Smart Energy Voices- Episode 76

Smart Energy Voices- Episode 76

McCormick’s Recipe for Success – An 'All of the Above' Sustainability Strategy, with Jeff Blankman

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This episode of Smart Energy Voices is a keynote from Smart Energy Decisions’ recent Renewable Energy Forum featuring Jeff Blankman. Jeff is the Sustainable Manufacturing Manager for McCormick & Company and is also an Advisory Board member for Smart Energy Decisions. Jeff’s keynote addresses McCormick’s all-of-the-above sustainability strategy and embodies the essence of the unique corporate buyer presentations only found at SED events.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • McCormick’s sustainability program [01:46]
  • Global climate agreements [05:16]
  • On-site and off-site renewables [11:18]
  • Limitations from a regulatory point of view [13:09]
  • Unbundled RECs [14:15]


Purpose-led Performance Program

Achieving emissions reduction goals requires multiple strategies. McCormick has adopted a multi-pronged approach to achieve its goals. McCormick is more than retail spices. The corporation also owns several brands and has an industrial business selling to other food manufacturers. The company has a well-developed sustainability program, which it calls its Purpose-led Performance Program. The program covers more than environmental sustainability by incorporating people and the community.

If only one company reaches its sustainability goals, globally that would mean failure. Sustainability is an area where everyone needs to do well. People can spend days learning about goal setting and ensuring those goals are realistic and achievable, but when it comes to climate change, worrying about what is realistic or achievable no longer matters. The planet and science-based goals are dictating the pace of goals.


McCormick’s goals

McCormick aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions for Scope 1 and Scope 2 by 42% by 2030. As a longer-term goal, the organization is committed to net zero by 2050. To reach these goals, McCormick is starting with often-underestimated energy efficiency. Chillers for air conditioning and process chilling for manufacturing are notoriously inefficient systems and leave plenty of room to increase efficiency. 

The mechanical rooms in McCormick’s plants have utilities for compressed air, a chiller for making cold water for cooling, steam generators, and water heaters. About 75% of the electricity that goes into the compressed air system is waste heat, while only 25% is usable air. Across the hallway, a water heater burns natural gas to make heat. In several plants, McCormick has been capturing the waste heat off the air compressors, storing it in a tank, and using that hot water for changeovers and other places needed. This process has reduced the natural gas bill for the organization’s water heaters significantly.


Sustainability and renewables

When the average person thinks of sustainability, they don’t picture air chillers; they picture solar panels on roofs. Distributed generation through renewables includes many advantages. An organization makes double use of its space, isn’t taxing the electrical grid, and is instead taking demand off the grid, and transmission losses seen on the grid are avoided. Some limitations exist besides cost, and local incentives differ. Roofs might be in bad shape for solar. A leased building would require the landlord to be involved, and timing with a lease and a PPA might not match, and the property size can limit what solutions are available.

Off-site renewables, by far, hold the organization’s most significant greenhouse gas reduction opportunities. The scale attainable by being off-site is greater than possible with rooftop projects. McCormick, Johns Hopkins University, and TJ Maxx collaborated in the production of the Skipjack Solar Array. This agreement replaces McCormick’s retail electricity purchase contract, so the company receives 100% renewable electricity for four plants at its corporate headquarters. Another project, currently under construction, will power McCormick’s Dallas plant.

Connect with Jeff Blankman

Jeff is the Sustainable Manufacturing Manager for McCormick & Company, the world’s leading producer of spices, seasonings, and flavorings. In this role, he establishes best practices for McCormick’s manufacturing and distribution facilities for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water and waste reduction, and other sustainability initiatives. Prior to his current role, he worked for over 10 years in Project Engineering at McCormick, installing packaging equipment and new packaging production lines. He has 25 years of project management experience in manufacturing. Jeff has both a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the University of Maryland.

Jeff Blankman, Sustainable Manufacturing Manager for McCormick & Company, will review McCormick’s sustainability journey as they work towards their science-based greenhouse gas reduction goal. Using an “all of the above strategy” of energy efficiency, on-site solar arrays, and off-site renewable energy purchases, the Company is well on its way to achieving its 2030 goal and laying the groundwork for its 2050 net-zero goal. Jeff will discuss real-world case studies of implementing successful initiatives while navigating the typical challenges that companies face in their sustainability programs.

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