Stratasys announced sweeping changes that place the company on a direct path to sustainability.
The company announced a “Stratasys Sustainability function” that will coordinate environmental, social and corporate governance. This includes appointing Rosa Coblens as VP of Sustainability. Coblens had previously been Stratasys’ Head of PR and Global Internal Communications. She sits on the board of directors of the Additive Manufacturer Green Trade Association, an industry organization dedicated to moving everyone towards a more sustainable future.
Stratasys CEO Yoav Zeif said:
“The new global economy requires companies to adapt and overcome unexpected challenges, while maintaining a commitment to environmental stewardship. Stratasys is well-positioned to provide production and manufacturing solutions that are resilient, empower local supply chains, and most importantly save lives. For example, during the pandemic we were able to repurpose our ecosystem to support the design, manufacture and delivery of vital personal protective equipment and ventilator parts to the healthcare industry.
Beyond the global pandemic, climate change is a growing worldwide concern. It is our mission to translate our leadership in 3D printing into mindful business applications for our customers – where less waste is produced, and more value derived from the digital processes that drive our manufacturing solutions. This approach is aimed at assisting our customers in reducing their carbon footprint, with less dependency on mass shipment of inventories and parts, shortening and localizing supply chains across industries such as aerospace, automotive, healthcare and consumer products.”
Stratasys is working towards four specifically defined sustainability goals:
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
- Climate Action
- Quality Education
You may think this program could be mere marketing and PR, but I think there’s more to the story. For example, regarding the four sustainability goals above, Stratasys said:
”Measurable goals are being designed as part of Stratasys’ 2022 focus areas.”
To translate this for folks not familiar with how big companies work, it means that management in Stratasys will have specific measurable goals to achieve in 2022 in order to qualify for a monetary bonus. Bonus programs are a highly effective method of “getting things done” in big companies such as Stratasys. It seems clear to me that Stratasys is deadly serious about this effort.
Another clue is that they’ve appointed a VP, Rosa Coblens, dedicated to sustainability. That’s another approach used in big companies: if you want something to get more attention, put someone in charge of it. The appointment of a VP-level position is notable, and not something I’ve seen often — or at all — in other additive manufacturing companies.
At least not yet.
Stratasys could be setting some excellent precedents here that hopefully will be followed by others in the industry. It may be time for us to determine which 3D printing companies have sustainability programs, and which do not.
Time for a little story.
Nine years ago I was at Stratasys HQ on a plant tour. During the tour I found myself walking between buildings with some other folks and the conversation drifted into climate change. I explained the then-future problem of melting permafrost in the Arctic that would release methane, creating an unstoppable cycle of heating and further melting. Those listening expressed severe doubt and dismissed my statements, and no more was said.
Today, nine years later at that same headquarters, Stratasys is fully on board with sustainability as a corporate objective.
Times have changed at Stratasys, and so they should change everywhere.