As Cummins approaches the end of its centenary year, PETER BARRON explains how the global power leader – one of the region’s best-known businesses - is playing a significant part in supporting climate change

CUMMINS has announced a bold new strategy to protect the health of the planet as the world-leading company prepares to enter the second century of its pioneering history.

And the engine manufacturer’s Darlington plant, which will employ around 1,300 people by the end of 2019, will be playing a key role in helping the company meet its ambitious environmental targets.

Cummins’ Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger has just unveiled the company’s new PLANET 2050 strategy, saying: “Our communities and our business depend on our collective response to improve the health of the planet while creating prosperity for all. It’s clear that government, businesses, nongovernmental organisations, and communities must unite behind swift, decisive action to address the environmental threats we face.” 

Mr Linebarger has, therefore, set out the company’s science-based environmental goals for 2030, in line with the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which aims to limit a global temperature increase to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by the middle of the century.

He has also listed further environmental aspirations for 2050, which include powering customer success through carbon neutral technologies.

The new strategy builds on the success of goals announced in 2014, and timed to 2020, to reduce the company’s energy and water use as well as carbon dioxide (CO2) from its products.                                                                                                                                  

The 2030 goals are:

Climate change and air emissions 
•    Reduce absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from facilities and operations by 50 per cent.
•    Reduce absolute lifetime GHG emissions from newly sold products by 25 per cent.
•    Partner with customers to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from products in the field by 55 million metric tons. 
•    Reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds from paint and coating operations by 50 per cent.

Using natural resources in the most sustainable way
•    Create a circular life-cycle plan for every part to use less, use better, use again.
•    Generate 25 per cent less waste in facilities and operations as a percent of revenue.
•    Reuse or responsibly recycle 100 per cent of packaging plastics and eliminate single-use plastics in dining facilities, employee events and amenities.
•    Reduce absolute water consumption in facilities and operations by 30 per cent.

The company’s strategy also includes addressing environmental needs in the communities where Cummins employees live and work and where the company does business.

The aspirations for 2050 are:

•    Customer success is powered by carbon neutral technologies that address air quality.
•    Carbon neutrality and near zero pollution in Cummins’ facilities and operations.
•    Design out waste in products and processes.
•    Use materials again for next life.
•    Reuse water and return clean to the community
•    Net positive impact in every community where Cummins operates.
•    Near zero environmental footprint.

The Darlington plant in Yarm Road has a crucial part to play because the site incorporates Cummins Emission Solutions. This specialist team develops, tests and manufactures exhaust after-treatment systems that significantly reduce engine emissions to near zero levels.  These match closely with the engines to meet stringent emissions regulations.

The Darlington techncial centre has driven engine emissions down to near-zero for Euro 6 – the name given to a set of limits for harmful exhaust emissions produced by virtually any on-road vehicle powered by petrol or diesel engines. The same result has been achieved in relation to Stage V standards, introduced by the in 2019 to tighten restrictions on emissions from non-road engines and equipment.

The Darlington site has also made steps to become more sustainable:

  • Being the first in the corporation to achieve ‘zero to landfill’ in 2011
  • Upgrading production engine test cells to save energy
  • Capturing waste energy from the engineering test cells to reduce electric use and cost
  • Using more efficient LED lighting
  • Swapping compressor tools to battery power to save energy

Steve Nendick, Cummins’ Marketing Communications Director, said: “Cummins is not only focusing on the environmental impact of its products, but also of all of its facilities around the world, and Darlington will play an important role in this bold environmental strategy that will have a global impact for many years to come.”

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