At EnerSys, we strive to lead by example in environmental responsibility and compliance. Our EnerSys Operating System (EOS) incorporates principles of environmental stewardship into our daily actions. Our employees are expected to uphold these values and adhere to all legal requirements and regulations. We prioritize the protection of the environment in the areas where we operate, and actively integrate environmental risk assessment and mitigation into our decision-making processes.
Our Environmental Policy describes our commitment to meeting and exceeding environmental compliance, reducing our environmental footprint and developing products that minimize environmental impacts across their lifecycle. With the assistance of our Corporate Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) team, EnerSys management is responsible for ensuring compliance with this Policy and developing and implementing environmental programs across the organization. This Policy is supported at the highest levels of our organization, reinforced with the signature of our President and CEO.
We deliver high-quality products and manage compliance through our management systems. Where possible, we seek to certify our facilities and corresponding management systems to the highest possible international standards. Seventeen of our facilities in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia are certified to ISO 14001 environmental management standard.
“As a manufacturer, our operations frequently require significant resources – energy, water and materials. We understand that there are impacts associated with need. Resource efficiency has always been a part of how we do business and is embedded into our EnerSys Operating System. Environmental stewardship is not only the right thing to do; it also makes good business sense.”
Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
GHG EMISSIONS AND ENERGY PERFORMANCE
Our operations and the energy they require have an impact on the environment and the climate. As the world’s leading energy storage manufacturer, we recognize our responsibility to reduce our footprint while supporting our customers’ carbon goals through the highest quality energy storage products and services. Consequently, we are actively seeking to reduce our direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the efficiency of our operations and exploring renewable energy sources for our facilities.
In 2021 we first measured and published our Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions. In 2022 we set net neutral climate goals for Scope 1 by 2024 and Scope 2 by 2050. We also established a Cross-Functional Climate Action Plan (CAP) Committee to develop the detailed plan to get us there. In 2023 we are undertaking efforts to measure our Scope 3 emissions. We know that understanding the impact associated with the production, distribution, use and end-of-use of our products is critical to reducing our footprint.
We are committed to reducing our energy intensity per GWh produced by 25% by 2030.
While burning natural gas used in our operations and heating is the most significant contributor to our Scope 1 emissions, our electricity usage, or Scope 2 emissions, represents the largest overall source of greenhouse gas emissions for EnerSys. When possible, we actively seek to electrify our operations through innovations such as replacing gas-fired melting pots with electricity. These efforts reduce our Scope 1 emissions, improve operational efficiency and safety and move us toward increasing electrification, which experts agree is key to decarbonization.1,2 We look for opportunities to source electricity from renewable or low carbon sources, which will reduce our Scope 2 emissions. Moreover, our products enable additional use of renewable energy, thus creating a virtuous decarbonization circle.
We are also exploring ways to implement our own technologies across our facilities, in partnership with renewable power generation, to reduce our indirect greenhouse gas emissions. We are also constantly evaluating ways to make our operations more efficient and reduce our energy requirements.
Energy Efficiency Highlights
ELECTRIFICATION OF THE LEAD HEATING PROCESS
The manufacturing process for lead batteries requires melting lead in pots for casting and grid production. Traditionally, this process involves heating several tons of the metal with a large, gas-fired burner. Not only does this process produce greenhouse gas emissions from combustion, but it also has less than optimal effects on the equipment. Gas heating is inefficient, as the direct application of heat to melt lead can cause stress in steel pots and ultimately result in cracks over time. A cracked pot can lead to a potentially dangerous situation for both our workers and the environment.
With safety and environmental stewardship as core parts of our values, we decided to transform our gas-fired lead pot process into a safer process powered by electricity. The new pots, which are being rolled out at all of our factories, have embedded electric heater coils, which enable uniform heating and dramatically reduce the stress placed on the pots. The energy required for heating will now come from electricity instead, which is increasingly produced from renewable sources. Electrification of the melting process lowers the carbon footprint of the batteries we make – which themselves can play a role in renewable energy storage.
“While burning fossil fuels like natural gas can be made more efficient, the combustion process will always produce greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, electricity can be produced with zero-emission renewable energy sources – with storage provided by EnerSys products. That is why electrification is a key component of decarbonization.”
FINDING ENERGY EFFICIENCIES IN OUR OFFICES
While not the largest sources of energy usage compared to our manufacturing operations, we still prioritize evaluating and reducing the energy requirements of our Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and EnerSys office buildings. Small energy efficiency improvements can make a big impact over the long term and across the breadth of our organization. We have several ongoing initiatives to reduce the energy footprint of our IT infrastructure, including replacing old computers and servers with newer, more efficient equipment and enabling power-saving modes on printers and networking equipment. We also take advantage of efficiency opportunities from our cloud infrastructure providers. Their technology and analytics allow us to shut down underutilized servers outside of core hours, which reduces both our cloud services cost and our power usage.
