Promotion of plug-in vehicles is at the heart of every EV enthusiast, regardless of whether we are associated with a non-profit, for profit, educational or governmental institution.
In 2013, the Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a Workplace Charging Challenge and many employers across the nation have been using the guidelines. Not too many in New Jersey, though.
Colgate-Palmolive, History and Sustainability
I have been lucky to be employed by Colgate-Palmolive in their Global Technology Center in Piscataway, NJ since 2007. The company is among the oldest in the nation with 214-year history. For reference, P&G has 182 years and Unilever 90 years. The company business started as completely sustainable, with a product made from a waste of food industry - fat, converted to a value product of daily hygiene - bar soap - useful to masses, packaged in biobased carton and all being perfectly biodegradable. Today, Colgate-Palmolive is a global leader in Consumer products, encompassing Oral Care, Personal Care and Home Care. Sustainability and transparency are among the key pillars of its business.
Development of Workplace Charging Program
The company has been supporting employees with plugin electric cars since 2015 and empowering them to promote sustainable transportation. In 2015, we have invited the President of NJ Electric Auto Association and VP of Plugin America, Michael Thwaite, to give a seminar on Electric Vehicles. Since then, we have been hosting EV showcases annually to bring awareness about clean transportation to our employees. As the on-site EV advocate and guru, I have created a team, which included stakeholders from HR, Sustainability, Facilities, Security and contractors to manage the workplace charging program. Later in 2015, we have installed six Level 2 charging stations (ChargePoint Network), and in 2018, facilities added 6 more units (SemaConnect).
All of them are available to our employees as well as to our visitors free of charge. We have created an email group to communicate tips & tricks, to report outages and to improve charger sharing. We have experienced only a few occasions of ICEing and these have been addressed through security.
EV Shows at Colgate-Palmolive
The annual EV shows at CP have been supported by local EV enthusiasts, who always showed up to share their experiences driving electric. Among others, Alexander Brown, with whom I have opened the Central Jersey chapter of EAA in October 2019. Employees love EV shows and it became a nice tradition, with new model additions every year. We also invited state climatologist and Rutgers Professor David Robinson, who gave a seminar on climate change in 2017.
Since we have gained momentum in electrification among our employees, we wanted to join the 2019 National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) events around the country to demonstrate our commitment to the planet and our consumers. During the event scheduled on Thursday, September 26th, 2019 at our Global Technology Center in Piscataway NJ, employees with Plug-In vehicles as well as Alexander Brown (EAA), Kathy Frenchu (EAA), Jennifer Sacks (Rutgers) and Thomas Caccese (Ray Catena Porsche), showed 12 plugin electric vehicles and communicated the benefits to their colleagues. Some even offered rides. The vehicles on display were Tesla Model 3, Model X, Chevy Bolt, Chevy Volt, Jaguar i-Pace, Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius Prime and Porsche Panamera 4E.
Other activities included educational posters, trivia, raffles, pledge signing, display by NJ DEP and NJClean Energy Program. The event had around 500 visitors - employees and contractors. The leadership team was represented by Ann Tracy, VP Global Sustainability & EOHS, who expressed her support and interest in EVs.
Our efforts paid off, the EV mailing group has almost 30 users as of today and is growing. In 2019, we have received the highest tier EV Award from Keep Middlesex Moving for our achievements. We are hearing that other companies in NJ now follow our EV awareness model, including SHI and Johnson & Johnson.
The company is stepping up its sustainability efforts by forming Green Teams in the campus to engage employees to think creatively about sustainability actions targeting energy, waste and water conservation. The recently installed solar generation canopy over the parking lot will be fitted with additional EV chargers. The company was also recognized as an Industry Leader by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for Third Consecutive Year.
***Disclosure: Author of this article is an employee of Colgate-Palmolive company.