“Sustainable Manufacturing is defined as the creation of manufactured products that use processes which minimize negative environmental impacts, conserve energy and natural resources, are safe for employees, communities, and consumers and are economically sound.”
– US Department of Commerce
Harbec is seriously committed to sustainable manufacturing. We regard eco-economic sustainability as absolutely critical to the future of our business, and we believe that our success in the pursuit of it will improve our competitive advantage by insuring our efficiency. For the past fifteen years we have been on a journey to identify, prioritize, implement, and validate eco-economic opportunities to minimize the environmental impact of our manufacturing operations while increasing the impact and value we provide our employees, customers, and community. Here is a brief timeline of our accomplishments:
During the past 15-years we have accomplished a great deal, however we always seek to do more. With an unwavering commitment to continuous improvement, we strive to achieve environmental excellence in all that we do. Many years ago Harbec became ISO 14001 certified as part of our journey and recognition that being accountable to, and managing our environmental impacts made business sense. We recently expanded our commitment to understanding, measuring, and managing our impact, particularly with regard to our energy use. Harbec is now ISO 50001/SEP (Platinum) certified, an achievement that we are very proud of and which can be read about in this case study by our certification partner, DEKRA.
While taking action on our energy and environmental footprint and impacts result in tangible eco-economic value to our business, Harbec could not have achieved our results without a strong policy to guide our efforts. Harbec’s energy and environmental policies include:
By enacting an environmental and energy policy coupled with a disciplined pursuit of continuous improvement, we’ve been able to set ambitious goals, such as being a Carbon Neutral manufacturing company. In 2013 we achieved that goal. We also reaffirmed our commitment to energy and environmental excellence by signing on as a U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Better Plants Challenge Partner with the goal of achieving a 25% reduction in energy intensity by 2020. But our efforts have not stopped there. To achieve our goals we know that we have to innovate and be responsive to the marketplace. We are working to integrate two significant technology trends, as noted by Forbes Magazine, into a leading edge opportunity to create high value carbon conscious components by leveraging nature inspired design with the incredible potential of 3D additive manufacturing. In fact we recently announced a partnership with NYSERDA to Demonstrate the Transformative Potential of Energy-Efficient 3D Printing.
Our business philosophy is based on being an environmentally responsible company which provides sustainable manufacturing solutions to our customers and a rewarding workplace for our employees. We seek to inspire and enrich the growth and development for each individual employee and the company as a whole. Our founder, Bob Bechtold, leads by example and shows others how the value of Eco-Economics can be a long-term business solution. To that end, our external focus to environmental awareness and education is another example of our commitment to sustainability. Examples include:
- We actively participate in conferences and events where its knowledge of Carbon Neutral and Sustainable Manufacturing can be shared among peers. For example, Harbec will be a featured speaker at the Sustainable Manufacturing Conference in May 2014.
- We regularly provides tours of its facility for K-12 students, college and university students and researchers, other manufacturers, government officials, entrepreneurs, and others. Tours include detailed orientation and description (as well as hands on visualization) of Harbec’s energy improvements, innovations, facilities and infrastructure.
- We provide contributions to trade associations, trade journals and magazines, and other high visibility and niche publications which extends the transfer of technology and sharing of knowledge on sustainable manufacturing and potential for manufacturers to achieve carbon neutrality.
- In the past month Harbec participated in the Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC) “Mission Green”. The RMSC event was an all age’s family fun event which provided practical hands-on exhibits and information to help make the world more green and safe. Harbec participated alongside one of our customers, KidWind, a designer and maker of renewable energy education curriculum, workshops, and hands-on experimentation tools and kits.
We believe that taking care of the environment is everyone’s responsibility. With the right balance of policy, management systems, technology, and commitment, business can be a force for social, economic, and environmental good. Thank you to all of the employees, customers, and partners that have and continue to believe in Harbec’s endless pursuit of eco-economic excellence. Happy Earth Day!