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How’s Boeing going on the enviro-credentials?

plane3.jpgIn a recent visit to the Aussie town of Exmouth, Greenbang was told this story about the town – home to massive naval radio communications towers – by a local, whose fellow townsperson had got talking to a Russian fellow on a visit to London.

The Russian had enquired where our Aussie called home. “Exmouth,” said our Aussie friend. “In Western Australia. Do you know it?”

“Ah yes,” said the Russian. “I have seen the communications towers there.”

The Australian enquired what else of his home town the Russian had seen.

“Nothing,” said the Russian. “I was looking through a periscope.”

If the Russian had looked harder, he would have noticed that Exmouth is also home to a Boeing, which provides support to all those comms towers.

All of this, of course, is just a long segue into this: Greenbang has been leafing through the Boeing 2008 Environmental Report and has culled the highlights to keep you abreast of what the aircraft maker’s been up to.

Over the last 10 years, Boeing has reduced absolute energy use by 37 percent and hazardous waste by 52 percent.Reductions in hazardous waste were driven by more efficient, Lean+ manufacturing methods, such as kitting chemicals to reduce excess waste and expired material; using more environmentally progressive materials, such as a low solvent top-coat painting to reduce the amount of solvent used in painting processes; and improving material management systems.Our energy conservation efforts, driven by reduced demand for production requirements, investments in more efficient building systems and equipment at our sites, Lean+ methods to reduce consumption and waste, and employee awareness campaigns highlighting behavioral conservation opportunities, significantly reduced our energy consumption.

It’s a good start, but we are committed to doing much more.

That’s why we have established five-year targets to reduce energy use, greenhouse gas emissions intensity and hazardous waste and to increase recycling rates. By 2012 at our major manufacturing facilities, we are targeting 25 percent improvement goals for solid waste recycling rates, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions intensity; and we have set a comparable goal for hazardous waste reduction.

This equates to an absolute 1 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, hazardous waste and energy use and an improvement in recycling rates from about 60 percent to 75 percent of solid waste during a time of significant growth. While aggressive, these targets are achievable and will ensure that we hold waste and emissions down while growing our business. To achieve these, we must drive environmental thinking and action into every facet of our business.

Our commitment to environmental stewardship extends beyond our operations to our products. Boeing Commercial Airplanes has committed to continue our dedication to environmental design innovation by:

  • Improving fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions for each new generation of airliners by at least 15 percent.
  • Directing more than 75 percent of research and development to benefit environmental performance, including work on fuel efficiency.
  • Improving the performance of worldwide fleet operations, focusing on an industry goal of 25 percent improvements in worldwide fleet fuel use and CO2 emissions by 2020.

Between 1999 and 2005, Lean improvements have produced notable results
in specific areas:

Boeing Commercial Airplanes: 737 Airplane Program

  • 23 percent reduction in hazardous waste
  • 24 percent reduction in acreage
  • 41 percent reduction in factory size
  • 52 percent reduction in power consumption

Integrated Defense Systems: F/A—18 Super Hornet Program

  • 73 percent reduction in hazardous materials
  • Built in program requirements for hazardous materials management
  • Introduced a non-ozone depleting fire suppressant

Shared Services Group: Enterprise Energy Conservation

  • 37 percent reduction in energy use
  • 27 percent reduction in water

Full report from Boeing here.

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