Laura Clise, Director, Sustainable Development and Continuous Improvement, AREVA
I recently attended and presented at the first annual Electric Utility Industry Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance (Alliance) Sustainability Forum. The forum brought together Alliance member utilities and their suppliers to promote and further sustainability throughout the electric utility value chain. Sustainable business activities balance economic value with environmental and social responsibility. These initiatives have become increasingly important strategic drivers for companies across all industries, supporting innovation, business development, environmental stewardship, and cross-sector and diverse stakeholder collaboration. Over the past few years, supply chain sustainability has increased in importance, as shown by the Walmart Sustainability Index, the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition, and the Automotive Industry Action Group.
The Alliance Sustainability Forum provided the opportunity to exchange with and learn from utility, supplier, and government agency participants on sustainability topics ranging from specific government programs, to sustainable design, to employee engagement. Some key examples included the PG&E supplier scorecard and Exelon integrating sustainability questions into their Requests for Proposals (RFPs).
On a supplier panel moderated by AEP’s Manager of Sustainable Supplier Development, Mark Bueltmann, I presented on AREVA’s using Lean Six Sigma (LSS) methodology to reduce environmental impact. Given its inherent focus on eliminating waste and process improvement, the LSS approach easily lends itself to natural resource/energy efficiency projects. For example, one of our LSS energy efficiency projects reduced that site’s energy consumption by nearly ten percent without requiring any major capital investment. Through this project, we defined the main drivers of the site’s energy consumption and then identified and prioritized a series of behavioral and technical solutions. As another example, AREVA already reduced per person paper consumption in the U.S. by 45% since 2005, but is using an LSS project to achieve an additional 10% reduction.
AREVA and our utility customers have a shared commitment to sustainability. Through supply chain sustainability (facilitated by the Alliance) and complementary supplier diversity programs, we systematically ensure that our operations and initiatives reflect an increasingly inclusive and responsible approach to doing business. Our clean, reliable, safe, and affordable energy future depends on this kind of leadership and collaboration.