GM’s Toledo Transmission Receives Ohio EPA’s Top Environmental Stewardship Award

Employee and community collaboration help drive environmental excellence
Nov 1, 2018 1:20 PM ET
Blog

General Motors' Toledo Transmission plant was recently recognized for excellence in environmental stewardship by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This year, the plant was awarded the Platinum Level – the highest-level award from Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence Program (E3) – making General Motors one of five organizations to receive this recognition this year. The E3 Platinum Level recognizes organizations with comprehensive environmental stewardship programs that go above and beyond environmental excellence in their own facility to improve social well-being of the local community and region.

“The GM-UAW Local 14 team is driving real progress toward our goal of reaching a zero emissions future,” said Joyce Arakelian, senior environmental engineer, General Motors Toledo Transmission. “We will continue to engage our communities and share best practices to help make a difference beyond our facilities.”

Below are some key ways companies like General Motors approach environmental stewardship and excellence within and beyond their facilities:

  • Invest Efforts in Building a Green Infrastructure. Start with your operations and identify opportunities to drive efficiencies in your manufacturing process – this can be anything from installing solar arrays to investing in alternative sources of energy.  At the Toledo facility, we currently have 1.8-megawatt rooftop solar arrays, which consist of approximately 21,000 panels that power nearly three percent of the facility’s electrical needs.  By the end of 2018, 100 percent of the site’s electricity use will be supplied by renewable energy sources.

  • Engage Your Employees.  Employees are increasingly focused on what their company is doing to preserve and protect the environment. Involve employees in the development and implementation of the company’s environmental efforts within the local communities by giving them the tools and opportunities to make an impact – this can go beyond traditional educational resources, such as labelling bins for proper recycling and composting to offering training, mentoring and coaching opportunities. You can also incentivize employees to take active roles in driving positive change by soliciting and implementing ideas to improve operations, as well as recognizing them for their efforts in formal and informal ways. At Toledo, we annually recognize every employee with a gift for their contribution to good environmental stewardship achieved at the site on Earth Day. Employees have received a growing kit and a packet of native flower seeds targeted to support pollinators. 

  • Partner with Your Community and Region. Find ways to partner with communities to scale behavior change. Identify like-minded partners in your local communities that can help you achieve your desired impact. For example, the Toledo facility hosts events where employees lead workshops on local water quality testing and watershed education sessions with local elementary schools.

  • Foster Industry Collaboration. Make an impact in your own backyard by identifying partners to scale impact and share best practices. In Toledo, we are active in the Green Ribbon Initiative, a regional partnership of conservation groups working together to protect the natural beauty and biological diversity of the Oak Openings region. Through this regional partnership,  the facility entered into an Adopt-A-Natural Area Program agreement with The Nature Conservancy’s Kitty Todd Nature Preserve in 2017, pledging to lead the stewardship activity on approximately 15 acres at Kitty Todd Nature Preserve.

    To learn more about the EPA Ohio recognition, click here. To learn more about General Motors’ sustainability efforts, click here.