To celebrate Earth Week, we asked members of our exclusive CNBC-YPO (Young Presidents' Organization) Chief Executive Network to tell us how their companies go green and what economic benefit they see from these initiatives.
Since YPO-member companies are on the frontlines of the world economy, the executives who run them have unique perspective and insight into the global marketplace.
Manufacturing is resource intensive, but we strive to run lean enterprises by eliminating waste and maximizing efficiency. It wasn't an ROI-only decision that spurred us to invest in a solar PV electric power system when we renovated one of our plants in 2008. Last year was a banner year; the 48,000 kwhs generated from that solar system totaled 45 percent of the power needed for that building. We enjoy telling our customers that their parts are manufactured with green energy, but the main reason why we invested in solar was to reduce our own energy footprint.
Scott Livingston is the president of Horst Engineering, an East Hartford, Conn.-based contract manufacturer of precision machined components for aerospace and other high technology industries.
SGB is an energy crop company that has developed a new, low-cost and sustainable source for renewable fuels and biochemicals. Through traditional breeding and innovative new genomics technologies, SGB has developed and commercialized the first new crop in more than 100 years. The crop, jatrpoha, produces nonedible plant oil and biomass at a cost that is competitive with petroleum in multiple markets around the world and provides a greenhouse gas emissions reduction of greater than 60 percent. SGB's projects are not only sustainable, they provide an investor internal rate of return of greater than 20 percent.
Kirk Haney is president and CEO of SGB, a San Diego-based energy crop company developing and delivering high performance bioenergy solutions for the renewable fuel, biomass and chemical markets.
Serving Up Savings
At Ridgewells, green initiatives start at the top. CEO Susan Lacz oversees a company that has been so successful in its recycling efforts that Montgomery County, Md., has developed a pilot program for the firm to mentor small businesses. Other green steps include sourcing produce from environmentally responsible local farmers, ensuring that production equipment is recyclable or reusable and having all kitchen production waste separated for composting. In 2012, this resulted in the composting of 133,580 pounds of trash and the recycling of 266,035 pounds of bottles and cans. The company's trash level has been reduced by 23.78 percent while its recycling and composting has increased by 76.22 percent.
Susan Lacz is CEO of Ridgewells Catering, a Bethesda, Md.-based provider of food services for wedding, corporate, social and major sporting events.
Going Green by Dumping the Dishes
Freshii is unique in that they use no dishwashers, hoods, ranges or ovens, reducing the footprint left by their restaurants. To eliminate the need for dishwashers, they have opted for 100 percent biodegradable food-safe mixing bags to create their salads and custom rice/noodle bowls, which in total—including the production and transportation of the bags to Freshii restaurants—use less than five times the electricity of even the most energy efficient dishwashers. They also save an average of $10,000 per store buildout on dishwasher installation costs, and bring in savings of water and chemical waste of $5,000/year per store.
Dan Rowe is CEO of Fransmart, an Alexandria, Va.-based restaurant franchisor whose brands include Freshii, Wolfgang Puck Express and Big Smoke Burger.
The Sunny Delight Beverages Co. has focused on sustainability since 2007 using Lean Manufacturing techniques under a program called Lean to Green. Lean Manufacturing (sometimes referred to as the Toyota Production Method) focuses on the elimination of waste ("muda" in Japanese), which is a perfect way to execute a sustainability program. Since 2007, we have reduced packaging material usage by 24 million pounds, cut water usage by 3 percent, and reduced energy usage by an average of 17 percent. We also send zero waste to landfill— redirecting 93 percent to recycling. The savings from the recycling alone exceeds $100,000 annually.
Billy Cyr is the CEO of the Sunny Delight Beverages, a Cincinnati-based manufacturer and marketer of juices, juice drinks and flavored waters under the Sunny Delight, Fruit2O, Veryfine, FruitSimple, Bossa Nova, Elations and Crystal Light brands.
Fueling Up Savings
Last year, Schupan & Sons through its affiliate UBCR went from 16 diesel semi-tractors to compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. Our fleet of 16 trucks drives approximately 2.1 million miles per year and picks up over 2 billion used beverage containers in Michigan. Each diesel truck that was replaced by a CNG truck accounts for the equivalent of removing carbon emissions from 360 automobiles per day. If you lined up all those automobiles bumper to bumper, it would total 26 miles of vehicles. We also installed two stations to fill these CNG trucks. Someday, we look to converting a much greater percentage of our fleet.
Marc Schupan is the CEO of Schupan & Sons, a Kalamazoo, Mich.-based recycler of aluminum, plastic and scrap metal.
Sustainability in the Asphalt Jungle
Green Asphalt LLC is an environmentally friendly, 100 percent reclaimed hot mix asphalt company. We have successfully developed a method that allows us to process existing asphalt into a final hot mix pavement. Green Asphalt affords its customers the ability to dispose of existing asphalt and purchase hot mix asphalt at a savings of 20 percent compared to conventional asphalt mix. In addition, the product is environmentally friendly and sustainable, eliminating the need to purchase virgin materials and send existing roads to landfills.
Michael Capasso is president of Green Asphalt, a New York-based paving company.
From its inception, VeeV has made a commitment to being environmentally and socially responsible. While we can't make changes on every level, we strive to be the greenest in our industry and encourage others to follow suit. Some of our key initiatives include: donating 1 percent of all top line sales to rain forest preservation, producing VeeV at a distillery powered by renewable wind energy and offsetting our carbon footprint. VeeV also fosters the eco-community by partnering with nonprofits, socially minded businesses and as a proud member of 1 percent for the planet and B Corps.
Courtney and Carter Reum are the founders and co-owners of Los Angeles-based VeeV Spirits.