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PPG's VP of Environmental Health Discusses Sustainability Report on Business as Usual

Business as Usual
Tech Companies

Recently, PPG unveiled its 2020 Sustainability Report, which outlined the company’s continued progress against its 2025 sustainability goals against the backdrop of the pandemic.

We welcome PPG's Mark Cancilla, VP of Environmental Health and Safety, to Business as Usual to discuss the progress to date, including:

  • 35% of sales from sustainably advantaged products and processes against the goal of 40% by 2025
  • 35% of manufacturing and research and development locations with zero process waste to landfill
  • 24% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2017
  • Committing $20 million from 2020-2025 to further social justice and educational opportunities in underrepresented communities
  • Investing $4.5 million to support COVID-19 relief efforts, including the donation of 80,000 masks to hospitals
  • Growing and strengthening the company’s focus on DE&I by identifying and taking action on a series of commitments.




Good afternoon, everyone. This is Audrey Russo, President and CEO, the Pittsburgh Technology Council always thrilled to be here each and every day at 12. noon today is no exception. I'm very excited by our guests, who I will formally introduce in a moment. And I want to extend appreciation for Jonathan Kersting. He's vice president of all things, media and marketing, who joins us as well, each and every day keeps his eye on the chat, to make sure that we're running smoothly, as well to Brian Kennedy, who really is the man behind the scenes, making sure each and every day that we have amazing guests, and he's Vice President of Operations, and all things public policy and Community Affairs. So thank you, the Huntington bank, I thank them each and every day, and I can't thank them enough because of the work that they do, and believing in us and telling stories shining the light on Pittsburgh, but also the stories that we get chance to tell about other people from all around the world who have interest in Pittsburgh, and the tech ecosystem. So today is no different there are partners, and if you don't get a chance to know them, you really should. They're heavily involved in our community. Also the 40 by 80, that you see up on the screen that is a wholly owned subsidiary of the tech Council. And that's the longitude and latitude of Pittsburgh. And that's where we focus on all things that are essentially charitable, but are focused on towards our core mission, which is making sure that we help entrepreneurs and build pathways for people who don't take the traditional route to tech. So stay tuned, because we have a great apprenticeship program that we're soon going to be telling the world about. And we're very excited about the work that we're doing behind the scenes. So without further ado, I am bringing to the forefront and Mark can show up. And I am not saying it the appropriate Italian way. And he can correct me but he said it was acceptable. And here's a really cool job he's been at, you know, he's been at at PPG for Geez, I don't want to I don't want to give the secret away. What is it 30.

Next week, it'll be 36 years,

one way 36 years, he's done a lot of different things. But most recently, he is leading environmental health and safety. And I'm not gonna steal his thunder, because he's gonna tell us about that. But first, we're gonna find out how mark is how have you been holding up through this pandemic?

You're doing well, doing well. Families, well got the first dose of the vaccine. I'm looking forward to my second dose before too long. I have two sons who live out of state we left them both in Alabama when we live there. They were in college, and one has since moved to Indianapolis, and both are married. And I'd like to go see them more. So my wife and I are planning is two weeks after we get our second dose, we're going to take a road trip and go see our sons and their wives

night. So what's the secret to you being at one company for 36 years?

