Breath of Clarity

Environmental Management Systems: Honeywell


Policy Statement:

The present environmental management systems are based upon a loose law from back in the day. In 1990, the purpose of the original Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) was to be an “aspiration policy law” identifying “significant opportunities for industry to reduce or prevent pollution at the source through cost-effective changes in production, operation, and raw material use” (Mugler, 2020). Source reduction prevents hazardous substances from ever being released in the first place so that a company doesn’t need to put as much focus into how to dispose of materials. Honeywell explains, at every stage of design and creation of any new tool, the corporation takes deliberate steps to enhance its eco-efficiency. At Honeywell, products are assessed according to their ability to “reduce the use of natural resources during manufacture and distribution, increase the energy efficiency of the product itself, reduce waste production, create opportunities to reuse and recycle, offer opportunities to use recycled or renewable materials, reduce and eliminate classified toxic or hazardous materials, be packaged efficiently” (About Us/Sustainability, 2020). The corporation undergoes a very well-rounded approach to source reduction and is making cutting-edge products.

Honeywell uses its own customized, comprehensive Health, Safety, Environment, Product Stewardship (HSEPS) model as its environmental management system based on third-party standards, including ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001, and industry best practices (Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility: Highlights of Our Environmental Safety Achievements). While Honeywell is proud of the environmental improvements achieved in partnering with customers, it also prioritizes standing apart from other multi-national corporation in terms of conducting activities within its own businesses as a true environmental steward. With 1000 locations devoted to its internal business endeavors worldwide, Honeywell views its establishment as a fascinating opportunity to “install a wide range of technologies that feature products from its own portfolio” (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Employee health, morale and engagement is a key component of its environmental management system. Honeywell’s Sustainable Opportunity Policy logic entails “by integrating health, safety and environmental considerations into all aspects of our business, Honeywell protects its people, communities and the environment; achieves sustainable growth and accelerated productivity; drives compliance with all applicable regulations; and develops technologies that expand the capacity of our world” (About Us/Sustainability, 2020). Honeywell Operating System (HOS) is the company’s internal communication tool designed to support consistent, ongoing improvement in terms of eliminating waste in manufacturing operations. Honeywell has created HOS so the activities and culture used to drive sustainability are valued in the same platform as other critical operational objectives, such as inventory, delivery, and cost (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). The priority is health and safety, which leads to environmentally protective results and successful scaling.

Significant Impact:

Honeywell is responsible for producing chemical waste as part of its past business endeavors. The corporation’s sustainability report explains, “with our roots partly in the chemical industry, we have environmental remediation issues arising out of operations in the past, mostly in business Honeywell closed or sold years ago. We are responsibly addressing those issues using world-class science, design and engineering to protect human health and the environment” (About Us/Sustainability, 2020). However, even in 2019, Honeywell was named one of two potentially responsible parties for cleanup of contaminated soils and sediments at the LCP- Holtrachem plant in Riegelwood, North Carolina (United States Department of Justice, 2019). It’s listed on EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL). The site is roughly 24 acres away from the Cape Fear River while the company’s headquarters are in Charlotte, North Carolina. From 1963-2000, the plant produced chemicals such as hydrogen gas, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, liquid bleach, and liquid chlorine using a mercury cell process. Honeywell is responsible for “historic industrial discharges of metals, including mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at the site” (United States Department of Justice, 2019). Also, Honeywell was named responsible for contaminants at the Allied Chemical Ironton Coke site on the banks of the Ohio River (Environmental Protection, 2010). All the cleanup work for that site totals to $75 million. In both cases, Honeywell settled and agreed to compensate the EPA for the area’s restoration under CERCLA. Another Superfund site Honeywell is held responsible for is a 20-square mile contaminated groundwater site encompassing parts of Burbank and North Hollywood, California. Airplanes and other machinery were built there, and chemicals used as industrial solvents were found in the water supply back in 1980. Honeywell, along with Lockheed Martin, agreed to complete a combined $21 million of groundwater treatment projects and studies (Los Angeles AP News, 2018). Clearly, Honeywell has major obligations to fulfill.

