Belron Aims to Reduce Emissions by 30 Percent by 2015, Reach 100 Percent Windshield Recycling
July 21, 2011

Belron announced today that it plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 30 percent and reduce the amount of glass it sends to landfills to zero by 2015. The announcements were made with the publication of the company’s first Corporate Responsibility Report.

“Two of our largest environmental impacts are the 6 million windscreens we replace for our customers every year and the emissions created by our vehicle fleets,” says Harriet Kemp, head of corporate responsibility for Belron. “In most of the countries where we operate we already recycle the damaged windscreens that we replace, but in the few countries where windscreen recycling facilities don't exist we are actively developing recycling solutions that will set the standards for the industry.”

Currently, Belron is recycling approximately 58 percent of the windshields it replaces.

As part of the company’s environmental goals, it says that all of its business units will be required to present an environmental action plan by 1012 and incorporate alternative fuel vehicles by 2015.

Safelite, Belron’s United States-based business unit, has begun testing two models of electric cars as part of the program—the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, with a goal of reducing fuel consumption by 10 percent (approximately one million gallons of gas) in 2011. The company also is offering “driver behavior training,” which is aimed at reducing fuel consumption by eliminating idling, etc., according to a company statement.

With regard to the Volt pilot program, Safelite spokersperson Melina Metzger says it’s still early, but so far the results seem positive. “We’re getting very positive feedback on it, and we’re looking forward to seeing the impact that it has,” says Metzger.

Likewise, Safelite officials say they plan to launch a national windshield recycling program this year that it says will include recycling of the PVB interlayer.

While this is the first time Belron has released an official corporate responsibility report, Kemp tells glassBYTEs.com™/AGRR magazine that the elements included in the report are not new to the company. “Corporate responsibility for Belron generally isn’t new, but what is different is over the last couple of years we’ve formalized our approach,” she says. “We feel comfortable that we’ve got something to back up what we say about what we’ve been doing.”

The report doesn’t complete the mission, she adds. “We recognize this is a journey for us, a journey we’ve started on but in now way have finished yet,” she says. “This is about sharing our progress and where we want to go.”

The report is broken down by four subjects—way of working/ethics; people; giving back; and managing the company’s environmental impact. As part of this, Belron also has unveiled a brand-new 34-page code of ethics, referred to as “Our Way of Working,” which outlines three guiding principles: integrity, respect and trust. The code is broken down into sections on working with other Belron employees, working with customers, and working with suppliers, and includes a variety of possible examples. It also encourages employees that are concerned about something to use the company’s “Speak Up” phone number to report items of concern to management.

In May, Belron had issued its “Communications on Progress,” as part of its participation in the United Nations Global Compact. While that report also contained many details on the company’s commitment to corporate responsibility, Kemp points out that the latest report is separate from that participation—and though two are connected in their goals, neither report is dependent on the other. “Signing up for the Global Compact is something we felt we could do because we are already holding up the responsibilities of being a signatory by being the kind of company we are,” says Kemp. “It’s a subset of our corporate responsibility approach, but our approach to corporate responsibility is very much us doing it and then that fit in.”

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