Operational Excellence

By measuring, managing and continuously improving the safety and environmental performance of our operations, we increase efficiencies, reduce costs and minimize risks.

Sustainability is embedded in our manufacturing operations and is a lever of operational excellence. We recognize the impact our operations have on the environment and the local communities where we operate and are committed to continuous efficiency improvements. We introduce innovative processes and technologies that improve our safety track record, reduce energy and water consumption, cut greenhouse gas emissions and divert more waste to beneficial use.

Employee engagement and commitment to sustainability are key to our operational success. To make sustainability more tangible for our employees, we introduced the “Big 6” concept in 2008 to focus the attention of Ball employees on the six most significant sustainability metrics in our operations.

Across the world, each Ball plant is accountable for these metrics and commits to annual goals as part of our strategic planning process. At each plant, goal progress is tracked and evaluated monthly and reported to divisional management, as well as quarterly to Ball’s Sustainability Steering Committee. To drive accountability and continuous improvement, progress is also built into performance appraisals for plant management and operations leadership.

All of our plants have formal safety and environmental management systems in place. Since 1995, these systems have improved our safety and environmental performance by allowing us to monitor and manage our impacts and proactively implement corresponding compliance strategies. By the end of 2015, about 30 percent of our plants were certified according to ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. Ball’s global environmental policy describes our expectations for managing and continually reducing our environmental impacts.


A significant aspect of our Drive for 10 vision includes expanding into new and emerging markets. In 2015, we invested more than $350 million in growth capital projects that included building new greenfield plants in Ahmedabad, India, and Monterrey, Mexico. Ensuring we capitalize on the sustainability best practices we have implemented in facilities around the world is key to these expansion projects. Integrating sustainability into the initial facility design and employee onboarding allows us to minimize the cost impact of these new plants, as well as engage new employees on our sustainability journey—accelerating operational excellence.

As we continue to optimize our footprint and respond to demand shifts for our products, we continue to face challenges in our operations that negatively impact the efficiency of our production lines. Trends such as substantial increases in can sizes, shapes and label changes, as well as new line startups and curtailments, threaten to offset progress toward our sustainability goals because they decrease efficiencies.


At Ball, it is important to celebrate our successes so we can share best practices and increase our plants’ engagement in measuring, understanding and improving their sustainability performance.

That is why Ball established the R. David Hoover Sustainability Award in honor of the company's former chairman, president and CEO, who was a key driver in developing Ball's formal sustainability program. Every year, Ball's plants are evaluated based on their performance in nine categories, including the reduction of electricity, natural gas, water usage, waste and VOCs, as well as their overall safety record, best practices sharing, local support of packaging collection and recycling, charitable contributions and volunteerism. The most successful facility in each business receives the award.

“How we run our plants is truly unique. I am awestruck by Ball’s commitment to sustainability and employee engagement. From the moment the two Canton, Ohio, plants joined the Ball family in February 2015, it was apparent to our employees that sustainability was a top priority. They quickly received support and engaged in “Big 6” metric tracking, best practice sharing, benchmarking with other Ball plants and sustainability goal setting.

It is exhilarating to see employees embrace the company’s culture and strive for continuous improvement. Within a few short months after the acquisition, production numbers began to increase and quality improved.

We have made our metrics more transparent and do whatever we can to make the results tangible. Since employees now understand why the things they do matter, they go above and beyond expectations to help the company become more efficient, profitable and sustainable. For instance within six months after joining Ball, both Canton facilities achieved “zero waste to landfill” status.

I am excited for the sustainability initiatives we have implemented so far and where we are going. For our new employees, work has a renewed significance as they know they are making a meaningful difference in the world. Employees take pride in knowing they work for a company that genuinely cares about them, their environment and community.”

- Sharon Vanacker, Manager, Plant Human Resources in Canton, Ohio

Sharon Vanacker Image

Contact Ball

For more information

T: +1 303 460 4429