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Electronica-Azi International no. 1
March 2021

Sustaining the Industry and the Environment

24 MARCH 2021

Digi-Key’s new facility features a roof built with a white membrane to reflect the sun’s heat.

Sustainability is vitally important for the electronic components industry, from both a business and environmental standpoint.

Not only is corporate responsibility key to addressing and mitigating factors that can contribute to climate change, such as pollution from increased energy consumption, packaging waste, inefficient shipping practices and more, but it can also be valuable to the bottom line like reducing the amount of resources needed to run a business. In turn, these practices are also good for our customers.

Digi-Key’s new facility features an energy efficient MT system.

At Digi-Key, sustainability is woven into every aspect of our business. We aim to be a positive corporate steward of resources in our local communities and around the world with the intent to create a positive legacy we can all be proud of.

Striving for continual improvement

Our approach to sustainable practices is one of continual improvement and optimization. We consistently and proactively seek out opportunities to implement solutions across our business to reduce the use of resources, increase efficiencies, and promote volunteer opportunities. Continual improvement also involves continual learning through benchmarking with others in the industry, our partners, customers, and lessons learned.

Digi-Key is proud to have our Environmental Management System certified to ISO 14001. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the set of criteria that provides a framework for measuring and improving the company’s environmental impact.

For the last five years, Digi-Key’s Purchasing team has volunteered to serve as the Thief River Falls Adopt-a-River clean-up crew.

Digi-Key’s new product distribution center in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, is a prime example of this continual improvement mindset. Throughout the design process, we have worked to identify the most efficient and sustainable practices to ensure our facility adheres to the highest health and environmental best practices possible. Some of these practices may be quite simple, such as building the roof with a white membrane to reflect the sun’s heat, while others are quite complex, such as exploring opportunities with renewable energy sources.

New construction is not the only opportunity for improvements. We have taken on aggressive retrofit projects at our existing facility, such as an ionized air purification system, sensor-activated LED lights, high-efficiency water heaters and more.

Digi-Key employees also participate in environmental volunteer opportunities through the Digi-Key Cares program. Our IT and Purchasing departments have adopted sections of local highway for cleanups, and for the last five years the Purchasing department has also adopted a section of the local river. These Digi-Key employees donate their time twice a year to clean the miles of banks and ditches of these areas eliminating more than 135 kilos of litter each year.

Sustainability in everything

Digi-Key’s facility features energy efficient lighting.

With more than 2.6 million products in stock and available for immediate shipment at our U.S. facility, efficient and innovative materials handling and packaging practices are vital to ensuring that customers receive their orders quickly with as little waste as possible. We purposefully designed our conveying system to use as little energy as possible while maximizing efficiency. We also use several types of paper-based recycled materials in our packaging, which limits the amount of plastic and foam used in shipments.

Digi-Key’s annual recycling outweighs the amount of waste generated, while promoting the re-use of materials as much as possible. For example, we donate our bubble wrap to a local company, collect and donate our aluminum cans to a local non-profit for recycling, provide corrugate to be reused by employees for personal use, and even sell or give used office equipment to employees when possible.

We also encourage our partners to utilize sustainable practices in their operations. As a hub for the top shippers in the U.S., we take pride in our carriers’ efforts such as committing and making progress towards converting a portion of their fleet to alternate fuel or advanced tech, improving fuel efficiency by significant percentages, and converting a percentage of its electricity usage to renewable energy.

Take pride in efforts

We strive for excellence in all that we do at Digi-Key, and minimizing our environmental footprint is one of the many ways we aim to serve our global community of customers. As one of the largest distributors of electronics components, we are proud to be constantly developing new and innovative solutions to reduce the use of resources while maintaining the high level of service and product selection our customers rely on.

Digi-Key is one of the world’s largest, full-service distributors of electronics components, offering more than 11.5 million products with over 2.6 million in stock and available for immediate shipment, from more than 1,500 quality, name-brand manufacturers.

Authors:


Sandi Bevington
,
Manager of corporate certifications at Digi-Key Electronics


Shane Heinle
,
Senior supervisor, ESD program control at Digi-Key Electronics


Rick Harris

Director, facility and system management at Digi-Key Electronics

Digi-Key Electronics   |    https://www.digikey.com
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