Additionally, Honeywell was deemed responsible to cleanup its own site in Pottsville, Pennsylvania at a facility that used acetone stored in an above-ground storage tank. In 2003, 764 gallons of acetone were released into the subsurface from the underground transfer line leading to the process building (EPA, 2020). Honeywell held itself accountable through the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. While, the cleanup is now complete with human exposure and groundwater controlled, the site’s reuse capacity is yet to be determined.

Further, from 2006-2016, Honeywell has imported polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals identified by the EPA (Bloomberg Law, 2020). These chemicals don’t naturally disintegrate in their environment, and they attach to proteins in the human body which may cause health issues. The EPA specifically focused on chemicals still active in commerce, and Honeywell’s impact has been determined to be included in that category. However, the EPA’s list includes Chemical Abstract Service numbers for chemicals describing where each was made, how it’s used, and the volume produced (Bloomberg Law, 2020). So, Honeywell has the opportunity to investigate its impact.


Honeywell also maintains a global inventory of its water usage and targets water conservation projects in areas that are experiencing water stress as defined by the World Resources Institute (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Further, Honeywell maintains a global inventory of waste usage, including both hazardous and non-hazardous metrics. Each strategic business unit is required to establish annual targets, which must be approved by the CEO, for reducing hazardous waste and improving waste diversion rates.

The numerical targets are primarily based on greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency. Honeywell exceeded its first public goal to reduce global greenhouse gases by more than 30% between 2004 and 2011. A second five-year goal, set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 15% per dollar of revenue from 2011 levels, was met three years early. Honeywell exceeded its third goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of revenue from 2013 levels by an additional 10% by end of 2018. In 2019, Honeywell set a new five-year “10-10-10” target to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 10% per dollar of revenue from 2018 levels, to deploy on at least 10 renewable energy opportunities, and to achieve certification to ISO’s 50001 Energy Management Standard at 10 facilities, all by 2024 (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Honeywell exceeded its public goal to improve energy efficiency by more than 20% between 2004 and 2011 and has continued to drive improvements throughout the organization.

Implementation Plan:

Honeywell sees its HSEPS Management system as its anchor in the implementation plan. As part of the system, Honeywell’s larger sites in water-stressed regions are required to maintain a water balance, obtain a water audit on an established cycle, complete an annual self-assessment on water best practices, and train personnel on water management (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). At applicable sites a comprehensive air emission inventory from the HSEPS system is required. Air emissions are monitored and site-level engineering, administrative and operational controls are then developed to control and reduce air emissions (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Waste generation is tracked via the same HSEPS tool.

Performance against targets is monitored by the Corporate Energy and Sustainability Team. The timely development and implementation of process improvements and corrective action plans are closely monitored (Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility: Highlights of Our Environmental Safety Achievements). In addition, Honeywell has developed detailed operational controls in approximately 90 specific HSEPS areas that prescribe required management elements (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Areas where specific operational controls are required include safety, industrial hygiene, loss prevention, environment, health, product stewardship, transportation safety, process safety management, construction safety, remediation and general HSEPS (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Compliance with standards and regulatory requirements is monitored through a companywide, HSEPS-led audit process.

Honeywell assesses suppliers prior to selection . The audits are prioritized by high risk suppliers to include, but not limited to high-risk industries, high growth region countries, high-risk regulatory environments, poor enforcement environments (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Audits are performed by a qualified third-party using a standardized assessment (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). In 2012, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued rules implementing the “conflict minerals” disclosure requirements of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. These rules require Honeywell to undertake reasonable due diligence steps to determine if any of its products contain tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo and bordering countries, and to report to the SEC on its inquiries and the potential use of the substances in its products. Honeywell is committed to the responsible sourcing throughout its global supply chain.

Honeywell is committed to ensuring that products are manufactured to comply with environmental regulations. Honeywell’s Global Product Stewardship team is responsible for the management of environmental compliance activities. Regulatory monitoring combined with expertise and internal procedures ensure that comprehensive programs are in place throughout Honeywell to manage and meet regulatory requirements for regulations such as REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) and RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances), GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals), and WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment). Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer management of the product and its packaging. Honeywell complies with all legal requirements for EPR either directly or by working with accredited recycling partners or schemes to ensure proper end-of-life treatment of its products and avoid any impacts to the environment.