Well, it's interesting at ppg, you find a lot of people like me, that have been with the company for quite some time. If you look back at my career, you know, PPG is one of those companies that when I'm recruiting people to come to work for ppg, I always say we're just the right size company. We're big enough, you have lots and lots and lots of opportunity all over the world. And yet we're small enough, and our top leadership really gets engaged well enough and our talent management processes are are good enough that people know who you are throughout the entire organization. You know, I spent 10 years after graduating from Pitt with a mechanical engineering degree in a wonderful role. Actually many roles in our central glass engineering group in downtown Pittsburgh started right in the glass tower, designing developing glass manufacturing processes for our factories around the world. We worked with our research center in Harmer Township, and I got to travel the world to get to go to Italy to go to France and all over the US and Canada. designing, developing installing and starting up the glass manufacturing processes. And then I had a request after about 10 years of that to come to Detroit and work in sales in our automotive OEM glass sales group in Troy, Michigan. And I thought gosh, I'm an engineer. I don't know that I really want to go into sales. I am truly I'm an introvert as well. So you know, I don't see myself moving there. But they eventually convinced me to go I didn't seek it out. And it was a great development move. I had also gotten my master's degree at night from In the industrial engineering group focused on engineering management, the sales role gave me a business background and understanding of the subjective side of business. I was very attuned to the objective side being an engineer, and actually took a second role. Again, one that was offered to me, I didn't pursue it in our automotive or in our aerospace business in Seattle, selling airplane windows to Boeing, and being the key account manager for Boeing. From there had another opportunity presented to move to Huntsville, Alabama, and lead our product development group in our aircraft transparencies business. And from there moved into a marketing role and eventually led our airplane windows business. During that time, we had also bought the large coatings and sealants supplier in aerospace PRC DeSoto and merged it with our aircraft transparencies business to create PPG aerospace, and then eventually moved to Southern California where that business is headquartered, and led our aerospace coatings business for about five years there. And then the role I'm in now again, didn't pursue but had somebody called to say, hey, how would you like to come back home to Pittsburgh, and lead our EHS function globally, also includes our product stewardship function, so product compliance, and at the same time, this role also reports into the PPG board, together with David bamar, Chief Technology Officer into the technology and Environment Committee of the board, which really oversees a lot of the sustainability elements of, of PPG. And then I have a role also on ppgs, corporate sustainability committee and driving the activity of that committee that's really comprised of a number of officers and leaders across ppg, various regions, various functions to help set the initiatives for sustainability across the company. So it was a very long, 36 years, but a very fast career, I would say, or maybe the other way around a long career very fast, 36 years. But it's hard to imagine that it's gone by this quickly.

Well, I mean, you've had the, you know, the pleasure and, and the luck, and obviously the talent to be able to work across the world. And that brings the perspective, probably that's highly valued in the role that you are right now.

Yeah, no question about it. And, you know, you see, certainly different levels of maturity, of sustainability across the globe, the Europeans are very often at a leading edge. They're, you know, when you look at the population density, the need for energy efficiency, waste reduction, water conservation, it becomes very apparent, then when you come back to the US and you see how spread out things are, how much wide open spaces there are. And then you go to places like China and India and South America and Mexico, again, a completely different situation. They're in terms of technology and maturity and advancements. So you do get a very strong appreciation for the issues. But then again, the opportunities that exist as a global manufacturer of coatings and specialty materials,

right. It's interesting, because there's a lot of research on that spiky city, you know, that move towards spiky cities in America, while we see a lot of urban growth, we still hold on to plenty of rural. Absolutely. And that we see as we wrestle with broadband as we wrestle with access, etc. So it's fascinating. That's, that's probably a whole other, that's hardly a whole other show we want to talk about. So let's talk about sustainability and the industries that PPG serves, and just help us level set a little bit of who PPG is as a company, because a variety of industries, and I know that you have a very near term objective in terms of your, you know, sustainability efforts.

So yeah, absolutely. So PPG and we've really transformed the company. Significantly, sir. Certainly during my 36 years, the glass businesses have been sold. There, they still exist, but they're a part of another company now. We've really focused PPG now as a coatings and specialty materials company. We've sold the the glass businesses, our fiberglass businesses and our commodity chemicals, businesses, and we've bought more than 50 companies that we bought for more I think in the past eight months. So we're continuing to evolve And today, you know, we are the largest transportation coatings company in the world, selling coatings products into the automotive, OEM automotive, aftermarket, aerospace and marine coatings, businesses. So our CEO likes to say if it moves will code it. But if it doesn't move, well code that too. We have a very large architectural in house paints, coatings business under many different brands, although the PPG brand is becoming much more prevalent these days, you'll see it much more frequently. We sell a lot of coatings into the packaging coatings business for the food and beverage industries, we sell coatings into we have an industrial coatings, business for machinery, equipment, various types of applications. So really, truly, there isn't really anything out there that we don't supply coatings or specialty materials into very, very wide approach. And we do see a wide range of of customer focus on sustainability. All industries today are seeing a significant growth in terms of focus, certainly by the investment community, by customers by the general public in terms of a focus on sustainability. You see, certainly regions of the world, the EU Green Deal, the China focus on carbon neutrality, in the current administration, a big focus on reducing our carbon footprint. And in our engagement with our investors, we're seeing a tremendous increase. It used to be two, three years ago, when we would have an investor engagement, it was not that common to have a question around sustainability or ESG. Today, it's uncommon to not have a question about sustainability, or ESG. And, you know, very understandable. So we're, we're getting the same questions from our customers, especially, I would say the more sophisticated industries, for example, automotive OEM, big global corporations, Toyota, General Motors, Ford, you know, all areas of the world that really are requesting of us, hey, what can you do to help our operations or help our products be more sustainable, some other industries that might be a little bit more fragmented, not real big customers, it's a little bit more of a push from our end as to Hey, here are things that we can do for you to enable sustainability at your site, in your processes, the application of our products, or again, in your in your final product to which the power products are, I would imagine,

