By Mariam Georgaroudakis
Where is leadership on sustainability coming from within your company? EHS? Supply Chain? Operations? Your executive team? A little of each? Making progress on sustainability goals certainly takes significant coordination between several departments of a corporation or business unit that might not be used to linking their initiatives.
I’ve found that supply chain and EHS departments are the workhorses of successful sustainability programs – and active partnership between the two is absolutely critical. As a Commodity Manager for Facilities Services at Raytheon Company, I recognize that an agreement is of no value if it is not servicing the user – whether EHS, facilities, operations, etc. And because I manage the full lifecycle of supplier relationships, the EHS department knows how to leverage that connection to implement changes. I get involved with sustainability initiatives right at the start – both to understand the environmental health and safety needs, supply chain drivers, and business needs as well as to engage with suppliers to decide what should be done, how it will be measured and tracked, and the cost implications.
One of the ways that the EHS department and supply chain has been able to coordinate our efforts is through our chemical management services (CMS) program. Our CMS program is implemented by a Tier 1 supplier, who provides integrated procurement, materials, and data management for nearly all of our facilities – a win-win on both of our books. When Raytheon began looking at establishing its GHG inventory a few years ago, we turned to our CMS provider to help us identify the GHG emissions from our chemical use. We wanted the ability to quickly identify the big GHG hitters and evaluate future “what if” scenarios. The powerful combination of EHS and procurement data allowed us to identify key issues by chemical, work area, product line and business area. With this critical information, we can now isolate materials/products of concern, understand the scope of the issue, and begin to assess alternatives and institute controls.
The lesson here – improving communication – isn’t rocket science, but it will help us gain headway in achieving our sustainability goals.
For an extended case study on Raytheon’s CMS program, visit: http://chemicalstrategies.org/resources_casestudies.htm