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Harley-Davidson’s Ride to Sustainability

What’s your company’s definition of sustainability and why is it important to you?

Harley-Davidson’s sustainability vision is to “preserve and renew the freedom to ride” and one of our long-term company objectives is to grow our business without growing our environmental impact. At Harley-Davidson, sustainability is inclusive of all we do to ensure a sustainable future for the company, from our environmental and social impact to how we govern the business. For us, sustainability is also far more than just about the environment - it is one of the core principles driving our business.

What are the most important sustainability issues your company deals with?

We take seriously our responsibility as the market leader to reduce the impact of our products and to operate with transparency and authenticity. For instance, finding ways to make our current and future fleet of motorcycles more fuel efficient is of paramount importance. That is why we have set the ambitious target of achieving an average fuel economy for our fleet of >50 mpg by 2027. That would be a 15 percent improvement from 2017 standards. We aim to achieve this in several ways but at the core will be improving the efficiency of the internal combustion engine (ICE) of our motorcycles to essentially use less gasoline. Achieving these efficiencies doesn’t happen overnight, and we’re proud that as a company, we’ve had the foresight to work on improving these efficiencies for over a decade now.

How is sustainability moving the company forward?

Harley-Davidson is constantly innovating to find efficiencies throughout the entire life cycle of our products, from the initial design and manufacture, to day-to-day performance, and, ultimately, the end of life of our motorcycles. Fuel efficiency plays a major part in this, but one of the most exciting innovations that is moving the company forward is expanding our fleet of electric motorcycles. America is in the middle of an electrification revolution with electricity increasingly powering more of our everyday products across the transportation, building and industrial sectors. We’re committed to preserving and renewing the freedom to ride by investing in our electric vehicle capabilities and bringing industry-leading technology to a new generation of riders. Harley-Davidson is proud to be at the forefront of the electrification revolution of motorcycles.

How has your company reduced waste across your operations? Has it paid off financially?

Harley-Davidson recognizes the environmental impact that comes from waste disposal so we are committed to reducing the amount of waste per unit produced. We have set the ambitious yet achievable goal of virtually zero waste to landfill at our facilities by 2027 and we are improving reuse and recycle in manufacturing of our products. Less waste generation has a direct financial benefit, regardless of how the waste stream is managed. In many instances, improving the segregation of waste materials for additional recycling opportunities has also had a neutral to positive financial result.

How do you engage your staff to implement your sustainability plans?

Employees across the company are engaged in driving our sustainability priorities. Like many companies, our initial focus was on waste generation and compliance in our manufacturing plants. We deliberately built sustainability into our manufacturing operating system and we have naturally evolved to now focus on energy consumption. On the product side, we similarly are building a more sustainable mindset into our development processes as we drive long-term fuel economy and materials goals.

How will you be rocking the green in the coming five to ten years?

In a nutshell, Harley-Davidson will be rocking it hard! We will be launching a broad portfolio of electric-powered two-wheelers – ranging from high performance motorcycles to new forms of lightweight urban bikes and pedal assist eBicycles. We are also committed to making our manufacturing processes less resource intensive, less wasteful and making our entire fleet more fuel efficient and we have set ambitious targets to achieve these goals. I am excited about the future here at Harley-Davidson.

I strongly encourage Rock the Green’s friends and supporters to check out our 2019 Sustainability report to learn more about the ongoing work we’re undertaking to make greener and more responsible business practices.

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