The company I choose for this weeks prompt was the Boeing Company.  I’m sure everyone is aware that Boeing produces airplanes, but you might be unaware that they also have large portions of their business dedicated to NASA, defense contracts, and basically air/defense related technologies across the board.

For this assignment, I searched keywords such as “Boeing AND environment” or “Boeing AND energy” on a number of resources such as GoogleScholar and Lexis-Nexus, but of the resources I tried the only one that really gave me fruitful results was ProQuest.

So, what did I learn about Boeing?  I didn’t know much about Boeing to begin with, and it’s probably fair to say I knew absolutely nothing about any of their environmental or energy initiatives.  Thinking about it, it makes perfect sense considering the industry Boeing is in, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover just how dedicated they seem to be to reducing their company footprint.  After all, a technology company probably wouldn’t be very successful if they couldn’t make use of some of their own technology and know-how.  As far as Boeing’s “green resume” goes, they have a number of awards such as the LEED EB Gold certification and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR for a number of their American offices.

However, it isn’t the awards that’s the interesting part.  Boeing seems to really be pursuing an environmentally conscious and friendly corporate position.  Boeing is pursuing green initiatives across the board: in the offices where they think up the products, on the manufacturing floors where they make the products, and even in the products themselves.  I’ll take a number of the articles I read and sort of morph them into one single story to get the point across.  Boeing took over an office from IBM in Houston, TX and in the first year of operations cut energy usage by 19%, followed by an 8% decrease and then a 7.5% decrease in years 2 and 3.  Aside from reducing CO2 emissions, they also simply made the office more comfortable to work in by having better control over systems we take for granted such as air conditioning or heat.  On the manufacturing floor, two middle managers created something they dubbed a “green team” to bridge the gap between managers and workers.  The point of the green team was to make the production process more environmentally friendly, such as decreasing the amount of clean-up rags used by altering the distribution method.  Finally, Boeing even tries to make the products it is making as efficient as possible, as it most evident in the airplanes: “Over the last 40 years, airplane emissions of carbon dioxide have been reduced by around 70 percent and the noise footprints have been reduced by approximately 90 percent. Boeing targets improving fuel efficiency of each new generation of commercial airplane by 15 percent compared to the airplanes they replace.”

Sources used:

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7 responses »

  1. Jim says:

    It sounds like Boeing is doing a pretty good job at managing its environmental impact. I was particularly impressed by the green team and I think it something that other companies should implement. It makes sense to me to leverage the people most interested in environmental issues towards improving the companies practices and Boeing seems to be leading the way with this.

  2. I like that you focused on the different areas that boeing was able to make progress towards more sustainability. Sometimes we think of the going green only as the products being produced or the way they are produced. It’s important to realize that “green” can be implemented in many different areas of a company – how they produce a product, the impact of the products once they are produced, and on a smaller level – operations (headquarters, shipping, etc). Boeing is likely a leader in the category because of the wide scope they viewed while implementing change towards green.

  3. Connie says:

    First of all, great title. Definitely sang that in my head, and then aloud. Second of all, I love how short and sweet you made this, but was still able to tell a great story about Boeing and its green initiatives. I am absolutely amazed that they have been able to cut down on carbon emissions by such a significant amount over the last 40 years. I could probably look for myself, but I’ll really test you here — did the articles mention how Boeing has been able to accomplish such a feat? I’m assuming a lot of it has to do with the engineering and technology of the newer planes.

  4. Marc says:

    I thought one thing that was pretty cool was the part abut taking over an office from IBM. It’s pretty cool that they were able to cut energy usage and emissions from a company that was already doing a pretty good job of doing the same. You know if you’re improving upon things that Newsweek’s number 1 on Green Rankings has been doing, then you’re doing something right.

  5. Claire McCardell says:

    Like Jim said, I was very impressed by Boeing’s “green team”–I had no idea the company had taken such green initiatives. When first seeing this post I was curious to learn what exactly Boeing has done in terms of sustainability, because I typically thought airplane manufacturers would be massive polluters due to the sheer size and amount of materials that go in to creating their product (not to mention the emissions that each airplane must produce during a flight). The green team sounds similar to the company I looked into, HP, which had a “product stewardship” division to focus on integrating environmental sustainability throughout the production process and across all levels of management.

  6. Alex Lin says:

    Like others, I’m impressed about what Boeing did with the IBM office building because from what I know, IBM has the reputation of being a very efficient company. On top of that, Boeing was able to decrease the energy usage for a couple years in a row. My question is, why doesn’t every company do this? Besides just being environmentally friendly, the companies would definitely cut costs on energy consumption. Even if there are initial costs, they would probably pay off in a couple years.

  7. Jeff Galloway says:

    This is more of a broad comment than specifically for your post, but it really amazes me how much some companies are able to reduce their carbon footprint without sacrificing profits or efficiency. Even more amazing, however, is why some corporations are still resisiting this change. There have been hundreds of successful models to follow in order to make a company greener. If Boeing, a leader in one of the least environmentally friendly industries in the US, can do this much for the environment, it’s baffling to me why other companies can’t or won’t make the same effort.

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