GAF's Sustainability Promise: A Year of Social Impact

By Jeff Terry 12-20-2022
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"As industry leaders, we have a responsibility to use our expertise and resources to make a positive impact on our communities and our planet, which is why we've set these ambitious goals. We are making strategic investments to achieve those goals and, ultimately, to leave the planet better than we found it for our children – and their children." —Jim Schnepper, CEO of GAF, Earth Day, 2022

GAF continues to work to improve the lives of people, our planet and our communities

Our 2022 Sustainability Promise is a public promise to work towards a more sustainable future while protecting what matters most: Our People, Our Planet and the Progress of Our Business.

We are making important strides as we work to fulfill our promise and there are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about our future. Here are some highlights from our progress this year:

2030 Planet Goals: A Circular Roofing Economy and Energy from Every Roof

GAF is committed to improving the planet with a circular approach to our business and the roofing sector. We are working to accomplish this by producing industrial materials that can potentially minimize our environmental footprint while having a positive impact on the planet.

This kind of beneficial circularity is exemplified in GAF's newly patented RoofCycle™ Process, used to manufacture Timberline HDZ® RoofCycle™ Series Shingles. This revolutionary technology recycles end-of-life roofing shingles and returns them to the beginning of the manufacturing cycle to create new asphalt shingles.

In 2022 we furthered this initiative in several ways:

  • We committed to diverting 1 million tons of roofing waste per year from landfills by 2030

  • We invested $100 million to build our first full-size asphalt shingle recycling operation in Corsicana, Texas

  • We were proudly recognized for this sustainable recycled asphalt shingle innovation in: Popular Science, Fast Company and Forbes

GAF also collaborated this year with the best and most innovative business and talent in the solar industry to create GAF Energy's Timberline Solar™. The first solar roofing material that can be installed like a regular roof, Timberline Solar™ will help make a sustainable cycle of energy-use available to homeowners. GAF is proud of the potential for positive impact Timberline Solar™ offers. The arrival of this innovative "roof with energy" also initiated construction on a new 450,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Texas, our second solar manufacturing operation in the US.

In 2022 GAF Energy received recognition for its innovation with awards from:

Improving Operations, Less Waste, More Product Transparency

GAF has put broad measures in place to increase operational waste diversion across our network of plants. This year we conducted waste diversion assessments across seventeen of our plants, 9 of which are already achieving more than 75% waste diversion from landfill. We have reduced post-manufacture waste, reduced water use and are working to improve energy-efficiency across our network. In addition to these operational efforts, we also continued our market leadership in product sustainability and transparency by growing our third-party environmental and health-focused disclosures and certifications by more than 30%. GAF is ending the year with 59 product-specific, third-party certifications on 40 product lines, which means our customers have options to choose from and can turn to GAF for their green building needs.

GAF Community Matters: Building Resilient Communities

Through the GAF Community Matters initiative, we're leveraging our expertise, resources, and products to build resilient communities in partnership with nonprofit organizations, community partners and GAF Certified Contractors*. As we look back at 2022, the commitment of our employees and Certified Contractors this year has been truly impressive and the meaningful impact made in our communities is undeniable.

This year, GAF:

  • Achieved a 142% increase in the number of GAF Certified Contractors involved in the program

  • Provided roughly 150 grants focused on community resilience

  • Activated employees and increased volunteerism by 45%, making huge contributions by giving their time to their communities. A great example includes making more than 5,000 blankets to help protect those impacted by natural disasters. The blankets are now wrapped around families in places like Kentucky (impacted both by tornadoes and floods), Iowa and Minnesota (affected by severe wind), Colorado (ravaged by wildfires) and the Gulf region from Texas to Florida. GAF employees also developed 30,000 disaster response hygiene kits with Good360 to deploy to families impacted by disasters.

