North Carolina-based school bus manufacturer Thomas Built Buses has been recognized as Steward of the Year by that state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
The award came during the annual DEQ-hosted annual Environmental Stewardship Initiative (ESI) Conference, where members were recognized for their commitment to environmental excellence.
ESI is a non-regulatory program established in 2002 with the goal of promoting superior environmental performance by North Carolina organizations. This initiative encourages the development and implementation of pollution prevention programs and innovative approaches to exceed regulatory requirements. Over the past two decades, ESI members have collectively reduced water usage by over 15.4 billion gallons and waste sent to landfills by 4.2 million tons. Since the inception of the program, ESI members have reported total financial savings (based on environmental reductions) exceeding $102.8 million.
ESI currently has 102 members across North Carolina, and consists of three levels: Partners, Rising Stewards, and Stewards, the highest level of achievement. This year, the program is made up of 30 Stewards, 10 Rising Stewards, and 62 Partners. Thomas Built Buses has been a member since 2011.
“At Thomas Built Buses, we are committed to environmental excellence,” said Scott Fister, Thomas Built’s environmental engineering supervisor. “This commitment extends beyond the creation of clean drive technologies to sustainable manufacturing practices, waste reduction and material reuse. As the first school bus manufacturer to achieve zero-waste-to-landfill operations and a longtime member of the Environmental Stewardship Initiative, we are honored by the recognition.”
“All the facilities involved in the state’s Environmental Stewardship Initiative have committed to going above and beyond to protect our natural resources,” said DEQ Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser. “Their efforts benefit both our environment and our economy.”
A subsidiary of Daimler Truck North America (DTNA), Thomas Built Buses is part of a global commitment to sustainable efforts, with goals to reduce volatile organic compounds, energy consumption, waste generation, and water consumption. The company also aims for CO2-neutral new vehicle production by 2025.