An OEM Backs Environmental Leadership

By Mike Battaion and Seb Nardecchia

The environmental landscape for electronic products has significantly changed over the last few years as environmental laws and regulations develop at a fast and furious pace. These new laws and regulations cover multiple industries and many market segments dealing with hazardous substances, the proper and ethical disposition of product along with pollution control, energy consumption and green house gas emissions. Many countries, regions and governments are creating these new regulations with a positive focus and impact on the environment and these regulations set forth strict requirements for all original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and their supply chains, which include electronics manufacturing services companies such as Flextronics.

One aspect of regulatory compliance that presents an additional challenge for these companies is the lack of harmonization between the requirements. This can present a challenge to adequately stay abreast of the proliferation of these regulations. At Flextronics, a commitment to environmental leadership helps to mitigate some of these challenges for customers, as well as ensures that workers uphold the highest standard in socially responsible business practices. This is evident as managers continuously seek ways to design, manufacture, ship and service in an environmentally conscious way.

The company established an Environmental Leadership Program (ELP), which is aligned with Flextronics’ corporate social and environmental responsibility strategy and complies with a mission to create value that increases customer competitiveness. The ELP consists of a five-pillar approach:

  1. Hazardous substance management and control within tools, processes and procedures to ensure that products designed, manufactured and serviced are compliant to global regulations. Several key results have been achieved to date with a consistently strong compliance outcome across product environmental regulations. Additionally, a robust “banned and restricted substance specification” is applied to all areas.
  2. Product take-back and recycling enriches value-added services for customers, ensuring the product is returned, refurbished, reused — and where required, recycled — in an environmentally responsible manner. Design centers are certified for Design for the Environment and incorporate REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals system) requirements.
  3. Pollution control in which all of manufacturing and global services sites are fully compliant with the local, state and federal regulations of each particular region or country. A key result of this pillar is that a large number of manufacturing sites in the company’s global system have achieved ISO14001 certification.
  4. Resource conservation, where workers strictly monitor energy and water consumption and continually evaluate ways to improve and enhance reduction and recapture plans for optimum utilization of resources that Flextronics consumes.
  5. Climate change monitoring in which manufacturing and global service sites are regularly evaluated by collecting data that looks for possible emissions. Flextronics is a voluntary, participating submitter of data to the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Flextronics has a holistic environmental protection program that provides a consistent and comprehensive solution for customers and ensures that facilities are doing all they can to safeguard the environment and protect the communities in which they operate. Through the Environmental Leadership Program, and in tandem with global social responsibility practices, the company is well positioned to meet new regulations head on while creating value that increases customer competitiveness. This environmental strategy was designed to accommodate all current mandates and to meet the significant proliferation of new global environmental regulations.

Mike Battaion is corporate director of environmental leadership at Flextronics.

Seb Nardecchia is corporate senior director of environmental leadership at Flextronics.

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