On May 15, more than 207,000 Saint-Gobain employees throughout the world – including 25,000 in North America – celebrated the company's third annual International Environment, Health and Safety Day.
"The aim of this special day is to underline the importance of the environment, health and safety within Saint-Gobain," says Jacques Aschenbroich, CEO of Pennsylvania-based Saint-Gobain Corporation. "It's a great opportunity for us to come together with co-workers from more than 50 different countries to reaffirm our collective commitment to safeguarding ourselves, our colleagues and our environment."
At more than 350 manufacturing and distribution locations in the United States and Canada, Saint-Gobain employees took part in activities ranging from health screenings to community cleanups to fire extinguisher training and “forklift safety rodeos.”
Although many of the activities were lighthearted, the underlying message was serious. "As the world's largest building materials company, we are only too well aware that buildings are responsible for nearly 50 percent of energy consumption in the USA – far more than industry or transportation. Americans are devoting more and more of their income to heating and cooling their homes, with consumer spending on energy topping $500 billion in 2007," says Aschenbroich.
The International Environment, Health & Safety Day educated employees about what Saint-Gobain is doing to help find solutions to these global issues. Said Aschenbroich, "Saint-Gobain spends $563 million a year on research & development, much of it focused on producing energy efficient materials for the home and office of the future. As well as more traditional products – such as insulation and energy-efficient roofing – we're developing technology for cleaner energy sources such as solid oxide fuel cells and solar panels. Saint-Gobain has spent 20 years developing a strong health and safety culture which emphasizes respect for individual workers and their right to a safe workplace. Now we are using this special day to encourage employees to think about the future of the planet and what they can do – both at work and at home – to protect the environment we all share."