Benlee commits to emissions reductions, higher wages

Trucking equipment maker adds solar array to Michigan fabricating plant and implements bonus system for employees.

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Romulus, Michigan-based rolloff trailer maker Benlee says it has “doubled down” on its commitment to environmental social governance (ESG) principles, in part by investing $500,000 in a solar panel array at its Michigan facility.

“The world is undergoing major challenges, including climate change, health, economic downturn and of course equality for all,” says Greg Brown, president and CEO of Benlee. He says despite the economic slowdown in the United States in the past four months caused by COVID-19 and subsequent restrictions, that Benlee remains committed to ESG practices.

Brown says Benlee’s efforts include a recent $500,000 investment in two large solar arrays or roof panels made by North Carolina-based Powerhome Solar. He says the electricity generated will offset power purchased from a regional utility firm, and will be used in Benlee’s manufacturing, engineering and office areas.

The company also has raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour for all entry-level associates, and has implemented a monthly bonus structure for every employee. The bonus can pay up to another approximately $1.25 per hour, so new entry level people can earn more than $16 hour, depending on the company’s performance.

Benlee says its senior management team meets daily to discuss key business issues. The meeting starts with a discussion of safety protocols “to protect associates and its customers, who mainly use their products in the recycling industry, a key part of ESG.”

The equipment maker also has made U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWay-certified tires standard on all its trailers. Such tires are designed to reduce nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions and conserve fuel use by 3 percent, per EPA data. Benlee says it also “heavily promotes” automatic tire inflation systems designed to maintain optimum tire pressure, reducing fuel use and increasing tire life, thereby further decreasing the carbon footprint of its vehicles.

Brown says Benlee has been and will remain active in working with elected officials in Washington, Michigan and in the markets it operates “to promote policies that grow the economy faster, while still protecting people and the environment.”

Adds the firm, “Investments are clearly needed at the federal level to support and rebuild the economy due to COVID-19, but long-term investments are needed in education, R&D and infrastructure, which will support faster economic growth and efficiency.”

States Brown, “Faster growth and investments are needed along with responsible spending and eventually raising revenue, to stabilize the U.S. federal deficit that is $26.3 trillion and growing, due to years of slow growth, out of control spending and now COVID-19. The U.S. is great, and we would be greater together, if together we all live and breathe the principles of ESG, leading to a greater planet, greater economy and greater social justice for all.”

Benlee is a manufacturer of rolloff trailers, gondola trailers and lugger trucks, as well providing replacement parts for the fleets in the waste, recycling and demolition industries.