RR Donnelley — One Big Green Machine
IN ONE of RR Donnelley's private mail handling and logistics facilities, the largest operation of its kind in the world, an employee exits a section of the interior space, and the lights over that area turn off...automatically.
A global enterprise elects to have RR Donnelley produce printing using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody certified papers, and it responds in its plants in Mexico, Canada, the United States and China.
A fan that cools a press used to run continuously. Now, it intelligently senses when heat needs to be dissipated and runs only as required.
Instead of being discarded, damaged wooden pallets are repaired and put back to work. The paper at the end of a roll that cannot be fed into a press is used as packing material. Even incoming bubble wrap is given a second job protecting outgoing thermal paper rolls.
Sustainability encompasses working with customers and with the supply chain across a broad set of initiatives that help to reduce waste and emissions, to promote recycling and to re-examine processes to make them more efficient. Sustainability does not involve making a choice between being cost-effective and being conscious of environmental impacts. It integrates the two.
History of Leadership
RR Donnelley is pursuing sustainability initiatives across its platform and across the world. Since 1907, when the founder's son and CEO T.E. Donnelley was appointed to head the Chicago Smoke Abatement Commission, North America's largest printer has been active in blending the twin and complementary objectives of increasing sustainability and operating more efficiently.
For example, during the 1930s, RR Donnelley became the first printer to use water washers to reduce the emissions associated with letterpress printing. During the '50s, afterburners were installed, again to reduce emissions. In 1969, it became the first printer in Chicago to operate a solvent recovery system to reduce hydrocarbon emissions.
Since 1987, the company has achieved emissions reductions ahead of the dates proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in amounts exceeding the EPA's targets. In recent years, its commitment and leadership have been reflected in many ways:
In 2003, RR Donnelley provided a grant to fund Climatebiz.com, developed by the Business for Social Responsibility and the Green Business Network to help companies understand climate change, assess their climate footprint and implement a plan to reduce the impacts.
In 2004, the company began to earn FSC certifications for its facilities across the world.
In 2005, RR Donnelley received the Environmental Stewardship Award from Orion Energy Systems for implemented projects that will displace 437 million kilowatt hours of electricity consumed over their lifetime.
From having facilities earn ISO 14001 certifications for continuous improvement in sustainability to pursuing SFI chain-of-custody certification, the company continues to pursue initiatives that reflect a commitment to sustainability.
Enhancing sustainability means finding lasting reductions in consumption, emissions and waste. RR Donnelley is pursuing a broad range of programs to slash emissions, save energy and reduce costs.
For example, the company has already completed lighting system retrofits in more than two dozen of its domestic and international facilities. These improvements save more than 65 million kilowatt hours annually, which is the equivalent to the total energy consumed by more than 2,200 households each year. Additionally, this will slash emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, by nearly 40,000 metric tons. That equals the annual emissions from more than 7,500 average-sized cars.
RR Donnelley has also invested in the latest oxidizers to control emissions and reduce natural gas usage, while still achieving better overall performance. Worldwide, more than 50 such oxidizers have already been installed in its facilities, with close to another dozen planned for installation. The curently installed oxidizers alone will save the equivalent of 6.7 million gallons of gasoline each year. That's equal to the amount of gas a fleet of nearly 12,000 cars would use annually.
Another project involves eight different technologies being implemented across almost 50 of its plants worldwide. Existing and identified opportunities will save an estimated amount of energy equal to 1.36 trillion BTUs or 11 million gallons of gasoline. This equates to the energy consumed by about 12,300 average households per year. Electrical reductions from these projects will produce 53,300 fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide, which equates to the annual emissions from more than 10,000 average-sized cars.
The more jobs that a product can perform before it is recycled, the more efficient it is. RR Donnelley is reducing solid wastes and reducing costs by reusing materials before they are sent for recycling. Here are some of the other ways the company is getting maximum use out of its recyclables before they are, in fact, recycled.
o Reusing paper cardboard wrappers and roll headers as packing material between layers.
o Using cloth shop towels that are laundered and reused.
o Returning forklift batteries to the battery vendor for recycling.
o Sending used oil to a third party for recycling.
o Reclaiming ink.
o Reusing polystyrene wrap to affix printed rolls on pallets.
The firm is also working with its customers on packaging minimization projects, as well as to increase the amount of post-consumer fiber that is used.
The Big Picture
The broad range of its sustainability initiatives is one reason that Corporate Responsibility Officer magazine named the company as one of its 10 Best Corporate Citizens in the Media category.
RR Donnelley's policy is to strive to continuously improve global Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) performance by utilizing practices that protect employees and the environment, including reducing the quantity of emissions, developing opportunities for recycling and pollution prevention, and using paper, energy and other resources more efficiently. Customers are pursuing these same kinds of goals and they are increasingly seeking to work in cooperation with their key suppliers to improve sustainability and reduce costs.
Each year, as RR Donnelley reports its results, it offers an online and printed annual report. Turn over the company's most recent printed annual report, and you'll discover that it practices what it preaches. Prominently displayed on the back cover is an FSC logo. PI