August 8, 2017

Sustainable Value Chain SD Team Collaborates for Positive Impacts

Christy Blain, Supply Chain Planning Manager

People, Planet, Prosperity

The Sustainable Value Chain (SVC) SD Team strives to increase our partnership with sustainable suppliers that support our goals and enact the values we embrace at FairmountSantrol – People, Planet and Prosperity. 2017 began with a shift in team leadership and as a result, we are working to re-learn how SVC can make a positive impact on the environment, communities and our bottom-line.

Team members collaborate

2017 Goal:
As a recent Environmental Leader article states, to stay competitive, companies must look beyond their own operations and consider opportunities to reduce their environmental footprint and increase resource efficiency across the entire value chain: at the front-end, in the design and manufacturing of products and packaging; and in the systematic recovery of valuable materials once the consumer is finished with the product or package. By working closely with value chain partners and other key stakeholders, companies can discover optimal solutions and drive impactful action. (Hermes, 2012)

Collaboration will enable greater efficiencies, cost reduction, better product and packaging performance and ultimately increased competitive advantage. Managing the Value Chain from the outset with a sustainability mindset subsequently allows profitable economical, ecological and societal growth. (Hermes, 2012)

In 2017, to advance the SD material topics of “Stakeholder Education and Influence,” “Community Impact and Partner of Choice” and “Innovation,” the SVC team will meet with manufacturing Family Members to brainstorm SVC opportunities and will advance projects developed in 2016.

This year, as we work to learn how to best to make a positive impact, we are conducting design charrettes at a minimum of five of our facilities to generate ideas and innovative solutions to existing problems the facilities are encountering, such as recycling, fuel efficiency, and maximizing the life cycle of equipment. The obvious intent is for us to be able to champion some of these ideas and move them through realization. SVC is keeping a log of the ideas, so we can revisit the feasibility in the future and have an even more positive impact. 


  • The Team will find a solution and implement that solution to at least one pressing business challenge in 2017. 
  • Tactics: The Team will meet with six Family Members from five operational facilities (including the plant manager, SD Coordinator, customer service rep. and/or sales rep., and four additional Family Members) to evaluate opportunities to meet with suppliers or customers to find innovative solutions to at least one challenge. This will engage ~30 Family Members in better understanding and developing supply chain solutions. 


  • Advance two concepts/projects developed in 2016 to the next level in 2017. (5%)
  • Write up at least three SVC related success stories to be shared in the Sandbox, blog, newsletters, and future CSR Report. (5%)

We have met 100% of our goal, having had brainstorming sessions at five facilities – Wedron, IL, Voca, TX, Detroit, MI, Chardon, OH and Benton Harbor, MI (purchasing). These sessions generated a list of over 50 ideas that will help make a positive impact on our People, Planet or Prosperity. Each viable idea has a champion who is working towards completion with either their function or another Sustainable Development Team. As an example, Voca recently converted from propane to natural gas which was an idea generated in one of our design charrettes and execution was a collaborative effort on the part of Purchasing, Operations, and several SD Teams. This change is both more economical for Fairmount Santrol and better for the environment – this is exactly the type of idea execution Sustainable Value Chain is hoping to achieve!

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