Green Suppliers Network
More on Working
to Prevent Pollution
The Green Suppliers Network is an OPPT program helping companies that comprise the supply chain of large manufacturers to save money while reducing pollution and preserving resources. By providing technical assistance in lean manufacturing and pollution prevention techniques, the Green Suppliers Network improves suppliers' productivity, efficiency, and environmental performance.
The Green Suppliers Network is a collaborative venture among industry, EPA, and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). The Green Suppliers Network works with all levels of the manufacturing supply chain to improve processes and minimize waste generation. Through onsite technical reviews, suppliers continuously learn ways to increase energy efficiency, identify cost-saving opportunities, and optimize resources and technologies to eliminate waste. The result has been more effective processes and products with higher profits and fewer environmental impacts.
The program worked with the Lean and Environment Initiative in EPA's Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation to create a toolkit for companies that helps them reduce costs while reducing waste and resource use.
The Green Suppliers Network is available to any manufacturing sector. Currently, the aerospace, automotive, healthcare/pharmaceutical, office furniture and utility industries are leading the way and benefiting from the Green Suppliers Network.
- Identified more than $9 million in potential, annual cost-saving opportunities, including $4 million from potential reduced environmental impacts, during 26 technical reviews conducted by Green Suppliers Network from January 2007 through June 2008. Also identified were opportunities to:
- Conserve 30.1 million kWh of energy (102K MM Btu) and more than 24.9 million gallons of water
- Reduce more than 2.4 million pounds of solid waste, more than 111,000 pounds of hazardous waste, and the use of over 177,000 pounds of toxic and hazardous chemicals
- The Green Suppliers Network conducted training sessions for technical assistance providers at four conferences from January 2007 through June 2008 to share best practices and innovative approaches in lean manufacturing and pollution prevention.
- The program collaborated with EPA’s Performance Track program in 2007 to review a Johnson & Johnson supplier, and the company is currently scheduling two additional reviews. Performance Track has announced that it plans to reduce the cost of reviews for its members by $2,000, and has funding in place to reduce costs for nine reviews.
- American Electric Power became the first utility company to join the Green Suppliers Network, and is paying for five of their suppliers to undergo reviews through Performance Track.
- Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has also joined the program and will fund a review.
- The Green Suppliers Network developed an environmental benefits calculator in 2007 for stakeholders to quantify environmental results and future environmental savings.
- Through the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, the Green Suppliers Network began work in 2007 to build a similar network in Mexico after the successful collaboration with Environment Canada to help them adopt the Green Suppliers Network model for its "Green Business Network."
- The collaborative effort between Goodwill Industries International, Inc. and the Green Suppliers Network Automotive Sector (Suppliers Partnership for the Environment) has resulted, through 2007, in:
- 1.06 million pounds of plastic remanufactured
- 30,000 pounds of corrugated cardboard recycled per month
- 2,336 vehicle batteries recharged/reused
- 230,000 vehicle parts repackaged
- over 2 million pounds of electronic waste diverted from landfills
- 60 jobs created for the disadvantaged and disabled
- Based on an agreement made in 2007, the tools of the Green Suppliers Network program will be offered to members of the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association as a resource to help meet their new sustainability standards.
- In 2007, the Green Suppliers Network incorporated environmental metrics questions into the quarterly survey conducted by the Department of Commerce's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to further quantify results from Green Suppliers Network reviews.