Based in Lafayette, Ind., Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) manufactures Subaru's (7270:JP) Outback, Legacy, and Tribeca models, as well as some of the Camry line for Toyota (TM). The factory is notable for being zero-landfill—not throwing away anything used in production or operation—and not coincidentally, zero-layoff, notwithstanding tens of thousands of job losses sustained in recent years by automakers and their suppliers across the globe. Being green can pay immediate dividends.
Based in Lafayette, Ind., Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) manufactures Subaru's (7270:JP) Outback, Legacy, and Tribeca models, as well as some of the Camry line for Toyota (TM). The factory is notable for being zero-landfill—not throwing away anything used in production or operation—and not coincidentally, zero-layoff, notwithstanding tens of thousands of job losses sustained in recent years by automakers and their suppliers across the globe. Being green can pay immediate dividends.

Subaru's Sustainable Drive

Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Based in Lafayette, Ind., Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) manufactures Subaru's (7270:JP) Outback, Legacy, and Tribeca models, as well as some of the Camry line for Toyota (TM). The factory is notable for being zero-landfill—not throwing away anything used in production or operation—and not coincidentally, zero-layoff, notwithstanding tens of thousands of job losses sustained in recent years by automakers and their suppliers across the globe. Being green can pay immediate dividends.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
The 22-year-old factory, which also used to manufacture Isuzus, is running at full capacity now, with many of its 3,500 employees frequently putting in six-day work weeks.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
The 820-acre campus, which is adjacent to soybean fields, is a nature sanctuary recognized by the National Wildlife Federation. Bald eagles, blue herons, coyotes, and beavers roam its woods and ponds.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
In 2002, SIA set a five-year goal to become a zero-landfill factory. It achieved this in just two years.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Today, more than 98% of SIA's waste gets recycled, reused, or composted. The 2% that isn't recoverable is incinerated to produce power that is sold to the Indianapolis grid.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
So passionate are the workers about zero-landfill that they recruited especially voracious Canadian red wrigglers to churn out world-class compost.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
The notches on these Styrofoam containers show how many times they have been reused in transit between Indiana and Japan.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
To achieve greater on-site resource recovery and cut down on the need to ship industrial solvents and paint chemicals to outside companies, SIA invested in methods to recycle, break down, and cut down on them.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
All these waste-reducing ideas are spearheaded by frontline workers in accordance with the concept of kaizen ("make it better, keep improving") in Japanese industrial philosophy.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
In a further example of kaizen efficiency, maintenance and troubleshooting workers access and address potential problems on decked-out tricycles.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
On-campus day care
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
SIA workers are encouraged to pursue degrees at an on-premise Purdue University satellite. Photographer: Daniel Shea for Bloomberg Businessweek
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Employees enjoy free access to a gym, along with premium-free health insurance.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
SIA offers mobile personal-finance and health-and-wellness counseling.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Counselors reach out to workers on the line.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
SIA has gone from producing 4,000 vehicles in 1989 to turning out nearly 300,000 this year.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Before the March tsunami interrupted the flow of some supplies from Japan to Indiana, SIA was asking line employees to work two Saturdays of overtime per month.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
The breakneck schedule will resume this summer. SIA paid out an average of $15,000 in overtime per worker in 2010.
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
Subaru's Sustainable Drive
The Subaru Outback, SIA's flagship, is flying off the lines. Outback sales in April set a record for the 10th consecutive month, coming in 23 percent above the number for April 2010.