FedEx to give conference an environmental lesson

Hank Hayes • Mar 12, 2017 at 6:00 PM

KINGSPORT — You might not think of a package delivery company being on the cutting edge of sustainability.

But the morning keynote message at Tuesday’s Tennessee Environmental Conference will come from Mitch Jackson, vice president of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability at Memphis-based FedEx.

“You don’t think of a package delivery company doing things for energy efficiency and sustainability,” said Mark Braswell, chair of the conference’s planning committee and regional director for External Affairs at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). “FedEx has done a number of things from their fleet to packaging that use less energy and save more materials.”

Jackson, in particular, spearheaded the implementation of hybrid-electric vehicles for FedEx, launching commercial hybrids in the marketplace. In conjunction with the FedEx Government Affairs department, he was instrumental in successfully pushing legislation for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards in commercial trucking.

The annual conference, held at the MeadowView Marriott, really doesn’t have a yearly theme but is focused on improving public health through the environment, according to Braswell.

“Why we do that is to give attendees information and various ways of looking at problems and solutions,” he said. “So when they go back and do their everyday work, many of them are consultants and professionals, and sometimes you can look at things through tunnel vision, so we try to expand everyone’s vision to say, ‘A good choice for the environment is also a good choice for health and economic development.’ We’ve been on that mission for many years.”

At last year’s conference, retired Bridgestone Americas CEO and President Gary Garfield made the case that climate change is real.

About 350 people are expected to attend. The conference will conclude with a tour of Eastman Chemical Co. on Wednesday afternoon.

Platinum sponsors include Eastman, BAE Systems, TDEC, Nuclear Fuel Services and the city of Kingsport.

For more about the conference, go to www.TNenvironment.com.

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