“People often don’t think much about the energy input it takes to run technology in this modern world. Many servers run nonstop even when their computing power isn’t needed – it’s like leaving all the lights on in your house all the time. At EnerSys, we look to improve efficiency wherever possible, big or small, and upgrading and adapting our IT infrastructure is a great example of that. It’s the right thing to do for our bottom line, reduces our demand from the electricity grid, and is ultimately better for the environment.”
DOE BETTER PLANTS
In 2021, EnerSys joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Plants Program (BPP).
“EnerSys is proud to be a part of the U.S. Department of Energy Better Plants program,” said EnerSys Senior Vice President of Operations, Patrice Baumann. “Resource efficiency has always been a part of how we do business and is embedded into our EnerSys Operating System. We look forward to enhancing and accelerating our efforts in partnership with the Department of Energy and its Better Plants partners.”
The Better Plants program works with leading manufacturers to boost their resilience and economic potential through energy efficiency improvements. Through Better Plants, manufacturers commit to setting ambitious energy saving goals, develop energy management plans, and track and report annual progress against those goals. To date, over 250 industrial organizations have joined BBP.
BELLINGHAM, WA SOLAR ARRAY
Our Bellingham, Washington, facility uses clean energy generated by a 32.4kW solar array. Since its installation in 2015, it has generated nearly 140,000 kWh. We are exploring similar opportunities to generate renewable energy at other EnerSys facilities, including our headquarters in Pennsylvania.
“The commitment by EnerSys to improving its energy productivity by 25% over 10 years establishes the company as a leader in efficiency and helps strengthen the nation’s manufacturing competitiveness.”
In addition to energy and climate considerations, we take our commitment to being a good custodian of our all our natural resources extremely seriously. While the use of water and materials are directly linked to our ability to produce energy storage, we consistently strive to maximize efficiency and minimize our footprint.
Our efforts include a strong focus on reuse and recycling. For lead batteries, recoverable scrap does not go to waste, but rather is reintegrated into our processes to ensure that it becomes a battery. Lead batteries themselves enjoy a recycling rate at the end of life that exceeds 99%. When it comes to water we look to recycle and reuse as much as possible. And, while use of water is a necessary input for many of our batteries, we were able to reduce our water intensity 1.4% year on year.
We are committed to reducing our water intensity per kWh of storage produced by 25% by 2030.
“The vision of EnerSys is Powering the Future – Everywhere for Everyone. This vision includes supporting the conservation of natural resources through pioneering resource-efficient products and implementing improvements throughout our global business operations. Whether it is through innovations like Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) battery technology that significantly reduces water use from traditional batteries, or the ongoing investment in greater efficiency and water recycling opportunities in our facilities, EnerSys understands the value of water resilience and the importance of partnerships to support our natural resources and the environment.”
David M. Shaffer
WATER USE REDUCTION PROGRAMS
In 2021, EnerSys joined the U.N. CEO Water Mandate, a CEO-led commitment platform for business leaders and learners to advance water stewardship and reduce water stress worldwide by 2050.
As a global leader in manufacturing energy storage and energy systems, we have an obligation to responsibly manage and reduce the waste materials we produce. Nonhazardous and hazardous waste must be handled carefully across our products’ value chain to promote safe operations and protect human health and the environment. This focus on reducing and eliminating waste also makes good business sense too, as it allows us to identify opportunities for reusing products and reducing waste disposal costs.
Waste generation, handling and disposal are managed at the facility levels based on the type of operations and applicable regulatory requirements. We track all waste materials with the paperwork required by regulation so that we can appropriately account for our impact. Where appropriate, we employ expert third-party contractors to manage our waste responsibly.
Our lead battery manufacturing facilities produce the largest volume of waste materials in our operations, such as scrap and off-specification parts and hazardous materials. However, most of these materials are recovered through recycling and re-used in our products as recycled raw materials at a later time. For example, we utilize filter presses in our pasting operations to remove lead at the source. This process collects excess lead in reusable water and recovers it to be safely recycled for battery manufacturing. The process reduces the amount of lead being processed in our wastewater treatment plant, which helps to ensure compliance with our permit discharge limits and reduces the amount of hazardous waste generated by the location.
99% RECYCLING RATE
Lead batteries are the most recycled consumer product in industrialized countries, with a recycling rate of over 99%
95% OF PARTS RECYCLABLE
More than 95% of a lead battery is recyclable – most frequently back into a lead battery
85% WORLDS LEAD
More than 85% of the world’s lead is used in the production of lead batteries3
50% OF LEAD RECYCLED
More than 50% of lead used in the production of new lead products around the world is sourced from recycled lead4
75% LESS ENERGY
Recycled lead uses 75% less energy than new lead5
END OF USE MANAGEMENT
We don’t view end-of-life batteries as waste but as future inputs for our products. Our recycling initiatives aim to recover every single battery we sell and return their materials to the battery supply chain, contributing to the circular economy. EnerSys is committed to providing the resources needed to operate a worldwide recycling collection program. Our program reduces the environmental impact of improper disposal and the need for new raw materials.
