Owens Corning Releases Eighth Annual Sustainability Report

Owens Corning announced significant progress toward achieving its 2020 environmental footprint goals and declared its intentions to expand its handprint beyond the walls of its facilities. The company released those results recently in its eighth annual Sustainability Report. The company defines its handprint as the net-positive effects of its products, market-leading work to drive energy efficiency and climate-impact improvements across the built environment, and improving the lives of employees, their families and their communities.

“Dedicating time and energy to achieving our sustainability goals, expanding our handprint, is one way we are striving to be better, every day, as a company,” said Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Frank O’Brien-Bernini. “This effort includes the products we offer, collaborating with customers to increase the positive impact of those products in the world and productively engaging in our communities.”

The report also highlights Owens Corning’s distinction as the winner of the exclusive Green Cross for Safety medal from the National Safety Council for leadership and progress in safety. In 2013, the company extended its industry-leading track record of safety achievement with performance comparable to 2012.

Building on the successes of its first 10-year sustainability goals, this is the third year the company is reporting against its 2020 goals. Introduced in 2011, the company’s 2020 goals were designed to expand the scope and further raise the bar on its commitment to sustainability.

“Our footprint reduction accomplishments are representative of the progress we have made this past year,” O’Brien-Bernini said. “We’ve received growing interest and support for our net-positive handprint accounting . It has led us to consider new business models and new ways of serving our customers that we hadn’t considered before.”

Highlights of 2013 include:

    · Commissioned the largest on-site solar PV system in the state of New York at the Delmar EcoTouch™ Insulation plant.

    · Recycled one million tons of asphalt shingles in North America, representing approximately 10 percent of the market.

    · Doubled our freight miles driven on natural gas (converted from diesel), paving the way to run 15 percent Natural Gas Miles in 2014; the goal is 50 percent by 2020.

    · Signed the Climate Declaration calling on the U.S. policymakers to address climate change and joined the Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP) advocacy organization.

    · Assisted nearly 4,000 families through the donation of insulation and roofing materials for their homes.

    · Impacted the lives of more than 5,500 children in China by constructing nutritional food kitchens in rural schools.

Owens Corning’s 2013 Sustainability Report is consistent with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines known as GRI-G3.1. GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines set a globally applicable framework for reporting the economic, environmental and social dimensions of an organization’s activities, products and services.

Whether Hands-free, Handheld, Texting or Talking, Distracted Driving Is Deadly

The Washington, D.C.-based National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an independent safety agency, recently recommended a total ban of all mobile-device use while driving. According to Deborah Hersman, the chairman of the NTSB, distraction-related crashes killed 3,092 people in 2010, “the equivalent of a regional jet crash every week.”

Every year, drivers–distracted by the use of mobile devices–cause 636,000 crashes, 342,000 injuries and 2,600 deaths. The financial toll is staggering: $43 billion per annum. While some politicians argue about the science behind distracted driving, experts agree: mobile-device use impairs driving ability. According to a study at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, talking on a mobile device reduces the amount of brain activity related to driving by 37 percent. Further, recent studies show hands-free mobile devices are no safer to use while driving than handheld mobile devices. Distracted drivers have slower reaction times, and the odds of a crash are four times more likely when a driver uses a mobile device. Critically, many scientists believe these distractions make drivers as collision- prone as having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, the legal limit.

Legal Landscape

In the last 10 years, courts have seen an “explosion” of distracted-driving cases.

In the last 10 years, courts have seen an “explosion” of distracted-driving cases.

In the last 10 years, courts have seen an “explosion” of distracted-driving cases. In the last five years, juries–emboldened by a “profits over safety” trial theme–have rendered numerous multimillion dollar verdicts, as evidenced by the sample verdicts in Figure 1, left.

The claims in these cases are easy to allege but difficult to disprove. This is because the precise time of the accident often is not known and the telematics data and mobile-device records—once obtained—may show or suggest that the employee was talking on his mobile device, texting and/or emailing in close proximity to the time of the accident. Even if there was no actual distraction, a clever lawyer will argue there is “circumstantial evidence” of driver distraction.

The typical distracted-driving case involves multiple types of claims, including driver negligence, vicarious liability, direct negligence and punitive damages.

Driver Negligence

In states that ban texting and/or the use of handheld cell phones while driving, an employee who is involved in an accident while violating these laws will be negligent per se. Under this doctrine, the mere act of using a mobile device while driving automatically makes the driver negligent.

For states that do not have texting and/or cell-phone bans, courts look at the reasonableness of the driver’s accident-causing behavior. In evaluating behavior, courts will consider state laws, federal regulations, voluntary standards, recognized best practices and common sense. For example, in Scott v. Matlack Inc., the court explained, “it is permissible for a trial court to admit [OSHA] regulations as evidence of the standard of care in the industry in a negligence action.” Likewise, in Peal by Peal v. Smith, the court observed, “the breach of a voluntarily adopted safety rule is some evidence of a defendant’s negligence.”

Pages: 1 2 3 4