right? I would imagine that all across the supply chain up and down. So you're helping your customers as well as them pushing you for requirements.

Absolutely. And that really is a big area of focus for us. If you look at our goals, you know, one of the areas especially coming from a business role for 14 years, you know, what are the ways in which we can aid our customers assist our customers, and one of our key goals is 40% of our sales will provide a sustainable advantage to our customers. And we've just passed that 35% Mark, quite frankly, that's an area where I think everything that we develop and produce ought to have a sustainable advantage. And, and we've made some progress in building into our business processes, ways to help drive that at an accelerated rate going forward. within my organization, we've developed a product sustainability team. And that team comes from our product stewardship organization, and they're designed to work with our business unit, commercial and technical teams, bring that that vision of sustainability, that knowledge, expertise and sustainability, to work with our commercial teams to develop approaches and understand opportunities that our customers and then they work with our technical teams to help them build sustainability into our product development, whether it's through the products themselves or the application processes, so a lot of advancement in our ability to be able to vastly exceed that 40% goal.

So are there any other goals that you have in terms of VSP that you think we

can? Absolutely So and when you look at it, you can tie them into two different groups. We have our own operational sustainability goals. So the greenhouse gas emissions from our operations, the energy consumption, from our operations or by our operations, the waste, we generate From our operations in the water consumed and, and we have total consumption rates, we also evaluate it relative to intensity, so divided by our production volumes. And we look, we're making very good progress there. We also have specific goals such as, you know, we want to move, really, eventually all of our sites to zero waste to landfill, we have a goal out there of 35%. And we're virtually at that goal. So we will be raising that, that focus, we want to really increase, you know, it will always take a certain amount of energy to make paint. Producing paint is not a highly intensive energy consuming process, not like glassmaking was or some of our commodity chemicals, or other raw chemicals. But it's still going to take some energy. So how can we convert our energy consumption to renewable sources is a key focus for us. We have a goal out there of 25% of our our sources coming from renewable sources of energy. And again, we're making progress. But that's a goal to really achieve long term aspirations, we'll have to continue to, to raise on ourselves. So we have our operational goals. I talked about our product goals. And we've really also ramped up some of our s and G goals, our social and governance goals. So we have a large focus on contributions into the communities in which we operate. We have a large focus in contributing into the diversity and inclusion of the environments that will help to create equity, of course, in the communities in which we operate, but also in the businesses in which we operate.

You can do that for a long time, though this we have that right.

We absolutely have been and we continue to raise the bar. And Sue mentioned with the product sustainability team really tried to build this into how we do business every day. ppg has been around for a long time, we're known as a very disciplined company. We perform well, year in and year out. So we have really good business operating processes. And for us, it's how do we build sustainability into the way we naturally do things? And so we did this, just the past few months actually bring in a new leader, new role for us a leader for diversity, equity and inclusion. Natalie Mendoza. Yeah, he's a wonderful addition to the team really brings. I think you had mentioned we've had the he and I in our DNA for some time, and they had committee oversight, leadership oversight, that Marvin really brings that strategic approach as to how are we going to ensure that we build this into our future? And, and, you know, we're already seeing Marvin fit in beautifully with the culture of PPG and helping to evolve our culture at the same time.

