YKK Macon manufacturing generally hosts around 40 customer tours/meetings each year. When I am presenting an overview to them, I usually make the comment that YKK was “green” before it was cool to say it. That always gets a smile or a chuckle out of most people, but it is very true. Our founder, Mr. Tadao Yoshida, talked about environmental pollution in the 70’s and how each one of us should take responsibility for it and not blame others [“How YKK Sees and Thinks Book #2 – Chapter 25]. Our Environmental Pledge, stated below, is our decree that we will, as a company, take that responsibility very seriously and not just as words on paper.
“It is recognized today as being a most important duty for all humankind that we preserve the abundantly endowed global environment and that we transfer it to the next generation in a sound condition. The YKK Group proclaims that it will address and promote ‘harmony with the environment’ as the highest priority of its business activities.” September 20, 1994
As we have learned, or re-learned in our 40,000 Employee Forum, harmonizing with the environment was at the core of our founder Tadao Yoshida’s business philosophy. It is also a point of pride to realize that Mr. Yoshida’s vision of a “factory in a forest” is symbolized by the Chesney Road facility in our Macon location.
If you question whether YKK takes this Fundamental Behavior seriously, please ask one of our environmental mangers and/or ECC committee members. YKK Corporation of America established the Environmental Compliance Committee [ECC] in 2011. The function of this committee is to help ensure that each company stays compliant with the ever-changing environmental legal landscape within each country or region. The committee consists of key members from all of the countries in the NCA region. The ECC meets at least once per quarter to share ideas, to discuss issues within the region, to provide training and information, and to assist each other as problems arise. Another activity of the ECC is to perform compliance audits of all companies in the region on a regular basis. The ECC has evolved and grown over the years to the extent that it is recognized throughout all of YKK Group as an effective tool to help achieve the YKK vision of a sustainable society.
We have a sound foundation of environmental activity but we do not need to get complacent. The world is changing every day, with new risks and new opportunities to innovate. I challenge each of you to stay diligent in our duty to pass a better environment to the next generation and the next. I urge your participation in the “Ocmulgee River Alive” trash cleanup in Macon during October. Simply look around in your plants and buildings to participate in our recycling efforts that are designated with banners and signs. A small effort by each of us, at each opportunity, over time, will generate positive results and realize this Fundamental Behavior.
Vice President – Manufacturing Operations
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.