The Suppliers Partnership for the Environment (SP) – a partnership between automakers, their suppliers and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – hosted its 2nd Annual Sustainable Innovation Awards Ceremony on the evening of October 21 in Rochester, Michigan in conjunction with the organization's annual Summit on Accelerating Innovation.
The annual awards program recognizes SP member companies for their outstanding achievements in three award categories: the Spirit of Suppliers Partnership; Creativity in Implementing Sustainable Practices; and, Demonstrating Environmental Innovation in the Manufacturing Process.
The 2014 Spirit of Suppliers Partnership Award was presented to Luis Lara, Manager, Environmental Quality Office, Mexico, Ford Motor Co.. Luis was recognized for his integral role in the creation of SP's Alianza Verde Automotriz initiative, a collaborative forum which supports automakers and suppliers in Mexico in improving their environmental performance and competiveness. As the founding Chair of the initiative Water Efficiency Work Group, Luis has worked to identify and share information to help companies in the auto supply chain in Mexico improve their use and potential re-use of water in their manufacturing activities, as well as promote sustainable business practices throughout the SP community.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company received SP's 2014 Creativity in Implementing Sustainable Practices Award for its innovative use of ash left over from the burning of rice husks to produce electricity as an environmentally friendly source of silica for use in fuel efficient tires. The use of rice husk ash will provide Goodyear an alternative source of silica – a material used in tire treads to improve fuel efficiency – while helping reduce the amount of rice husk waste sent to landfill globally. The company tested silica derived from rice husk ash over the past two years at its Innovation Center in Akron, Ohio and found its impact on tire performance to be equal to traditional sources.
SP's 2014 Demonstrating Environmental Innovation in the Manufacturing Process Award was presented to FTS Technologies for introducing an innovative automated flame de-flashing technology in General Motors Spring Hill Manufacturing injection molding operations. The technology automates the de-flashing process through the use of a high efficiency gas burner producing a more consistent part of higher quality than highly variable, labor intensive manual de-flashing processes. FTS' de-flashing technology helped GM Spring Hill's injection molding operations to reduce scrap rate from 21% to less than 2%, reduce painted scrap to landfill by 92%, reduce virgin resin usage by 1,200 lbs per day and achieve significant energy savings across the plant.