The foundry won the American Foundry Society’s (AFS) 2023 Green Foundry Award for its ongoing commitment to sustainable production processes and energy reduction. The foundry was honored for creating a corporate sustainability report—Waupaca Foundry is the first independent U.S. iron casting supplier to establish and communicate sustainability objectives and publish a corporate sustainability report for its stakeholders.
Since 2014, Waupaca Foundry has followed Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards to measure best practices for sustainability and hold the company accountable to self-imposed environmental goals. This is the second year in a row Waupaca Foundry has won the sustainability award from AFS.
A cross-functional team assembled environmental, social and governance reports to codify organizational objectives and targets with a goal of becoming the green foundry of the future. The report communicates environmental goals for the company, including reducing energy use, lowering emissions, and other sustainability activities beyond regulatory compliance.
“Now more than ever, our customers expect their supply chain to help with organizational sustainability goals,” said Mike Nikolai, president, COO and CEO of Waupaca Foundry. “Our green initiatives help our customers achieve their individual goals and partnerships like these support decarbonization goals for all involved.”
Waupaca Foundry casts 85% of its iron from recycled material and recycles 450,000 tons of foundry byproducts annually. Recycling and environmental commitments have been in effect since the 1980s but extended to a corporate-wide sustainability program in 2014.
“We want to set the bar for state-of-the-art technology in the foundry industry,” said Bryant Esch, corporate sustainability manager for Waupaca Foundry. “These are elective actions that we do that go above and beyond environmental requirements and energy efficiency is one of our greatest tools to affect overall improvement in our processes.”
To achieve sustainability goals, Waupaca Foundry took specific steps over the last 20 years, which encompassed:
- 2001: The foundry achieved ISO 14001 standards, which mapped out a framework to set up an effective environmental management system.
- 2009: The company joined the Department of Energy’s Better Plants Program and pledged to reduce energy intensity by 25% over ten years.
- 2013: The firm established sustainability benchmarking.
- 2014: Waupaca foundry established greenhouse gas accounting (GHG) to measure the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it produced and hired a full-time energy manager.
- 2014: The foundry established a multi-discipline sustainability team and a materiality assessment test that allowed for better understanding and prioritizing of sustainability issues.
- 2014: Waupaca Foundry completed a strategic energy plan that formally laid out goals, resources, and KPIs for sustainability.
- 2014: Waupaca Foundry issues its first sustainability report.
- 2015: Waupaca Foundry submits its first Carbon Disclosure Report (CDP) that discloses the company’s environmental impact and actions taken to reduce its carbon footprint.
- 2016: The foundry achieves ISO 50001 certification at Plant 1, which ensures the organization has an energy management system, reduces energy consumption, environmental impact, and increases profitability.
- 2016: Waupaca Foundry joins the Department of Energy’s Accelerate Energy Productivity 2030 – an initiative to double U.S. energy productivity from 2010 levels by 2030.
- 2021: Waupaca Foundry honored by Department of Energy’s Better Plants program for a project removing humidity from air around the plant’s cupola.
- 2021: Waupaca Foundry honored by Department of Energy’s Better Plants program for increasing energy efficiency in its air compressor system.
- 2022: Waupaca Foundry joined the Department of Energy’s Better Climate Challenge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030.
- 2022: AFS honors Waupaca Foundry with the Green Foundry Award for installing a dehumidification system at the Tell City, Indiana plant, thus significantly reducing energy.
Waupaca Foundry Cited by Two Suppliers
Waupaca Foundry has again won recognition for sustainability efforts from two suppliers.
Bosch Rexroth recognized Waupaca Foundry as one of three suppliers worldwide with a Top Performance Award, Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability. Its sustainability disclosure and environmental performance were named one of the most advanced global suppliers in sustainability.
Waupaca Foundry was also awarded the Excellence in Technological Advancement and Customer Partnership. No other supplier received all three awards.
The metalcaster also won the 2022 Environmental Award from Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Co. This is the fifth time since 2011 Waupaca Foundry has been honored with the award.
The award was based on air compressor system improvements at Plant 1, dehumidification system savings at Plant 5, and the installation of intelligent ventilation controls at Plant 2/3, which improved energy efficiency at each foundry operation.