thousands of emails regularly sent out by Cummins Global Cybersecurity to test whether employees could detect phishing.

The company’s Government Relations function not only supported Cummins’ efforts to encourage tough, clear and enforceable regulations but also company initiatives behind voting rights, racial equity, climate action and Cummins’ pandemic response.

On economic matters, the company received a record number of global patents in 2021 and invested a record amount in research, development and engineering expenses as Cummins’ commitment to decarbonization drove key innovation efforts.

Meanwhile, Cummins’ Supply Chain organization addressed parts shortages and transportation challenges through creative steps such as arranging for special transportation for some critical parts to avoid ports experiencing delays. At the same time, the organization modernized plants using augmented reality and adding collaborative robots to improve safety and efficiency.

Each of these highlighted areas represent a small part of the 2021 Sustainability Progress Report. To find the full report, go to the company’s ESG website section or the Sustainability Document Archive. At Cummins, the company knows delivering ESG excellence is the natural extension of Cummins’ mission of making people’s lives better by 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]

 

Art canoe installed at Cummins' Indianapolis office promotes awareness about limited Indiana water resources

painted art canoe installation outside of Cummins office

Last week, a canoe was installed along the Cultural Trail at Cummins Indianapolis Distribution Headquarters (DBUHQ) in Indianapolis, Ind. This decorative canoe is one of several across Indianapolis. 

This was the latest development in Cummins’ involvement with the White River Alliance’s efforts to place art installations around the Upper White River Watershed to promote awareness and conversations about the important and limited water resources of Central Indiana. The unveiling of the canoes also supports the White River Alliance’s release of “The Collective Tap”, a podcast about water and the many ways we interact with this critical resource every day.

The canoe installed at Cummins DBUHQ was painted by Walt Thacker. The theme for the painting is “Water Use in Jobs and Manufacturing”.

The plaque description reads: “Water is a vital part of countless manufacturing processes, including the production of heavy industrial machinery, the building of roads, and the development of pharmaceutical products. All of these industries play a major role in Indiana’s economy and have a big impact on our water supply.”

Organizing and leading community action projects throughout the Upper White River, the White River Alliance has assembled teams of stakeholders from all industries/backgrounds to collaborate on the best way to protect the water (including the land around the water) and spread awareness of critical water issues. They are an active partner with both Cummins and The Nature Conservancy in support of the recent $3M Mississippi River Basin Grant announced earlier this year.

painted art canoe installation outside of Cummins office

Stop by the DBUHQ to view this exhibit, and find the other canoes in the following locations: Muncie, Anderson, Noblesville, Carmel, Broad Ripple, Speedway, Downtown Indianapolis and Martinsville.

Click here to learn more about Cummins’ efforts to promote water sustainability through Cummins Water Works. 

Scott Saum

Scott Saum is the program manager with Corporate Responsibility for Cummins Water Works. He has been with Cummins for 10 years, and holds a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dayton, and a Masters in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas. 

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