Industrial Utility Efficiency

Sustainability at RR Donnelley

Good morning. How does RR Donnelley (RRD) define and approach Sustainability?

While the term “Sustainability” was formally adopted at RRD in 2006, and applied to job titles and project, RRD has really been involved with Sustainability all along. RRD has always looked for ways to reduce waste and energy use. Most sustainability concepts are not new to us; we are merely formalizing the process.

Sustainability at RRD starts with a philosophy. It is then executed through a global policy and objectives. RRD’s philosophy does not see sustainability as making a choice between being cost-effective and improving environmental impacts. On the contrary, sustainability represents integrating these two factors. This philosophy guides our sustainability objectives and strategies.

The Global Environmental, Health, Safety (EH&S) Policy at RRD reflects our commitments to sustainability. To support our policy, we have created four categories for Sustainability, each with underlying objectives and projects:

  1. Resource Efficiency: we focus on our ability to measure and reduce energy and resource use.
  2. Waste Minimization: focus is on reduce, re-use, and recycle activities
  3. Green Procurement: RRD purchases high volumes of paper, inks, adhesives, staples, equipment, computers, printers and energy (to name a few items).  Procurement has a significant impact on our sustainability initiatives by managing the supply chain and we continue to look for opportunities to source materials that minimize our environmental impact and our customers.
  4. Stewardship: we look to educate people on Sustainability both internally and externally to RRD. We want to educate employees, customers, investors, and suppliers. This article is an example of stewardship.

Where does Sustainability fit in the RRD organization chart?

Sustainability receives attention at all levels of our organization. A subset of our Board of Directors is called the Corporate Responsibility and Governance Committee. This Committee ensures that attention and resources are allocated to RRD’s Sustainability efforts.

We have integrated Sustainability into the operations side of the business – rather than setting it apart as an outside or corporate function. We are not a corporate function which lands at a factory, tells people what to do, and then leaves.  We are a partner with the operations environment where initiatives and projects are done.  This improves effectiveness and fosters good working relationships.




My role is to manage EH&S, Quality, and Sustainability within operations.  I have two direct reports with “Sustainability” in their titles and they are heavily engaged with tactical sustainability issues.  In each facility we have a EH&S lead person. These people are primarily occupied with EH&S compliance issues but may also assist with sustainability projects.   It is invaluable to us to have a “lead” person in each facility. This is either a full-time or a part-time role depending upon the size of the facility and they are an incredible team of employees with a genuine concern for the environment and the safety of their co-workers.

We have Engineering Groups and Process Management Groups at RRD who are also involved. There are specific people in these groups, including an energy manager, that help with Sustainability projects. We also have Procurement people (Green Procurement) to manage our supply chain and assist with sustainability projects such as our Utility Bill Management (UBM) process.

But outside of these technical resources, I go back to my earlier statement regarding integration into operations…  Sustainability must be a mindset across the Company, Just like Safety and Quality, where employees are focused on avoiding injuries and on shipping only quality products and providing quality service,  our people are learning to identify Sustainability opportunities.



The Chief Sustainability Officer

Chicago native Mike Manzella joined RR Donnelley in 1998 as a Senior Loss Control Engineer in the Environmental, Health and Safety department. Prior to his current position with RR Donnelley, Mr. Manzella has held roles as Manager of Health and Safety, Directory of EH&S Operations, Director of EH&S Affairs and Vice President of EH&S.

Today Mr. Manzella manages more than 60 full-time professionals who provide support to RR Donnelley's Global Operations in the areas of Envrionment, Sustainability, Health & Safety, Security, Product Safety, Quality, Crisis Management and Business Continuity Planning.



Is “Sustainability and Energy Efficiency” the next “Safety”?

Unlike Safety, it is difficult to formalize programs on how to be “Sustainable employees”. Like Safety, we do however have a lot of communication with our employees through internal and external web sites, awareness campaigns, and other venues at the operations level such as “town hall meetings”.

You could say there is a trend towards creating a Sustainable Employee Culture and through our communication efforts, awareness is definitely going up, especially in the area of energy efficiency and waste minimization.


Any advice on “what not to do” for a new Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)?

The counsel I would give is don’t stand still for too long. Don’t get too ingrained with one or two topics. Keep your eyes open for what is next – before it sneaks up on you.  Concepts and technologies are moving so fast. Government policies are changing quickly. A CSO needs to have the pulse on these issues.

At RRD, we are also very careful to avoid “Greenwashing”  which is a practice by which a company may apply unfounded, misleading, or inflated claims about their sustainability efforts to improve their public image.  We insist that all Sustainability objectives, results, and communication be measurable, accurate, and transparent to ensure the integrity of the data. As a service provider, RRD is very cognizant of the fact that we are stewards of our customers’ images and we are careful that our actions have positive impacts.

What is the scope of RRD’s operations and what are the energy sources?

We own or lease more than a significant number of warehouse, manufacturing, and office buildings in North America.  We operate many other facilities around the world.


