A first-time partnership between two statewide organizations is resulting in new educational resources for manufacturers across Michigan.
The Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) and the Nature Conservancy of Michigan have partnered to produce a four-part series of webinars to explore sustainability in manufacturing, with an emphasis on reducing CO2 emissions.
Three of those webinars are available for no cost on MMA’s online learning hub.
“We hear a lot about transportation and energy but the industrial sector is about a third of total emissions, so it’s a big portion,” said Madhu Anderson, director of government relations for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan.
“They’re also very unique in the solutions that might be possible for manufacturers,” Anderson told MiBiz. “Not everyone is the same. You can’t just switch to clean energy and it works. We approached (MMA) and said we need to talk about this issue with our small and medium manufacturers, give them a lead time and also get them engaged so that they can start thinking about solutions.”
The first webinar focused on why manufacturers should be interested in sustainability while the second was dedicated to the various federal and state policies that are in place.
For the third installment, the partnership welcomed Kristen Siemen, vice president of sustainable workplaces and chief sustainability officer at General Motors Co., in addition to Steven Holty, sustainability leader at Hemlock Semiconductor Operations LLC.
The fourth and final series is slated for March 15 and is available to both MMA members and non-members at no cost.
Anderson stressed that as many larger manufacturers publicly state lofty sustainability goals, the organizations needed to make resources available to both small and mid-size manufacturers, which make up an overwhelming majority of MMA’s membership.
“I think they get left out of the conversation, and that’s just me personally saying that,” Anderson said. “What you have is investors and consumers really pushing the bigger companies. They have the capacity to think about it and they’re working on a global scale, so they’re hearing it around the world.
“So, we want to give small and medium manufacturers some voice and some information. At the end of the day, they’re scrambling for workers, they need to retain the workers they have and they also might see potential government regulations coming down the pike and they have to react quickly.”