“Environmental issues have always been important in Louisiana, but it has been gaining a lot of momentum in recent years,” says Tony Schultz, ESG Manager at EMR’s Southern Region.
As a global leader in sustainable materials, we have a longstanding commitment to supporting both environmental and social causes in the communities where we operate – and it is a culture Tony hopes to build on at our sites across the US Gulf Coast.
Most recently, Tony has put our backing behind the Water Wise Gulf South Model, to encourage the creation of green infrastructure projects in New Orleans. We have also donated to a new Ronald McDonald House, to support the families of sick children in the city’s downtown area, as well as supporting the Scotlandville Community Development Corporation, which provides financial support and education for some of Baton Rouge’s poorest families.
“The support EMR offers will usually come in the form of providing volunteers to help a charity or by sponsoring a particular project or event,” says Tony. “In the case of New Orleans’s new Ronald McDonald House, we have sponsored a room, enabling more parents to be close to their children during their treatment or care – without facing huge personal costs.”
In addition, Tony has spearheaded our role in the creation of a community garden, located near our New Orleans Mid City site. Alongside investment in storm water management – ensuring that pollution doesn’t contaminate the city during flooding – this work underlines our commitment to creating a greener, more nature-positive neighborhood, both for our staff and for the New Orleans community as a whole.
And while the benefits of this support speak for themselves, Tony says that reaching out to the community has also helped raise our profile: “Most people will only know about EMR if they need to recycle material with us. By supporting events and projects we are able to meet and help people who are not our customers.”
In the 25 years since Tony began working for EMR, he has seen a steady increase in the importance of environmental issues to customers and communities, sparked by concerns about climate change, pollution and, of course, the ongoing impact of Hurricane Katrina.
Tony’s career at EMR began in 1997 after working at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, enforcing standards for a range of businesses and industries within the state.
“One of the places I inspected was Southern Recycling - as the business was then known - and I found a really positive, forward-thinking atmosphere across its sites. They had a position open as the Environmental Safety Director, so I switched from being a regulator to working in the private sector.
“An early project, I supported International Shipbreaking LLC achieve an excellent environmental and safety record, helping them on their journey to become the world leading sustainable marine recycling company it is today, that now process everything from a barge, oil rig to a US Navy aircraft carrier,” Tony says.
While Tony’s role has changed in the decades since then, he sees the same rigorous approach to safety and care for the environment defining the way we do business today: “As recyclers, our goal is to help create a more sustainable, circular economy that safeguards this planet’s precious resources. By working with charities and community groups to benefit their work, we can maximize the good that our business does each and every day.”