Employees of Cummins Inc. brought power to a rural village in India, cleared a stream of silt and sediment in the United Kingdom and increased recycling by 50 percent in a low-income Minneapolis neighborhood, all as part of a companywide effort to commemorate the company’s 90th anniversary in 2009.
In all, employees responded to Cummins’ 90th Anniversary Challenge by working on 62 projects around the world resulting in the reduction of 538 tons of greenhouse gases, or the equivalent of conserving 54,000 gallons of gasoline. Of those, the top 13 were selected to receive $10,000 grants from the Cummins Foundation for use by the non-profit, non-governmental community partner of their choice.
The Environmental Challenge was created to celebrate Cummins’ 90th anniversary in a way that demonstrates the company’s long-standing commitment to the communities where its operations are located. It also shows how Cummins employees live out one of its mission statements: “Demanding that everything we do leads to a cleaner, healthier, safer environment.”
Since the challenge was issued in March 2009, more than 3,200 Cummins employees from 11 countries worked an estimated 33,450 hours on 62 green initiatives, ranging from simple recycling efforts to complex carbon footprint reduction initiatives.
“The response by our Community Involvement Teams was tremendous,” said Jean Blackwell, executive vice president of corporate responsibility and CEO of the Cummins Foundation. “Once again, I’m proud and humbled by the talent of our employees and the concern they continually demonstrate for the communities where they live and work.”
As part of the Challenge, the projects were reviewed under a two-step process evaluating the environmental benefit of each initiative, the level of employee engagement and the sustainability of each project. Of the winning projects, the top five were selected for the President’s Award for Environmental Excellence:
• Rural electrification project – Village of Kohla, India: A Cummins team developed a way to power a rural village of 65 households by using Cummins gensets running on a locally available renewable energy source – vegetable oil produced from Pongamia trees.
• Solving water scarcity problems – Wagholi School of Wagholi, India: The project team developed a sustainable solution to providing drinking/potable water at a school for underprivileged children in Wagholi, near Pune. The project uses rain water and ground water harvesting technologies to increase the level of the village water table.
• Inspire Orchard Project – Kent, U.K.: This project turned a 300-year-old former orchard into a teaching garden for 120 disabled students. The rejuvenated orchard will offer employment opportunities for former students.
• River Chater Bio-Diversity and Habitat Improvement – Stamford, U.K.: The River Chater is a small stream suffering from high loads of sediment caused by intensive agricultural practices. The project team created a more diverse flow for the river to help remove fine silts using recycled materials from the Cummins facility in Stamford and natural materials at the site.
• Removing barriers to recycling at Parkview Villa – Fridley, Minn.: Cummins employees partnered with an affordable housing community to increase recycling efforts at this housing site for seniors and people with disabilities in metropolitan Minneapolis, Minn. The project has improved recycling participation by 50 percent.
The other eight projects are:
• A project urging people to replace their cars with bicycles and increase recycling in Xiang Fan, China.
•An initiative to increase public energy savings and reduce emissions in Xi’an, China.
•A tree planting and beautification effort in a wooded area of Wuxi, China.
• The cleanup of a community site in preparation for the World Expo in 2010 in Shanghai, China.
• A water harvesting project at the Village of Chaufula, India.
• A tree planting campaign in Juarez, Mexico.
• A project to clean up garbage and construction waste from a site in Craiova, Romania.
• Raising $4,000 from recycling efforts and then using the funds to support a home for the elderly in Singapore.
Based on the success of the 90th Anniversary Challenge, the Cummins Foundation this month approved a plan for a similar program for the next four years at all Cummins facilities as part of the Foundation’s recent addition of the environment to its focus areas.
Headquartered in Columbus, Ind., Cummins Inc. is a corporation of complementary business units that design, manufacture, distribute and service engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions and electrical power generation systems.