Its employee-first mentality reflected in the policy statement, along with the HOS tool has led to awesome success from thriving internal communication. Honeywell uses energy awareness and events to engage employees in the identification of sustainability-related savings opportunities. For example, its Safety and Productivity Solutions business generated over 200 energy savings ideas with 25% costing little or nothing to implement and potential annualized savings of $500,000 (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Additionally, in Arizona, two Honeywell Aerospace businesses received the 2005 and 2006 Best Workplace for Commuters Award from the EPA. Award selection criteria included the corporation’s efforts to provide multiple commuting opportunities to employees, as well as employee participation in annual survey and transportation programs (Safety and Sustainability Recognitions, n.d.). Honeywell has Voluntary Protection Program Star recognition from the U.S. Occupational Safely and Health Administration (OSHA) at 24 manufacturing sites in the United States (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Under VPP, OSHA works directly with manufacturing plants to ensure they have the processes and, more importantly, the sustainable culture to deliver world-class safety. Honeywell Aerospace received the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Worker Safety Improvement Award for safety performance in 2008-2009 as the result of a 31% improvement in safety incident rates (Safety and Sustainability Recognitions, n.d.). The global Total Case Incident Rate or “TCIR” (the number of occupational injuries and illnesses per 100 employees) was 0.45 at the end of 2017. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the weighted TCIR of the industries in which Honeywell participates is over 2.0. So, Honeywell’s record is four times better than the average of the industries it operates in. Protecting workers effectively demands quality equipment, which is why more than 90% of Honeywell’s budget for personal protective equipment is for its own Honeywell branded products (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Clearly, Honeywell is staying true to its mission of putting its people first to manifest notable improvement in health and efficiency.

Statistics show Honeywell’s sustainable practices are on the rise. Overall, Honeywell has reduced greenhouse gas intensity by more than 90%. Attached is a table outlining specific achievements in metric tons of carbon dioxide with the equivalent dividend by revenue in million U.S. dollars. Since project tracking began in 2010, more than 4,300 efficiency projects have been implemented at Honeywell facilities saving an annualized $80 million. Honeywell increased its own energy efficiency by about 70 percent from 2004-2018 (About Us/Sustainability, 2020). Honeywell executed over 800 LED lighting projects for an annualized savings of $7.5 million, 37,000 metric tons CO2e and 250 BBTU (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Since 2009, the seven Arizona Honeywell Aerospace sites have executed 595 energy projects targeting electricity and water conservation, and these projects have resulted in energy savings of 202 BBTUs and 24.8 million gallons of water. One project highlight is the installation of an automated pH-adjustment system on the cooling towers located at the Phoenix Engines site. This is expected to save 9.4 million gallons of water per year. In addition, Honeywell has diverted over 3.6 million pounds of waste from the local landfills through recycling and reuse. The great scale of these projects brought Honeywell significant progress.

Honeywell emphasizes its environmental liabilities do not relate to current operations, but to former operations and those of predecessor companies. The corporation has spent $4 billion over the last 15 years to cleanup many its sites (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Implementing top-notch science, design, and engineering to protect human health and the environment, Honeywell collaborates with the government and community. In fact, the Honeywell team declares, “we do not consider our cleanups complete until the legacy property has been transformed into a valuable asset for the surrounding community” (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). The high standard has led to some fascinating projects. At Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, Honeywell dredged and capped the lake bed, enabling the best water quality in 100 years. Additionally, the corporation restored and preserved about 1,800 acres of habitat and are planting 1.1 million native plants, shrubs, and trees. More than 260 wildlife species are now calling this area home, and 130 unique bird species have been identified in and around the lake. The aquatic plant community has expanded from less than 12% of shallow-water lake areas to about 80%. Sixty-five species of fish have been documented in recent years, up from nine to 12 counted in the 1970s. A Habitat Technical Working Group was formed to address the complexities of creating, maintaining, or improving the quality and diversity of habitats while promoting public access and recreation. Onondaga Lake is now becoming an economic driver for the region. This group included Honeywell, state and federal agencies and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). The Onondaga lake cleanup team received the 2018 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award from the Syracuse section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The team also received the 2017 Innovation in Project Design for Inland Dredging which is the award presented by IHS Markit, a world leader in critical info, analytics and solutions. Audubon New York presented Honeywell with the 2015 Thomas W. Keesee Jr. Conservation Award for its leadership “in one of the most ambitious environmental reclamation projects in the U.S.” (Safety and Sustainability Recognitions). After all that happened with the sites from the NPL list, It’s noteworthy to see Honeywell is making a strong impact in the water remediation sector.

