Houston-based Smith & Associates, an independent distributor of electronic components, has announced the achievement of major milestones in corporate sustainability—including energy efficiency, recycling, waste diversion, water conservation, and transportation— as well as a commitment to expand its green initiatives globally during 2013.
Smith’s efforts both preceded and currently provide support for two federal initiatives announced this fall that encourage the electronics and semiconductor industries to clean up their acts:
- In September 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge, with the goal of advancing the responsible management of used electronics hardware. This nationwide campaign represents an effort to urge companies to increase electronics refurbishing and recycling; and develop new industry standards for recycling and new manufacturing content. This pledge has attracted leaders from global companies such Best Buy (News - Alert), LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sprint, and Staples.
- In October, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provided new guidelines on how companies may promote environmental claims in their marketing materials.
Smith has been consistently ahead of the curve in its corporate sustainability efforts, making resource and environmental protection a priority at the highest level. In 2011, Smith was named an “e-Stewards Enterprise” by the Basel Action Network—a Seattle based group that is focused on confronting the global environmental injustice and economic inefficiency of toxic trade.
Smith recently expanded its asset disposition service offerings for customers worldwide to support the data-secure, economically sound, and environmentally aware repurposing, recycling, and/or destruction of used equipment and components. Smith also offers “E-Waste Days,” which enable businesses in the Houston area to safely and securely recycle electronics in an environmentally responsible manner.
In April 2012, Smith won the City of Houston Award for Excellence in Environmental Sustainability following outstanding results in Houston’s Green Office Challenge. Smith has further expanded its corporate sustainability initiative with the formation of an employee-directed green team called Smith Sustainability Group (SSG). SSG is tasked with setting Smith’s environmental goals, building green education and awareness for employees and implementing programs that encourage employees to take sustainable action. As part of this, SSG developed Smith’s Green Lunch Bag Series, available to Smith employees, which launched in October 2012.
Additional sustainability milestones attained by Smith this year include:
- Reduced energy use by 38 percent since 2008;
- Doubled recycling of waste from an average of 2.21 tons per month in 2008 to an average of 6.30 tons per month in 2011;
- Established campus-wide recycling stations —including a recycling bin, waste bin, and bin for paper recycling;
- Increased average waste diversion to 95 percent
- Eliminated paper cups (53,000 paper cups saved annually);
- Increased use of recycled paper and paper napkins, green cleaning products and environmentally friendly pest-control services
- Installed green gardening systems, including rain sensors in the sprinkler system and a sprinkler system schedule; and
- Achieved overwhelming company-wide participation in green events including an Electronics Recycle Drive, Clothing Drive, Green Bag Lunches and Speaking Events.
“Our mission is to make Smith & Associates the greenest that it can be, we continue to take steps to change how we think, companywide,” Matthew Hartzell, COO of Smith & Associates, said. “Smith knows that in order to be environmentally responsible, recycling programs and thoughtful choices need to be made on a global scale, one office at a time. Our changes in Houston are the first of many more to come.”
2013 Takes Sustainability Global
As Smith’s Houston headquarters continues to make strides locally, Smith is furthering its commitment to sustainability on a global level. The next step in Smith’s “greenovation” plan is to have its international offices follow suit with the Houston headquarters, starting with the institution of recycling programs in every office. With offices worldwide, including in Europe and Asia, Smith intends to build upon its successes locally and expand its E-Waste Day service programs to every Smith location in 2013, complying with local green initiatives in every city.
“To Smith & Associates, the road to truly having a green company is long but it is well worth the effort,” said Matthew Hartzell. “We are proud of the commitment of our employees as well as the recognition and support that we have achieved thus far; we look forward to breaking more records in green in 2013.”
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Edited by Brooke Neuman