As we grew Community Matters this year, we partnered with actor Anthony Mackie, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's new "Captain America," to help rebuild communities repeatedly hit by natural disasters and left vulnerable to future crises, starting in Mackie's hometown of New Orleans. GAF committed to repairing or replacing 500 roofs throughout the Gulf Region, starting with 150 roofs in the 7th Ward and worked with Mackie to kickoff repairs as hurricane season got underway. Through the GAF Roofing Academy, we also committed to train members of the community in essential roofing skills and provided resources to non-profit partners, including Rebuilding Together, Habitat for Humanity, Team Rubicon, Good360 and SBP, to help with the reroofing efforts needed in the region. To date, GAF has helped to repair hundreds of roofs in the Gulf Region and continues to help bolster rebuilding and resiliency efforts across the country. Most importantly, families have already been able to return home without worrying about rain damage or the next storm.

Cooler Communities

Building resilient communities includes building resilience for climate change. In the Summer of 2022 GAF launched one of its first major initiatives to address urban heat. The GAF Cool Community Project is a first-of-its-kind, community-wide engagement and research initiative to understand the impacts various cooling solutions have on urban heat and livability. Our 2022 multi-phased project focused on applying cooling strategies across a 10-square block area in the neighborhood of Pacoima, one of the hottest areas in Los Angeles. This is the largest contiguous application of cool pavement coatings to date. GAF StreetBond Invisible Shade™ solar-reflective coating pavement coatings were applied on neighborhood streets, crosswalks, basketball courts, school yards, parking lots and playgrounds. The project had a significant community engagement effort with partners including Climate Resolve, Pacoima Beautiful, many government agencies and officials, and most importantly, the residents of Pacoima. Among the benefits of this effort was the use of StreetBond in the development of a colorful community mural by a local artist.

The StreetBond Invisible Shade™ solar-reflective coating could potentially reduce temperatures as much as a 10°–12°. Local residents in the area felt an immediate difference in the summer heat, with Pacoima Beautiful volunteer Melanie Torres pointing out that local parents walking through the neighborhood observed they could "feel the difference between the regular asphalt versus the street bond coating."

This innovative technology was recognized by TIME magazine as one of its Best Inventions of 2022 and ended the year with nearly 50 features across multiple media outlets.

Helping at Critical Times of Need: Hurricane Ian Response

This year, with wind speeds reaching a terrifying 150 miles per hour, Hurricane Ian devastated communities in its path. Initially prepared to support employees of their plant in Tampa, FL, GAF was able to pivot to come to the aid of Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, FL. Drawing from experience gained when Hurricane Florence battered another GAF plant location, Burgaw, NC in 2018, GAF brought precision collaboration between procurement, sales, Standard Logistics, and local teams to help as many people as possible by delivering essential supplies. One resident shared, "What you guys did has already had a huge impact. People thought they were coming for a hot meal and received ways to rebuild along with basic necessities that they haven't had or known when they would. It was huge — there were A LOT of tears. YOU and your company made it happen and gave people hope."

Harvey Brown is a GAF Area Manager for the Southeast who joined the company in 2022. After taking part in the relief efforts, he shared: "You hear all the talk, you've heard it all before, but here, you hear it — and you see it. We're living it."

GAF embraces our responsibility, capability, and opportunity to drive change. We hope to inspire the people around us to do the same and look forward to the impact we will have together in 2023.

Find out More

To learn more about GAF's Sustainability Promise, as well as related products, programs, and initiatives, please visit our dedicated sustainability webpage.


*Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program and offering GAF enhanced warranties, which require the use of a minimum amount of GAF products.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Terry serves as Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability at GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, leading the development and implementation of the company’s long-term strategy for CSR initiatives. In this role, Jeff also drives community engagement efforts that reinforce GAF’s value of making a lasting impact in the communities in which the company operates both every day and in times of great need.

Prior to joining GAF, Jeff served in a dual role at Amway Corporation as the Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Director of Integrated Marketing Communications. During his tenure, Jeff instituted the first sustainability goals for operations and product development. With a career in sustainability spanning more than 20 years, Jeff also held roles with Sears Holdings Corporation, Cone Communications, and Whirlpool Corporation. Jeff has been involved with Habitat for Humanity for more than two decades including developing two corporate partnerships, Vinyl Partners for Humanity and building the Whirlpool/Habitat relationship.

A nationally-recognized speaker on sustainability, Jeff has presented to the United Nations, as well as at many global conferences. He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science from Clemson University.
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