Win-Win "These new oxidizers save the equivalent of 9 million gallons of gasoline every year - approximately the gasoline consumed annually by 10,000 cars." - Michael D. Manzella


When we look at Sustainability in our manufacturing operations, RRD distinguishes between plant types based upon distinct printing processes.  For example, some of our plants are “offset” facilities while others are “gravure”.  The energy consumption profiles of offset and gravure plants differ based upon the equipment requirements.  Natural gas and electricity are the two primary sources of energy and their consumption profiles differ with the underlying technology.


Has RRD implemented any compressed air energy-savings projects recently?

We have implemented several types of system improvements associated with compressed air. We separate the projects into system integrity and system optimization initiatives. These projects mentioned in this article represent the more holistic system improvements we have done, and are in addition to one-off projects that also have energy optimization implications. 


Please describe your compressed air system integrity initiatives.

At RRD, our compressed air system integrity initiatives focus on leak detection and mitigation. Compressed air systems are inherently prone to developing leaks.  Without a program of leak detection and repair, the leaks can add considerably to the generated cost of compressed air.  Ultrasonic leak detection equipment is used to identify the leaks.  This allows for identification of smaller leaks outside the range of human hearing, which are then repaired to complete the process.  

For example; in 2008 we continued to perform leak detection surveys in a number of our plants, and identified compressed air leaks requiring repair. After fixing the leaks we have realized significant compressed air related electricity savings - which is why we make this a regular process.


Please describe your compressed air system optimization initiatives.

Compressed air system optimization initiatives at RRD involve audits of supply and demand-side components and analysis of overall system operation. Compressed air systems can be viewed as two fundamental pieces.  These are the supply side (compressors, control system, filters, dryers, wet and dry storage, piping scheme, etc) and the demand side (all the end users of compressed air including the inappropriate uses and uncontrolled losses).  

Compressed air system growth in a plant is often the result of incremental plant growth (expansion of a plant and/or additions of equipment within a plant over time).  The nature of this incremental growth is that the system in a plant today may not resemble what was intended 25 years ago when a plant was initially built.  There are often opportunities to optimize a system's operation today through analysis of the supply and demand sides.  


Win-Win "Just like Safety and Quality, where employees are focused on avoiding injuries and producing only quality products and providing quality service, our people are learning to identify Sustainability opportunities." - Michael D. Manzella


Demand side improvements (elimination of inappropriate uses of compressed air as well as uncontrolled compressed air consumption) will optimize the amount of air the system needs to generate.  The supply side can then be optimized to provide only the needed amount of air in the most efficient means possible.

For example: a compressed air system optimization project was undertaken in one plant that involved identification of multiple demand side (leaks, low pressure air substitution) and supply side (VFD compressors, control system changes, piping redesign) opportunities.  Implementation of this large project, completed in 2008, saves that plant significant annual electrical costs dedicated to generating compressed air.


How is energy consumption measured at RRD?

That is an important question.  RRD is currently implementing a new UBM (utility bill management) process to measure water, electricity, and natural gas consumption at all of our facilities in a consistent manner. This is a critical step towards ensuring that all of our data is sound with regards to energy consumption.  Our UBM system uses third-party vendor software.  We have chosen one software process and are customizing it for all of our facilities in North America and looking to expand its use to our global operations.
One way we are customizing the UBM software is to allow each facility to enter the percentages of the energy sourcing. We need to know what percentage of our power comes from coal, nuclear, and renewables in order to have a clear understanding of  electricity supply chain.

This is an exciting project for RRD’s Sustainability initiatives. When complete, , we will be able to compare the energy costs of similar facilities within the corporation.  For example, we’ll be able to compare the energy costs of two one-million square foot facilities which use similar production technologies.  This will allow us to determine best practices and identify energy reduction opportunities with rock-solid data behind us. We are planning to have the UBM process implemented for all U.S. facilities during the third quarter of this year (2009).


Where does RRD find other opportunities for energy efficiency?

We have a few programs that have already helped to reduce electricity consumption.  We are part of several electr ical demand-response programs. If our facility gets a call from the local utility that is struggling to keep up with demand during a peak period, we are prepared to reduce demand. We committed to Demand Response programs across 24 plants in 2008. The result? Over 40,000 kWh of consumption can be shed to assist the utilities and our workplace communities in times of electrical supply emergencies.

RRD is very active with lighting upgrades. In 2008 alone, we did upgrades in 57 plants. 2009 marks our third year of lighting upgrades and we continue to find opportunities.  In 2008, lighting projects saved RRD 91 million kWh per year of electricity. This is the equivalent reduction of 55,700 metric tons of CO2.  This is equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of 3,000 homes and 10,700 cars.


Win-Win "In 2008, lighting projects saved RRD 91 million kWh per year of electricity." - Michael D. Manzella


Any specific success stories with natural gas?

Yes. Oxidizers are devices used to control emissions from printing processes. These units consume natural gas.  RRD worldwide has been installing new “latest technology” oxidizers, consuming significantly less natural gas while achieving better performance. These new oxidizers save the equivalent of 9 million gallons of gasoline every year – which would be approximately the gasoline consumed annually by 10,000 cars.

Heat recovery is also a big opportunity. We are looking at many processes where heat is being allowed to escape to atmosphere. We are trying to capture that heat and use it for ambient heat. This reduces our natural gas use on our HVAC bill.


Thank you Mike for your insights.


For more information, please contact Rod Smith. Blower & Vacuum Best Practices