25 Companies, Organizations Honored for Sustainability Achievements in Illinois

Nov. 1, 2016

Abbott Laboratories won an Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award for the 15th time on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at a ceremony at the Union League Club of Chicago. They were among 25 companies and organizations to be honored for their commitment to sustainable business and operations during the Award’s 30th anniversary year.

“Abbott Laboratories’ success illustrates a trend among Illinois corporations and communities where sustainability is transcending mere tactics and becoming part of the bedrock of the organization’s identity,” according to Kevin O’Brien, director of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) which administers the awards program. ISTC is a division of the Prairie Research Institute. “If you look through the winning entries over the years, there is a definite trend,” O’Brien continued.

“A decade ago we began to see a deepening commitment, cross functional green teams, sustainable strategic planning, and even public commitments to defined goals.” Twenty-five winners were announced this year of which eight were first time winners. Seventeen were repeat winners. Those applicants who had won an award previously are judged on new achievements since the last award was earned. “This is not an easy thing to get,” O’Brien said. “It takes a lot of work; there is a lot of screening and frankly there is a lot of competition for this award.”

Among the 2016 winners are:

Abbott Laboratories — For this year’s winning application, this Chicago-based diversified global health care company reduced the waste generated during 2015 at its Abbott Park corporate campus by 17 percent and waste going to the landfill by 1.1 million pounds. The facility also reduced its Lake County water intake by approximately 79 million gallons (35 percent). Worldwide Abbott cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent in 2015 (more than 15,000 metric tons) using fuel switching and energy reduction strategies.

AbbVie Inc. — Throughout 2015, AbbVie cross-functional teams in Lake County worked together and in collaboration with AbbVie Suppliers, to develop and implement several projects with environmental, economic, and social benefits. Together, facility energy efficiency, optimization of chilled water systems, collaborative supply chain improvements yielded $693,923 in savings.

Argonne National Laboratory — The Sustainability and Environmental Program at this federal multidisciplinary science and engineering research center yielded energy and water efficiency improvements and reduced pollution. In FY15, Argonne progressed toward its sustainability goals, in some instances meeting their goals years ahead of schedule. Potable water intensity dropped 41 percent below baseline, over three times their 16 percent target and ten years ahead of the 36 percent FY25 reduction goal. Argonne also exceeded their 30 percent energy intensity reduction target by achieving a 34 percent reduction.

CDW — beGREEN is the environmental awareness program of this integrated information technology solution provider. The program’s goals reach deep into the organization with a focus on sustainability and continuous improvement, bi-annual training, and a cross-functional team, complete with designated ‘captains’ and ‘rangers.’ In 2015, CDW reduced compactor pickups by 94 percent. Recycling accounted for over 116,000 pallets, more than 1,100 tons of baled cardboard, and nearly 200 tons of miscellaneous recyclable materials. Its new cafeteria kitchen food waste initiative yielded the composting of almost 3.5 tons of organic material in just its first month.

The Field Museum — Adding to the distinctiveness of its place on the National Register of Historic Places, renovations and improvements at The Field Museum led to its LEED Gold Certification, a unique achievement for a 93- year-old building that maintains nearly 30 million biological species and cultural artifacts. Through careful research, engaging staff, and testing innovative strategies, the Field continues to integrate sustainability into the whole of its operations. It improved efficiency of energy and water use and, in 2015, achieved waste diversion by over 430,000 pounds.

Manchester Tank & Equipment Co. — Manchester Tank is a premier manufacturer of pressure vessels for the containment of propane, compressed air, and chemicals. Environmental impact reduction projects, implemented or piloted during 2015 include: a compressed air usage audit; connection of a 15+gpm back-up compressed air booster pump; addition of a non-contact cooling water loop to an unused heat exchanger eliminating discharges to the sewer; institution of operational controls to maintain reduced rinse water flow rates and using rinse water to replenish process bath evaporative loss; evaluation of alternative metal cleaning solutions which meet POTW effluent guidelines for oil and grease allowing for direct discharge to the POTW rather than being hauled away for third party treatment; and evaluation of LED lighting fixtures to replace existing T-12 and T-8 fluorescent lighting fixtures.

Marathon Petroleum — At Marathon Petroleum Company LP, Illinois Refining Division, the CARES Green Team at focused on recycling, reusing, and reducing waste. 2015 accomplishments included implementing a new recycling program in which used control valves are sent to a remanufacturer. The company invested $1.3 million to install an innovative Minimum Steam Reduction System, which employs a “hybrid” approach to flare tip cooling by utilizing a mixture of air and steam. This decreases the amount of supplemental gas required to maintain acceptable combustion, decreasing both flare steam demand and greenhouse gas emissions at low vent gas flare rates and saves $1.4 million per year. Operation of a Benzene Extraction Unit removes 99.4 percent of the benzene in reformed gasoline. The system also saves 160,000 MM BTU of energy per year. Marathon also maintains five wildlife habitats and hosts Nature Days, Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days, Waste Minimization and Pollution Prevention contests.

United Airlines — United made history in June 2015 when it bought a $30 million stake in an alternative fuels developer. The investment was a sector-leading statement about how replacing petroleum with sustainable biofuel could be a game-changer in cutting aviation's carbon footprint. In March his team implemented the first commercial-scale use of sustainable aviation biofuel anywhere. The airlines comprehensive sustainability strategy includes fuel efficiency, recycling, upcycling, education, and empowering United employees to be more sustainable. But most impactful could be the agreement to gradually produce, starting next year, 180 million gallons of jet fuel made from municipal solid waste for United jets.

Now in its 30th year, the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards have been presented by ISTC to organizations in Illinois that have demonstrated a commitment to environmental excellence through outstanding and innovative sustainability practices. Any Illinois public or private organization is eligible to apply for the award. Winners are selected through a rigorous process of review and examination by ISTC technical assistance experts.

For the full list of winners visit the 2016 Ceremony page.

Contact: Irene Zlevor