Recycling is not just for industrial batteries. We also aim to educate consumers on consumer battery recyclability. Our rechargeable batteries have a Call2Recycle certification label, showcasing how to safely recycle them at the end of their useful cycle.
Lead batteries have been critical to powering our economy for over a century. In that time, they have achieved significant safety, reliability and recyclability achievements. Lead battery technology is both incredibly reliable and, when responsibly manufactured, used and recycled, extremely environmentally friendly. This well-established, economically self-sustaining, closed-loop, “cradle-to-cradle” life cycle means lead batteries have been and will continue to be an incredibly advantageous technology component of the transition to a low-carbon, circular economy.
Lead battery recycling services are a key component of supporting our customers’ sustainability efforts and contributing to the circular economy. Circularity is embedded in the battery value chain, and EnerSys is committed to advancing battery recycling throughout the industry. Our products, specifically lead batteries, can have negative environmental impacts if not handled properly.
Thanks to decades of work by EnerSys and the industry as a whole, lead batteries are now one of the most recycled products in the world, with more than 95% of the lead, plastic and other materials in each battery being recoverable. Once reclaimed, they can account for up to 80% of the lead and plastic in a new battery.
We are working in partnership with trade associations and industry experts to develop a circular lithium-ion battery recycling process similar to what is already in place for lead-acid batteries. We know that lithium-ion batteries bring different challenges at end-of-use, and we aim to ensure that solutions are developed to recover, recycle and re-use those batteries, just as we have done for lead batteries.
We support the development of new technologies for recovering lithium-ion battery parts for recycling. We are especially interested in new processes that are less impactful on the environment, whether that’s through a lower carbon footprint or producing less per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). We will continue to work with our industry associations to seek out partners to advance the recycling of our lithium-ion battery products.
Waste Prevention Highlights
RENOVATIONS TO PROMOTE REUSABLE PACKAGING
In partnership with Hunter Plastics, the EnerSys plant in Tijuana has been working to improve its operations and minimize its environmental footprint by making warehouse renovations and changing materials to include reusable plastic packaging instead of single-use cartons and wooden pallets.
The new materials and packaging processes are meant to save on costs, reduce waste and even avoid lead contamination. The process is shown below.
REDUCING PLASTIC WASTE
Stakeholders around the world are becoming increasingly concerned about plastic waste. We share these concerns and are committed to constantly identifying opportunities to optimize our operations – saving time, money and labor while reducing our environmental footprint. One example of this is how we reduced the use of shrink wrap plastic in our Richmond, Kentucky locations.
Historically, to ensure our batteries were transported safely, we followed a procedure that required securing them in plastic wrap pallet transportation. Once they arrived at a nearby EnerSys distribution center, the wrapping was removed and became waste. Based on the suggestion of our plant workers, we recognized that we could replace the wrap with reusable strap-downs that save time, money and reduce waste dramatically. This innovation cut our shrink wrap usage by 43% and helped us reduce our overall man-hours for package handling significantly.It also helped reduce our environmental footprint because we no longer had to send single-use plastic wrap to landfills or incinerators.
RECYCLING PROGRAM CUSTOMER PORTAL
EnerSys assumes the responsibilities of leadership regarding battery recycling. We do so as part of our commitment to total battery service and customer protection. We offer a battery recycling program in North America to ensure the lead and materials from these batteries are recycled properly.
In 2021, we launched an online customer portal to make the battery recycling process even more efficient. The portal stores all scrap loads, displays up-to-date pricing and estimated payouts for each load and lists specific load statuses throughout.
You can learn more about our after-market recycling services here.
After-market Recycling Services
We recognize how critical biodiversity, High Conservation Value (HCV) areas and critical habitats are to the health of local ecosystems. Through in-depth assessments, we have determined that our direct operations have minimal impact on critical habitats or other areas with high diversity value. While we don’t anticipate expanding our physical operations to areas where this would be a concern, we would evaluate the impact of our new construction and projects on biodiversity, adopt measures necessary to minimize impacts and consult with stakeholders. We are dedicated to protecting the land and biodiversity through our Biodiversity and Critical Habitats Policy.
- “Electrification & Decarbonization: Exploring U.S. Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Scenarios with Widespread Electrification and Power Sector Decarbonization,” National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy17osti/68214.pdf
- “Getting to Net Zero: Increasing Clean Electrification by Empowering Demand,” World Economic Forum, https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Increasing_Clean_Electrification_by_Empowering_Demand_2021.pdf
- “Overview of Flow Studies for Recycling Metal Commodities in the United States,” U.S. Geological Survey, https://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/circ1196-AA/pdf/circ1196-AA.pdf
- “The Amazing Story of Lead Recycling,” The Balances Small Business, https://www.thebalancesmb.com/the-amazing-story-of-lead-recycling-2877926
- “How does recycling save energy?”, American Geosciences Institute, https://www.americangeosciences.org/critical-issues/faq/how-does-recycling-save-energy