SP Emerging Professional Spotlight: Lisa Majchrzak, Honda

Suppliers Partnership for the Environment’s Emerging Professionals Work Group (SP EP) members are working to cultivate their current work environments into sustainable and inclusive communities, adopting the mindset of ‘No action is too small’, while promoting sustainability in all business operations.

Our new Suppliers Partnership for the Environment (SP) Emerging Professional spotlight series is intended to highlight the voices of individual emerging professionals within the SP community that are driving initiatives to promote sustainability within their companies, and beyond. For the first edition of this new series, we are very pleased to introduce our SP Emerging Professional Work Group (SP EP) leader Lisa Majchrzak with Honda of America Mfg., Inc. in Columbus, Ohio.

What inspired you to work on sustainability? What is your favorite part of your current role?

I would credit my initial foundation in sustainability to my mom! There were so many small, everyday habits that shaped my childhood from helping out in her extensive vegetable and flower garden, backyard birdwatching, bribing my brother to run our scraps out to our ‘smelly’ compost pile in the woods, and watching her sand, paint, or upcycle old furniture into brand new for us. In college I studied environmental science, focusing on the status of the rest of the world and the troubling climate change trends. I became sure that upon graduation, I wanted to work within a large global company and help merge business and sustainability – whether that be for a product and its consumers, manufacturing operations, supply chain, etc. The very best part of my job is contributing to Honda’s philosophy to be a company that society wants to exist, by reducing the scope of our impact and simultaneously redefining our perception of transportation.

What is one sustainability project you have been involved in that you are most proud of or learned the most from?

My first four years at Honda, I was part of the Supply Chain Sustainability team and while there created a Sustainability Scorecard which 600+ of our Tier 1 suppliers received. It visually compiled environmental data suppliers had shared with Honda for years and yet we had no way to feed back to them in cohesive and transparent manner on the purpose of their efforts. The scorecard identified Honda’s key performance indicators within four individual fields, supplier strengths, areas for opportunity, as well as comparisons to their peers. The project strengthened my supplier relationships drastically- providing the opportunity for positive, constructive, and innovative discussions around Honda’s sustainability activities. It also served as the foundation for sustainability as a factor in sourcing decisions!

What have your favorite campaigns been on Drive (SP EP’s digital sustainability engagement platform) and what actions are you taking to support those campaigns?

My favorite campaign on Drive is, Protect the Pollinators! As part of my new team I’ve been lucky to coordinate the initial planning and establishment of pollinator plots around campus that contribute to our growing bee population and associate-led beekeeping club. It’s been truly eye opening to learn so much about about bee patterns, hives, swarm catchers, habitats and more these past few months! Another campaign I’m personally very passionate about is Tackling Cafeteria Waste because I believe most everyone has room for improvement regarding their food consumption habits. This campaign can be more challenging compared to some of the others on Drive as it may require a new initiative or restructuring of the current cafeteria operations- which also means necessary behavioral changes on behalf of staff and associates!

What sustainability trends / innovations are you most excited about right now? What industry environmental sustainability initiatives are you most interested in exploring next?

A trend I am following obsessively lately is, of course, the evolving relationship between corporate sustainability and COVID-19.  Corporate responses and counteractions to this pandemic (previously considered a low probability situation) are being paralleled to the reactions the types of disasters and impacts predicted by climate change would spur. What can our companies do now to ensure that our world isn’t again flipped upside down and turned into the unimaginable overnight? Why can’t we take the same extreme measures we are to flatten the curve to battle climate change? Although there’s currently some steps being taken backwards as both companies and consumers tighten their spending and focus on sanitation—once we have successfully conquered COVID—we must challenge ourselves to maintain the benefits to our environment we’ve seen throughout quarantine. Google shared that in the past 90 days (up to April 22nd) search interest in ‘How to live a sustainable lifestyle?’ has increased by more than 4,550%. I hope this year will continue to alter general perspective of the environment and enhance the momentum around sustainability that 2020 started with. 

What advice would you have for other emerging professionals seeking to promote sustainability initiatives within their company?

Our workgroup’s mission statement contains a very deliberate phrase ‘adopting the mindset of no action is too small’. I encourage emerging sustainability advocates within a company to embrace this mantra. Most of our peers are eager to learn, get involved, and want to see change… but they don’t know how. Therefore, any sized behavioral shift you can influence or decision you can inform upon is significant (whether at work or home!). Revisiting the basics is sometimes the most effective solution to drive change.

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