Operational Approach

Each of our approximately 205 manufacturing facilities around the world follows a set of Environmental Principles that guide our commitment to environmental stewardship in everything that we do.  Highlights of these principles include:

  1. We comply with all applicable laws and regulations, but also seek to reduce and, where possible, eliminate hazardous waste through source reduction and recycling. 

  2. We continually work to minimize environmental impact through safe technologies, facility design and operating procedures.

  3. We conserve energy and work to improve the efficiency of the products we manufacture and of our own operations.

  4. We conduct regular training to ensure knowledge of updated laws and regulations, pollution-prevention and waste-minimization practices, and technological developments.

  5. We periodically audit our operations to confirm compliance with these principles.

Emerson’s business unit presidents are responsible for implementing these principles, with support from our Corporate Environmental Affairs Department.  Our General Counsel is responsible for overseeing implementation of the Company’s environmental principles and policy, and periodically reports to the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors.

1. Environmental Compliance

We assess the environmental compliance of Emerson facilities annually in most cases, with 93 percent of manufacturing facilities assessed in 2015. In this process, we analyze the procedures and performance of our facilities against standards set by local or U.S. law – whichever sets a higher standard. Furthermore, when acquiring companies, we assess their environmental policies and procedures to correct any issues or shortcomings.

Emerson also considers the environmental aspects of how we design, engineer and manufacture products, ensuring that materials and processes are safe and adhere to industry standards and government regulations such as WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulation) and RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) directives.

2. Minimizing Environmental Impact Through Facility Design and Operating Procedures
Emerson designs and builds many of its new facilities following Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certified standards, incorporating sustainable design principles, technologies, and best practices. It is another way Emerson uses innovative approaches to reduce the impact of its operations on environmental resources.


Beyond these important certifications, other Emerson facilities are making meaningful strides to reduce environmental impact.  Emerson’s Alliance Compressors business is finding new ways to recycle cardboard and plastic at its Natchitoches, Louisiana (USA) plant, using color-coded carts and hoppers to collect recyclables. In its first three months, the recycling program kept more than 23 tons of trash from taking up space at local landfills, including about 20 tons of cardboard and three tons of plastic.  

Emerson’s Appleton facility in Elmira, Ontario, has integrated recycling activities across its operations, from the plant floor to the lunch room.  Wire, electronic waste, and various metals from the manufacturing process are turned over to a local recycler, and meal areas have discontinued offering paper plates and plastic ware.

Emerson also has recycled over 400,000 pounds of batteries from facilities across the U.S. and Canada through Call2Recycle since joining the battery recycling initiative in 1996.  For the second straight year, Emerson was honored in 2016 for its dedication to environmental stewardship with Call2Recycle’s 2015 “Leader in Sustainability” award. The award recognizes organizations that demonstrate the strongest commitment to sustainability through their consistent participation in Call2Recycle’s signature battery recycling program.  

3. Energy Conservation and Efficiency

Emerson has continually implemented energy reduction measures at its facilities, conducted energy audits and sought out new opportunities to reduce the impact of its operations on the environment.  

One recent example is Emerson’s Marine Tank Management business in Denmark, which engaged the consulting services of a local power provider to review its operations for energy-saving opportunities. As a result of that audit and changes implemented at its facilities, this Emerson business achieved a total energy savings of more than 560,000 kWh/year and $61,000 in cost savings.

In China, our Jinqiao plant has focused on multiple energy-saving projects since 2010, upgrading air conditioning and ventilation and implementing programs to adjust lighting and temperature of the facility to better match production needs at given times of the day.  These efforts resulted in energy savings of 556,000 kWh/year.  Additionally, our Wuqing plant in China realized savings of 96,000 kWh/year through an upgrade to more efficient lighting throughout the facility.

4. Regular Environmental Training
Emerson conducts annual environmental training programs for its plant environmental managers, division environmental coordinators and other key personnel worldwide.  Each session takes into account the specific needs of the regions in which our global facilities are located.

Each year, employees receive online or face-to-face environmental training with two primary goals:

  • Give employees a practical understanding of the requirements of environmental laws and regulations as they apply to the company.
  • Share ideas on how to reduce the generation of waste, enhance the quality of the environment, and conserve energy.

The training conferences cover a broad range of topics, including:

  • Emerson’s environmental principles.
  • Good environmental management practices.
  • Country-specific environmental laws and regulations.
  • New developments in environmental laws (by country).
  • Pollution prevention, waste minimization and energy conservation.
  • Specialty topics like hazardous material transportation, spills and incident response, and recycling technologies.

5. Audits to confirm compliance

Emerson requires that every one of its manufacturing facilities receives a third-party environmental compliance audit every five years, in which the auditors conduct detailed inspections of the facility and its environmental records. The purpose of these audits is to evaluate environmental regulatory compliance, as well as the overall environmental management practices of each plant.  The audit process also encourages plant environmental managers to look beyond basic compliance to explore ways to implement innovative and productive environmental management practices.

Prior to an on-site inspection by the environmental consulting firm, each plant is required to complete a detailed questionnaire provided by the Corporate Environmental Affairs Department.  Once the formal audit is completed and the outside auditor submits a written report, Environmental Affairs works with the business unit president and facility personnel to ensure that all audit findings are addressed.

About 10 percent of Emerson’s audits are surprise audits, where facility managers receive only 48 hours’ notice of the third-party audit team’s schedule.

In non-audit years, business unit environmental coordinators work with plant management to complete a checklist to ensure compliance with environmental regulations. Corporate environmental staff oversees this annual process.

Fines and Sanctions

Emerson facilities are routinely inspected by environmental authorities in the jurisdictions where we operate.  It is Emerson policy to cooperate fully with environmental authorities.  The majority of all inspections by authorities do not result in monetary fines or penalties.  When environmental fines or penalties have been imposed, the costs have been minimal in comparison to the size of our operations.  For example, in 2015 environmental regulators inspected our facilities or were notified of incidents on 44 different occasions worldwide.  Of these occasions, only five resulted in monetary penalties totaling $13,486.  The average annual cost of environmental fines and penalties incurred globally by Emerson from 2005 through 2015 was approximately $34,000. 

Grievance Mechanisms

In addition to Emerson’s global Ethics and Compliance Hotline, each of our business units has its own formal and informal channels to raise concerns or complaints about environmental compliance. We also periodically receive concerns regarding environmental issues from the people and businesses neighboring our facilities.  Issues raised by either source are very rare, less than 10 annually, and are appropriately addressed.


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