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|Environmental sustainability may be the single most critical issue faced by our generation. In all aspects of our lives, the choices we make impact the air that we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the outdoors we enjoy.
Sustainability is also crucial to the future of the materials handling industry. How so? The linkage is more direct than you might guess. As developing economies expand, the consumption of oil rises. Oil is a non-renewable energy source that produces emissions which pollute our environment and as the demand for it rises, so does its price. Rising fuel prices increase the transportation costs of all the goods we purchase as consumers, decreasing our discretionary spending. This leads to a stressed domestic economy with fewer goods being produced and distributed. Naturally, this domino effect reduces the demand for materials handling equipment.
It is important for all companies to recognize their connection to these macro trends. This isn’t to appropriate blame, but rather to identify opportunities that could help lead all of us to a more sustainable future. It also opens up a world of business opportunities for forward thinking companies.
At Yale Materials Handling Corporation, we are improving efficiency and reducing waste in our own operations. We are developing and producing more efficient lift trucks that reduce energy consumption for our customers’ operations. We have been a leading producer of zero emission trucks for years, and in 2009 we are rolling out a new generation of our most innovative and efficient trucks ever. We are collaborating on next generation energy technology to enable a broader group of customers to more easily switch from internal combustion engine trucks to zero emission electric trucks. This same technology will ultimately enable the electrification of automobiles and reduce our dependence upon oil.
These initiatives aren’t just good for the world—they deliver more value to our customers, and to our own company’s bottom line.
Our commitment to sustainability supports our responsibility to our shareholders and although our journey toward sustainability will be a long one, we are committed to staying on the path. We are aware that we have much left to learn and many improvements to make, so we will continually challenge ourselves to achieve greater progress and attain higher goals. It is our investment in our own future and in the future of this planet we all call home.
Yale Materials Handling Corporation, a global leader in the development and manufacture of innovative and high performance industrial lift trucks, recognizes environmental sustainability and the highest standards of health and safety in our products, workplace and community as foundational to our worldwide business operations. We have a heritage of environmental stewardship in our product design choices and manufacturing operations as well as a strong safety track record.
Our commitment going forward is underscored by the inclusion of incremental annual business plan objectives which support our environmental and safety goals and policies and by the steadfast pursuit of these objectives.
Key Focus Areas
• Product design which considers environment
• EH&S management system, prevention of pollution and accidents
• Going beyond compliance
• Continual improvement of EH&S performance
Zero emission electric powered lift trucks – Yale is one of the largest volume producers of zero emissions electric lift trucks in the North American market. The company is among the earliest adopters of energy efficient AC motor and control technology. Yale’s continued pursuit of improved energy efficiency is affirmed by competitive testing which shows that Yale’s 5000 lb. electric rider product offers the best energy efficiency (energy used per load moved) of any lift truck in its class in North America.
Environmentally friendly ICE powered forklifts – Yale has introduced spark-ignited models that already meet or exceed CARB 2010 (California Air Resources Board) requirements. According to testing reviewed by the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), our lift trucks rate among the lowest in exhaust emissions in the industry. Our diesels are becoming cleaner all the time as a result of ongoing development with diesel engine suppliers to meet Tier III standards and to proactively meet upcoming Tier IV standards. Additionally, we have engineered our Internal Combustion products for extended service intervals in order to reduce oil change requirements, reducing consumption of a nonrenewable energy source for our customers.
Green innovations – Yale developed and introduced an innovative electronically controlled transmission which significantly reduces tire and brake wear for our ICE lift truck customers. For our electric trucks, Yale has introduced a system which recaptures energy into the truck during braking and the lowering of loads. This energy is then reused, lowering the overall energy consumption of the truck. Through innovative engineering, we reduce non-productive energy use throughout the vehicle by means of weight reduction, drive train efficiency (patents pending) and hydraulic system efficiency.
Green Initiatives – We have engineered our lift trucks to be compatible with the latest in alternative power technologies over the years, including electric batteries, LPG and clean diesels. Most recently, that tradition is being upheld, as we were among the first to use working fuel cells in actual applications. Yale has supported the adoption of greener technologies through engineering collaboration, analysis and extensive internal and field validation testing. Currently, we are investigating advanced, more efficient battery chemistries and technologies to reduce energy consumption, increase productivity and reduce toxic material content. Our commitment to these initiatives is reinforced through our participation in developing industry standards to adopt these greener technologies safely and reliably. Recyclability is also a prime consideration in Yale lift truck design. Right from the design stage, Yale actively selects materials used in its lift trucks with recyclability in mind.
Energy conscious fleet management – At Yale, a key purchase criterion for our corporate automotive fleet is fuel efficiency. For 2007, our fleet averaged 27.5 miles per gallon. Additionally, we select only vehicles which are E85 ethanol compatible.
Air quality enhancement – Yale has made great strides in the area of painting/coating, which is our significant potential environmental impact. Nearly a decade ago, we began using low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints. We’ve also gone a step further and have begun implementing powder coating operations, in order to eliminate VOC’s and waste.
Energy consumption management – We closely monitor our electrical and natural gas usage. Efficient energy management reduces pollution, including our carbon footprint and helps make our operations cost competitive. An example of our efforts to reduce energy consumption is our use of energy efficient LED task and overhead lighting and the use of sensors to eliminate unneeded energy consumption. Beyond measures to simply reduce energy consumption, we have initiatives to actually re-use energy. Our Berea, Kentucky plant has begun the process of eliminating electric boilers, air conditioners and natural gas heaters by re-using the heat produced in our internal painting processes.
Hazardous and solid wastes reduction – Hazardous wastes generated from our painting operations are being reduced through solvent distillation and reuse and by better transfer efficiency. Our ignitable wastes are sent to a disposal company, which includes them in a fuel blend used to heat cement kilns. Furthermore, we have various quality initiatives focused on reducing waste in our production process.
Recycling – All of our sites have focused programs for extensive recycling of wood, cardboard, plastic, office paper, metals, and electronics. We have programs to recycle lift truck batteries, tires and oil, both for our operations and for our customers.
Use of solar energy – Our Berea plant installed a solar energy system in 2008 that supplies energy for its water heating process.
Ecological/societal effects – An ecological impact assessment of our sites’ surroundings is performed in order to proactively minimize any potential impact. We use only heat treated wood in shipping our international products, to prevent transmission of pests.
Water and soil conservation – Many of our sites use storm water retention ponds to control run-off, utilizing pollution-filtering plants. These areas offer havens for water fowl. We utilize biodegradable chemicals and waste water treatment processes that far exceed discharge permit requirements. We also have multiple initiatives for water conservation, including reduction of landscape watering.
Trip reduction – Many of our manufacturing facilities operate on a modified work week structure in order to reduce the impact of employee commuting, and we coordinate car pooling at our urban locations.
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