The Department of Environment and Natural Resources today recognized John Deere Turf Care in Fuquay-Varina, N.C. as a 2011 Environmental Steward.
The state’s Environmental Stewardship Initiative, designed to promote and encourage superior environmental performance by North Carolina’s regulated community, began in 2002. An “Environmental Steward” is an organization that has demonstrated environmental leadership through its commitment to exemplary environmental performance beyond what is required by regulation. As an Environmental Steward, the organization commits to reporting annually on its environmental performance.
The award recognizes John Deere Turf Care’s superior environmental performance, commitment to continued reduction of its environmental impact and demonstrated commitment to exceed compliance. The facility is one of only 16 facilities in the state that have achieved this recognition.
“John Deere Turf Care shows an obvious commitment to efficiency, waste reduction and innovation,” said DENR Secretary Dee Freeman. “For example, the company requires all its suppliers to use only reusable containers instead of cardboard, and sends out its final products with either no packaging or on returnable metal racks so as to avoid waste.”
A 10-member advisory board appointed by Secretary Freeman provides program direction and implementation and recommended the John Deere Turf Care facility be selected as an Environmental Steward. Advisory board membership consists of individuals from industry, industry trade groups, environmental and citizen nongovernmental organizations, government, academia and small business.
Reasons cited by the advisory board in its recognition of the facility include:
Integration of environmental management into core business operations through lean practices, driving environmental awareness through efficiency improvement programs;
Its compliance history and commitment to continual improvement, including packaging reductions for both incoming parts from suppliers and outgoing finished products;
Its commitment to continue solid waste reduction after already reducing it per ton of product by more than 90 percent;
Its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy usage; and
Its water reduction efforts, particularly during its recent expansion.
“John Deere is committed to those linked to the land,” said Marc Howze, factory manager for John Deere Turf Care. “Our commitment extends to the things important to both our customers and to us: environmental sustainability, safety, personal and professional development and community. These words are reflected in the work that we perform every day.
“The role of our programs goes well beyond legislated functions. We believe that we have the responsibility to design and manufacture equipment that brings more efficiency and value to our customers while minimizing our impact on the environment. Our operations demonstrate this through waste minimization, cleaner emissions and more efficient water use.”
The ESI program has two additional levels of participation and recognition: Environmental Partner and Rising Environmental Steward. The Environmental Partner level is designed for adoption by a broad range of organizations that are interested in beginning the process of developing a systematic approach to improving their environmental performance. Partners must demonstrate a commitment to maintain compliance, commit to establishing an environmental management system and set environmental performance goals. The Environmental Rising Steward level is recommended to organizations that have a mature EMS in place and have set site-specific measurable environmental performance goals.