Yeah, he was wonderful. If anyone wants to look, we have both him and Marissa, I believe right on. And we have it in our archives. So it was it was really great to have them both on. So you know, if we didn't already, listen, we haven't talked about this anti microbial. You know, you've played a role in there. During the pandemic, you brought some amazing coatings to market, and to help stop the spread of germs and diseases. I've been surprised about that. Can you talk about some of these products? Yeah,

yeah, absolutely. And actually, this is a technology also that we've been working on for quite some time. And, and for various reasons. You know, we've always understood that and relate this to the, to the mobility, evolution that we're going through with shared vehicles, shared cars, and maybe in the future autonomous vehicles. You know, there's always a concern about well, who's been in the vehicle before me? And is that going to be an issue? So this has always been in our development portfolio this last year, we've definitely accelerated the launch of some of our technologies in all regions of the world. Whether it's from Australia, China, Mexico, in Europe, we have an agreement with with Corning, on a new exciting new technology called our copper armor, antiviral paint that is tested against the COVID virus. It's under final EPA review right now. And that, obviously, very specifically, will will garner is garnering a lot of attention for us also. But again, this is something that we've had in our portfolio in terms of an area of focus. Whether it's the automotive industry, aerospace industry, cabin coatings there as well, as well as for applications in schools and hospitals and other areas where certainly this would be a specific concern. So exciting technologies.

Yeah, that's really exciting. Um, what about the innovators that sort of rest right at the footsteps of Pittsburgh? And our region? What are some ways? I mean, there are many people that are working on solutions that that are early stage, what are some things that, you know, innovators could be helpful in terms of you achieving your sustainable goals, we, in fact, we

have always maintained an approach that we we cannot possibly house all of the knowledge and expertise and technology within our four walls of our company, even though we're a very large company, and we've got some spectacular people, many spectacular people in all corners of the world. So we absolutely have engaged in the Pittsburgh area, we engage in all regions of the world, whether it's at universities, University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, what have you. We engage with universities, I personally have engaged with universities and in Budapest in other parts of the world, to help to bring forward based technologies that we need to solve specific problems or issues in our technology, portfolio management. David down, as I mentioned, the issue of open innovation is always been a part of how we go about solving our customers issues and identifying those opportunities. So again, we don't necessarily look at this as something that we have to solve on our own, to be able to ensure that we're able to assist our customers in one way. So

you recently released your 2020 ESG. Report. And so can you share with us some of the highlights of that report accomplishments we're most proud of? And what might surprise us in terms of some of the findings? Sure.

Yeah, absolutely. So again, we're This is, I guess, we started our sustainability reports in the year 2012. So we're now at 2020, with a focus on goals out in 2025, we had reestablished our goals. In 2018, as we no longer had our glass businesses and commodity chemicals, businesses, our profile changed quite a bit, and had to re establish our rules. And when you look, you know, we've made tremendous progress in our operational goals. And you would think in a in an odd year, like last year, were certainly production rates were down significantly in the second quarter, late first quarter, depending upon where in the world we were, you might think that our efficiencies might be off. But in fact, we maintain very high levels of deficiencies. And actually, there was some element of a positive mix of the businesses. So some of the businesses that are generally higher consuming from an intensity perspective, like aerospace, for example, small volume, but still complex product portfolios, they were down a bit, but our house paints business with people at home, often looking at their, at their offices or home saying, gosh, this needs to be painted. That business did quite well last year. So but that's a high volume and low complexity business. So we did see some benefit from that. At the same time, our efficiencies were really fantastic. And it shows in our report in terms of, we've actually already exceeded our waist goals. And we'll need to increase our our targets there to further reduce the amount of waste that we're generating from our operations, our energy and greenhouse gas goals, we're well on our way to the 2025 goal. And in fact, we've alluded into the in the 2020 report, we're really now building sustainability into our strategy development. So we talked about climate related risks. There is the TCF D, the taskforce for climate related financial disclosures, which is the framework that is becoming the investor accepted approach to tell us how you're dealing with climate change. We started that process and we talk a little bit about that in our sustainability report, where we've piloted it in one of our businesses and we're now expanding it to the rest of our businesses. So Again, building sustainability into the way we do things, we have a very robust business strategy process. Sustainability is now a part of that. And I'm really proud about how we're going about going incorporating that into the way we do things. And then we are also looking at evaluating our goals relative to science based targets. So looking beyond just our operations, and really holistically measuring the impact that we have downstream, as well as the impact from our suppliers, and the generation of greenhouse gases and emissions that they require. In order to provide the materials to us, we're now working to encompass all of that into what will be our future goals to really align to the more aspirational targets that you see out there, around the EU Green Deal is trying to carbon neutrality focus, the US focus on cutting emissions by 50% by 2030. And so we're already you know, it's very shortly after announcing our latest sustainability report, and we're working on the next one, or at least the elements that will really propel us forward. Well, 2025