Honeywell completed a collection projects similar to Onondaga Lake. For example, the Buffalo River Restoration Partnership is a unique public-private-nonprofit partnership, including U.S. EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, Buffalo Niagara River Keeper and Honeywell (Safety and Sustainability Recognitions). Harbor Point, a 27-acre parcel in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, is taking shape as a sustainable and integral part of Baltimore City. The site housed a former Allied Chemical, which is a Honeywell predecessor chrome plant. Remediation was completed under the supervision of federal and state regulators. The Inner Harbor project illustrates the critical importance of establishing a working team of a developer and a responsible party to coordinate remediation with complex construction (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Further, a 95-acre parcel located on the Hackensack River in Jersey City, New Jersey, was formerly used for commercial and industrial purposes. In 2008, the Jersey City Council approved the Bayfront plan, which called for transforming the site into new housing, office, and retail uses, public waterfront access, and plentiful open space. With plans for more than 6,000 residential units, up to 1.2 million square feet of retail and commercial space, more than 20 acres of waterfront parks, bike paths, pedestrian-friendly streets, and a light rail extension for commuters, Bayfront became the centerpiece of revitalization of the city’s west side. Remediation consisting of excavation, capping, and containment, was completed in 2018. All the work was done under the oversight of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the federal court (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Separately, Honeywell has been a key partner in the cleanup of a brownfield site in Niagara Falls. The redevelopment is an excellent examples of how brownfield sites can be returned to productive use as the result of a collaborative partnership among government, local developers, the community, and the private sector (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Honeywell is a great model for how a severely damaged site can be revitalized.

In terms of environmental management systems, Honeywell has developed an array of products tackling source reduction. For example, Honeywell Connected Remote Threat Detection solutions provide enterprise, plant-wide monitoring that gives plant managers information on gas threats, location, biometrics, concentration, and plume status — so an organization can know what’s happening in real time (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Further, Honeywell’s Ecofining process technology converts renewable feedstocks such as waste animal and vegetable fats and non-edible plants into Honeywell Green Diesel and Green Jet Fuel, which are chemically identical to fuels produced from petroleum (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Honeywell Forge for Industrial helps an offshore platform optimize energy usage leading to a reduction in power generation by 5.5%, equivalent to removing over 1,100 averaged-sized automobiles from the roads, permanently. Honeywell’s Automated Demand Response (ADR) technology is based on an innovative two-way connection between energy providers and energy users. On the commercial side, facility managers can preemptively set parameters and directives on what actions to take during a peak energy event – actions that are automatically implemented when the utility sends a signal to onsite building management controls (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). Not only do the products acknowledge the source reduction value, rather, they also satisfy many of the environmental management system principles.

It’s crucial to outline Honeywell’s progress from the EPA’s perspective. In 2016, Honeywell’s plant in Freeport, Illinois, received an EPA award for its outstanding accomplishment reducing the use of mercury, lead and chromic acid in plant operations. At the award’s ceremony EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response said the reduction of mercury is “worthy of national attention” and that Honeywell’s volunteering to enter the program was “collaboration instead of command and control” (Safety and Sustainability Recognition, 2020). In 2004, Honeywell received the Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) “Project of the Year” from the EPA for an innovative landfill gas recovery initiative. The reduction in carbon dioxide air emissions over the life of the project will be equivalent to planting 5,544 square miles of trees. Additionally, Honeywell received an Environmental Excellence Award for 10 years of 100% Compliance with the federal Clean Water Act and the Industrial User Discharge Requirements in Arizona (Safety and Sustainability Recognitions). The above recognitions can be placed alongside the CERCLA and RCRA violations to understand Honeywell’s net impact.


