This month we introduce you to Steve Kooy, Global Sustainability Manager at Haworth Inc., one of the members who helps make our network so unique.
Why did you join NAEM?
I joined NAEM to build my network of EHS and Sustainability professionals. I specifically wanted to find a network of professionals that focused on the technical and/or practical implementation of emerging trends.
What are currently working on?
I am in the middle of revising our sustainability program. After approximately seven years of implementing the strategy, our team and executive leadership agreed that a refresh was needed. Work includes new, aggressive goals and changes in our messaging.
What do you like about your job?
I enjoy the diverse nature of my job. I routinely work with all levels of the company in any given day. Secondly, the traditional EHS portion keeps me close to manufacturing while the sustainability portion of my job offers the opportunity to look far more strategically and holistically.
Has your environmental program received any awards or recognition? If so, what?
Last year our Shanghai, China facility received the Cleaner Production in China award. After three rounds of audits and 17 projects documented, the team received this prestigious award.
What is your biggest challenge in your current role?
I spend a lot of time working with leaders within the company as we seek to balance short-term pressures versus long-term strategic initiatives.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the work we completed in China and India. I was fortunate to work with our teams in each country to create a best in class EHS+S program. Both groups are ISO14001-certified and have LEED-certified buildings. Our facility in India was one of the first 10 sites in the country to be registered by the USGBC.
What advice would you have for someone entering the field today?
Practice your sales skills. Most of your accomplishments are the result of convincing someone to add a budget item, a resource, a project to their already full plate of activities. Calculating the carbon footprint of your operation is relatively easy compared to the conversations at multiple levels to make it a priority.
What are the three words your spouse/colleagues/best friends would use to describe you?
Honest, personable, strategic
What aspect to the natural world/environment impresses you the most? Why?
If find the natural world extremely complex in its design. We can learn so much more from the world around us. The field of biomimicry has a lot to offer.
What do you like to do during your free time?
Spend time with my wife, kids and church. I'm fortunate to come home to a family full of activity which allows me to attend sporting events, orchestra concerts and theatre.