is really, really close. I mean, a lot of well, it really yeah. 2050. So really is Jonathan's has told me that there's some good questions in the chat, and I want an opportunity for that. So totally. Good to see you, Mark.

Thanks for being part of the show. We love having PPG on that's for sure. So Volker heidemann wants to know, if you could talk more about ppgs coatings and how they're used with electric vehicles. I know there's tons of coatings around the batteries. And that really makes them efficient and safe. is more details on that be awesome.

Precisely. And and great, great question. You know, it's interesting, we've done some analysis that looks at the prototypical design of an electric vehicle versus a current industrial or internal combustion engine vehicle, there's actually three to four times more coatings on a on a battery operated vehicle than the current style vehicle. And the reason for that one of them that you just mentioned, are the batteries, the batteries are quite large, you need large batteries to be able to propel the vehicle for many, many, many miles that we all like to travel. And the coatings are really an inherent part of the batteries efficiencies, its ability to number one, isolate the cells within the battery number two, to be able to insulate the cells from the electrical and magnetic elements within the battery. So to do that efficiently, is really dependent upon the coatings technologies. I mentioned also about the interior coatings, and the anti microbial elements of those are a critical aspect of the coatings. And then now, especially when you talk about autonomous vehicles, you're now talking about many different types of sensors, in the vehicles themselves, as well as in the infrastructure between the signs, the road markings, what have you that that vehicle has to be very robust in terms of how it, it engages in its environment. So all of those technologies really are areas that were focused. And actually, it created a mobility business group within our automotive OEM business just a couple of years ago.

So as we wrap up the show, I mean, there's just just incredible things that are that PPG has been doing and just the world just doesn't know. So we're always thrilled to peel back the onion a little bit and hear what's what's going on. Do you think there's anything that we missed that you think we should talk that you want to talk about?

To be honest with you, I could talk all day if you like,

but I know we don't have that time. If people want to go get their lunch and sit back. Happy to have you back on and and talk about this stuff even more,

would love to win

other nations I mean, we're proud to be to have you as part of legacy and the forwardness of this region.

Well, we're thrilled to be a part of it. Obviously, we've been here for 138 years as a corporation, while calling Pittsburgh home. And we hope to be here another 138 years helping to innovate well into the future.

I think we will and I think you will be at the company for another 130

to keep working out and staying safe and healthy. That's the

Hey, we had an amazing doctor on yesterday, a neurologist very famous about the work that they're doing at the chop Knoll center and he said his objective is to live as long as he can as young as he can. And a young it 80s and looked better than most of us.

Well, somebody to aspire to. Absolutely,

absolutely. Thank you, Mark, thank you for the work that you do. I really applaud you on your on your career. I know you have many, many great years ahead and doing this work. So we tomorrow's Friday, and I'm not gonna make a guess on who's on the show. But I think I know, but I'm gonna pass the baton to Jonathan, do you know who's on the show tomorrow?

guesswork involved, we had a very Merry stopping by from the Boys and Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania talking about artificial intelligence, education tracks after spending up so really fun stuff.

That's awesome. So I want to thank you. Thank you, Mark. Thank you so much. We're gonna they're going to who's going to be talking about an exciting new partnership with NBI da. That's tomorrow with the Boys and Girls Club. So Mark, if you're not doing anything, join us. Really appreciate it. Thanks.

Thank you so much. Really appreciate y'all. Absolutely.

Thank you. Thanks, everyone. Take care

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