Operational Discipline

Operating our manufacturing and distribution facilities responsibly is a priority and strength for our company. Over the last 10 years, we have invested heavily in capital improvement projects that have lessened the energy intensity and water use at many of our facilities. We continually strive to maximize facility efficiency and lessen the environmental impacts in our local communities, while at the same time providing a safe workplace that promotes and protects the health and safety of our people.

Management Approach

Our company-wide EHS Global Policy sets the standard for our approach to operational discipline and responsibility. Our EHS Council provides guidance and recommendations to our senior management team on how best to meet the expectations of our EHS policy, and to manage EHS matters within our facilities. The Council is composed of EHS professionals throughout our company and meets monthly to share best practices and discuss key topics. The Council, working alongside our company’s operating personnel, has incorporated lean thinking into our manufacturing operations through a structured and scientific approach to problem solving. 

Our approach to lean manufacturing drives us to look at the root cause, test solutions, evaluate the impact and adjust the approach to our operations, resulting in operational discipline and continuous improvement.


We recognize our responsibility to be good stewards of the resources we use in our operations and to mitigate the impact we have on the environment. Through this work, we can be good neighbors to our communities and provide the highest value to our customers. We track and report various metrics to ensure our efforts are effective, including greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1 and scope 2) and emissions intensity, energy intensity and green power usage. Relevant data is provided in the Environmental Performance Data section of this report.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) Reduction Targets

In 2020 we adopted our first GHG emissions reduction goal:

10% GHG Emissions Intensity Reduction by 2025*

This goal was developed as the result of a strategic GHG emissions reduction initiative. Working alongside ERM, a leading global provider of sustainability consulting services, we systematically identified opportunities in manufacturing operations, that will reduce and conserve water, gas and electricity consumption and associated GHG emissions.

* baseline is 2019 and scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions.


Resource Efficiency

The A. O. Smith Chairman’s Green Star Award program is the primary driver for resource efficiency improvements across our business. This award is presented annually to the facility that has demonstrated significant year-over-year improvements in their environmental impacts. All of our global manufacturing operations are eligible to participate in this competition which provides well-earned recognition to the winning facility. The Green Star Award criteria include:

  • Clean environmental compliance record (no penalties, fines or notices of violation);
  • Measured reduction in energy, gas and water consumption over the prior three years; and
  • Green manufacturing projects the facility implemented to achieve sustainability benefits and operational cost savings.

Waste Management

In our water treatment business, plastic accounts for approximately 90% of total product weight. Therefore, managing the plastic waste associated with our manufacturing processes is our biggest waste management opportunity. We have incorporated two critical steps into our manufacturing processes to reduce plastic waste: plastic waste is ground back into pellets for reuse in plastic injection molding machines; and surplus reground pellets are donated to third parties for recycling elsewhere. These steps have helped us to substantially eliminate plastic waste from our manufacturing process and almost eliminate the cost of plastic waste management.


The safety of our people is always at the forefront of what we do. 

Our formal recognition of workplace safety began in 1954 when we initiated the annual Lloyd B. Smith President’s Safety Award. This was long before the establishment of OSHA and associated U.S. safety regulations. The criteria for receiving the President’s Safety award include performance in: 

  • Total recordable incident rate (TRIR)1
  • Days away, restricted duty, job transfer (DART)2
  • Lost workday incidence rate3

Our Excellence in Safety Awards recognize sites for achieving OSHA total recordable incident rates that are better than industry standards. Awards were given in 2019 in three categories:

  • Gold TRIR: <25 percent of the industry standard (2019 Recipients: Haltom City, Cookeville, El Paso, Franklin, Lebanon, Stratford, Veldhoven, Nanjing's 3 plants, Bengaluru, Milwaukee)
  • Silver TRIR: <50 percent of the industry standard (2019 Recipient: Juárez)
  • Bronze TRIR: <75 percent of the industry standard (2019 Recipients: Ashland City, Fergus, Johnson City)
1 TRIR defined as significant work-related injuries or illnesses beyond first aid, calculated per OSHA formula (Number of Incidents x 200,000 / total number of hours worked in a year)
2 DART defined as serious work-related injuries or illnesses that result in one or more lost work days, restricted duty or job transfer, calculated per OSHA formula (Total number of incidents or illnesses resulting in either the worker missing work, being on restricted duty, or being transferred to another job within the organization x 200,000) / total number of hours worked in a year
3 Lost Workday Incident Rate defined as number of lost work days, calculated per OSHA formula (Number of days lost due to injury/illness x 200,000) / total number of hours worked in a year)

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