Although Honeywell committed significant environmental damage in the past, the establishment of its environmental management systems was useful in terms of the EPA’s definition. Honeywell carried out “a set of processes and practices that reduced its environmental impacts and increased its operating efficiency” (Mugler, 2020). The corporation executed source reduction techniques including technology modifications with its widely used new products, as well as procedure modifications by implementing the monitoring technology and supply chain standards (Mugler, 2020). After studying Superfund Sites, it became clear to me that potentially responsible parties often don’t make the choice to settle and pay for its damages. However, Honeywell definitely delivered. I did notice a few weak points in my analysis that leads me to believe Honeywell was still “greenwashing” a bit. Honeywell didn’t have much publicly accessible online content about measurable goals, and how its actions coincide with legal requirements. However, overall, Honeywell experienced the environmental management system’s benefits including efficiency, reduced costs, and pollution prevention.Honeywell’s redemption from its past contaminations is well-described through Maria Krysa, a global leader at the corporation. She won the Responsible Care Leader of the Year award in 2007, named by the American Chemistry Council. The award is given to those who provide exceptional leadership in achieving improvement in environmental, health and safety performance beyond levels required by the U.S. government (Safety and Sustainability Recognition, 2020). Responsible Care companies have reduced hazardous releases to the air, land, and water by 84% from 1988 to 2016 and reduced process safety incidents by 56% since 1995 (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). It’s amazing to see the change overtime as Honeywell both takes care of its past mistakes and ultimately has its eyes focused on the future.

The ISO changed its 14001 tenants, as of 2015, and required members to get re-certified before 2018. ISO Chair Anne-Marie Warris explained a main change in the 2015 standard requirements is a stronger focus on leadership (Discover the new ISO 14001:2015!, 2020). Honeywell is a model for the rest of the organizations in terms of bringing the potential out of youth as it acts aligned with its slogan, “the future is what we make it”. Honeywell mentions in its Corporate Citizenship Report, “we know we must always avoid complacency if we want to be regarded as one of the most ethical, progressive, and effectively run corporations in the world” (Corporate Citizen Report, 2018). From the 5 million students who have participated in its STEM programs to the Atlanta teachers trained to drive that count even higher, Honeywell is propelling the world forward. The organization received the International Public Relations Association Golden World Award for its Green Boot Camp (a global, five-day interactive workshop and scholarship program that teaches middle school teachers how to turn their classrooms into fertile ground where ideas about sustainability can thrive) after competing against more than 300 entries. Honeywell honors ISO 14001 mission to have it be “successfully implemented by people of so many different cultures and so many different types of organizations in so many different countries” (ISO 14001 – the world’s EMS standard, 2009). Honeywell has a wide breadth of international sustainable development projects listed on its website. An international positive imprint is a key element of ISO 14001 as it “can also be described as the interesting stories organization with 16,500 international standards” (ISO 14001 – the world’s EMS standard, 2009). In conjunction with considering ISO 14001’s emphasis on source reduction, the notable restoration projects and massive clean energy statistics solidify Honeywell’s status as a corporation with meaningful efforts to support the environment.


Bloomberg Law. “Environment & Energy Report: Honeywell, Chemours Among PFAS Makers on EPA Chemicals List,” March 2020. Accessed May 27 2020.

Environmental Protection Agency. “Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Honeywell International (Aka: Honeywell Specialty Films) in Pottsville, Pennsylvania,” April 2020. Accessed May 27 2020.

Environmental Protection. “Honeywell to Clean Up, Contain Former Tar Plant at Ohio Superfund Site,” April 2010. Accessed May 27 2020.

Honeywell. “About Us/Sustainability,” 2020. Accessed May 27 2020.

Honeywell. “Corporate Citizen Report,” 2018. Accessed May 27 2020.

Honeywell. “Safety and Sustainability Recognitions,” n.d. Accessed May 27 2020.

Honeywell. “Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility: Highlights of Our Environmental Safety Achievements,” n.d. Accessed May 27 2020.

ISO. “Discover the new ISO 14001:2015!” September 23 2015. Accessed May 27 2020.

ISO, “ISO 14001 – the world’s EMS standard”, November 30 2009. Accessed May 27 2020.

Los Angeles AP News. “Feds order Lockheed, Honeywell to clean contaminated water,” June 2018. Accessed May 27 2020.

Mugler, Larry. “Pollution Prevention Act” Online Lecture, University of Denver, 2020.

United States Department of Justice. “United States Reaches Settlement with Honeywell International Inc. and International Paper Co. for Cleanup of Contaminated Soils and Sediments at North Carolina Superfund Site,” April 18 2019. Accessed May 27 2020.

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