Strategic Sustainability

Among the growing green markets across the U.S. and Canada, recycling operations, electric vehicles, and supporting technology are making inroads.

By BF Editors
From the May/June 2022 Issue

Sustainability is a broad term that means different things to different stakeholders and perspectives. As communities throughout the United States and Canada grapple with the opportunities and challenges presented by both established and evolving sustainability goals of business, leaders must consider the types of solutions that will spur economic growth and business interest.

Cedar Hill, Texas: Green Collar Job Creation

In Cedar Hill, TX, the city council recently approved an agreement with Pratt Industries, Inc. (through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Pratt Corrugated Holdings, Inc.) to locate a Regional Manufacturing & Innovation Center at High Point 67. Pratt will be the primary tenant on the High Point 67 campus, occupying one million square feet and investing more than $200 million in equipment, inventory, and building improvements.

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The beauty of these Bluebonnets in Cedar Hill, TX are a backdrop to the growing business climate. (Photo: Cedar Hill Development Corporation)

Pratt is America’s fifth largest corrugated packaging company and the world’s largest, privately-held producer of 100% recycled containerboard. The Georgia-based company operates an extensive Recycling Company to supply five of the most modern, 100% recycled paper mills in the country.

Pratt’s Cedar Hill facility will employ 150 full-time workers to manufacture corrugated boxes and custom packaging solutions.

“We’re very honored to be in Cedar Hill and we’re committed to the great state of Texas—in fact this is our fifth box factory here,” said Anthony Pratt, Executive Chairman of Pratt Industries. “We have long prided ourselves on the fact that we employ 11,000 Americans in well-paying, green-collar manufacturing jobs and we have now invested in America to the value of $10 billion. Cedar Hill will be our 71st factory in the USA.”

“The City’s partnership with Hillwood on the High Point 67 project is already bearing fruit for our community through significant capital investment and well-paying green-collar jobs,” said Cedar Hill Mayor, Stephen Mason. “I am thrilled to welcome Pratt Industries to Cedar Hill as a company that shares our values of community partnership and environmental sustainability. Pratt’s Regional Manufacturing and Innovation Center is one more example of opportunities growing naturally in Cedar Hill.”

Pratt plans to sponsor a training and development program in collaboration with the city and school district. “Pratt believes in investing in our employees and the communities where we live, work and serve,” said Mike Tansey, President of Pratt’s Southwest Converting Division. “We have a strong history of providing continuous education, apprenticeships and on-the-job training opportunities for our employees. This joint collaboration with Cedar Hill and the school district is a great opportunity for us to encourage and invest in the community’s young talent and to help them find meaningful employment and long term financial stability.”

High Point 67, located on S. US-67 south of Mount Lebanon Road, is a Class A logistics and manufacturing center with up to two million square feet. Developed by Hillwood, the project is expected to generate more than $200 million in capital investment and support the creation of hundreds of jobs in Cedar Hill. The project’s location provides excellent highway visibility and access, proximity to an abundant workforce, and connectivity to the region.

Windsor-Essex, Ontario: Low Carbon Leader

The Windsor-Essex region of Ontario is situated at the heart of the richest consumer market in the world, with more than 200 million people located within a 13-hour drive. The region is directly linked to the busiest commercial Canada–U.S. border crossing, handling approximately one third of all Canada–U.S. trade of nearly C$1 billion daily. The region’s prime location, quality of life, great economic prospects and highly skilled workforce make it an easy decision when considering an ideal place to start or expand one’s business.

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Canada’s publicly accessible virtual reality (VR) CAVE serves as a commercialization tool to support connected and autonomous vehicle development. (Photo: Invest WindsorEssex)

Building on the region’s rich history in the development and production of the automobile, Windsor-Essex is now embarking on future trends of the automotive industry, including the development and production of connected, autonomous and electric vehicles.

Organizations across the Windsor-Essex region have partnered to develop a coordinated approach to grow and sustain an automobility cluster. Automobility is the secure, zero-emission movement of people, goods and services using advanced information technologies. It is the future of mobility, and it has arrived in Windsor-Essex.

The Windsor-Essex region is emerging as a North American leader in low carbon and zero-emission transportation. The region is not only adopting the electric vehicle infrastructure to support government targets, but both Stellantis and Ford have committed to investing billions into their Windsor operations. These investments will help build electric vehicles, including manufacturing Hybrid Pacifica Minivans and advance the region in electric vehicle research and development.

Most recently, Stellantis N.V. and LG Energy Solution (LGES) announced they would invest $4.1 billion USD to build an electric vehicle battery plant. It will be the first large-scale, domestic electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in Canada. The plant will be in Windsor, Ontario—Canada’s automobility capital. Construction on the 4.5-million square-foot plant is expected to begin later this year with a targeted launch in the first quarter of 2024. The new project will be a catalyst for the creation of a strong battery supply chain across the Windsor-Essex region.

Stellantis also recently announced two new electrified vehicle platforms for the Windsor Assembly Plant and a 100,000-square-foot electric battery lab that will be added to the company’s Automotive Research and Development Centre (ARDC) in partnership with the University of Windsor. The new battery lab will be central to Stellantis’ R&D operations in North America and serve the company’s worldwide needs for technology, process, and product development.

“It further cements that Windsor is going to be the battery capital of Canada and probably North America,” Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association President Flavio Volpe said.

Windsor-Essex is also home to Canada’s largest publicly accessible virtual reality (VR) CAVE and the Canadian Automobility Hub. The VR CAVE serves as a commercialization tool to support connected and autonomous vehicle development through virtual reality and prototyping. VR provides opportunities to aid in product development, including simulation, skills training and collaboration. Virtual prototyping allows processes to be tested before verification with physical prototypes is performed.

A first for Canada, the Canadian Automobility Hub is “a great milestone contributing to the necessary economic evolution of our region. It offers a suite of resources and services, including a state-of-the-art ramp-up factory, to enable and support a network of innovative entrepreneurs and businesses interested in advancing the market for electric, zero-emission, as well as connected and automated vehicle technology and infrastructure,” said Stephen MacKenzie, President and CEO of Invest WindsorEssex, the lead economic development agency for the region.

Whether you are gearing up to start a new business or expanding your company, Windsor-Essex has the right resources to ensure your success. The future is Windsor-Essex! Cross into Canada’s automobility capital.

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