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Magna Commitment to Sustainability Award Winner: Involve Everyone

When it comes to sustainability, Magna’s seating plant in Poznań, Poland, thinks big – beyond the division’s 275 employees to local families and children. The impact is significant, not only saving money and conserving energy at the plant but building awareness throughout the community of the need to protect the planet.

The initiative, a 2022 Commitment to Sustainability award winner in the people category, started with a 4 a.m. “treasure hunt” at the division in July 2022, before production began on a Monday morning. A three-person team conducted an energy audit to check how many machines had been left on over the weekend.

“We had a shutdown procedure, but it was clearly not working,” said Szymon Stankiewicz, the division’s Environmental, Health and Safety Senior Specialist. “We found 150 machines were still on. We knew something had to be done.”

By not unplugging electrical equipment during off hours or downtime, the plant was wasting about 100,000 kilowatt hours the audit found.

“We became like movie producers, with each step carefully planned.”


Seeking Ideas

“The biggest challenge was figuring out a way to reach our employees without stopping production,” said Joanna Langner-Sobczak, the division’s Human Resources Manager. “The team brainstormed, and then we became like movie producers, with each step carefully planned. The idea was to get as many people as possible involved in our sustainability effort, from the General Manager to the frontline employee.”

The team realized that putting up posters or stickers urging energy conservation was not enough. People might not read them. The goal: skip lectures and focus on the Magna Core Value “Be collaborative.” Seek ideas and input from all.

Getting support from the division’s 18 Shift Leaders was critical. They were included in the planning and launch of Energy Saving Week in October 2022, which centered on a daily series of 15-minute meetings in each shift. During that time, employees discussed sources of energy waste and steps to reduce it.

The campaign’s slogan, “What You Do Matters,” also involved employees’ families, with take-home educational materials on how to conserve energy, along with special contests and prizes for 40 children who participated in a sustainability poster contest.

Winners received water bottles with the slogan and tips for conserving energy that they were encouraged to take to school and show to their classmates. The posters are displayed at the plant, including one by Langner-Sobczak’s 10-year-old son Franek. His drawing shows a famous Polish football star behind the wheel of an electric vehicle.

“By including everyone, it is not just my story, it is our story,” said Stankiewicz. “It becomes a common effort and is much more effective.”

Collaboration = Results

After Energy Saving Week, the number of ideas related to energy reduction increased by 300%. Savings followed. A repeat audit conducted in February 2023 found “a lot of improvement,” according to the team. Energy consumption decreased by 55%. Efforts are under way to reduce that even further, and to develop a plan to achieve Net-Zero, a target of completely offsetting the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the operation.

“It’s not just about me,” he explained. “It’s about the people we love and care about. It’s about our future.”

Rafał Kubiak, General Manager Poznań

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