The People Behind Polaris – Spotlight on ESG>
Through our Geared For Good framework, Polaris continually strives to be a good steward for our industry, employees, riders, communities and the outdoors. Our Geared For Good Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report published this May announced that in 2022, we accomplished the five-year ESG goals we had set in 2017. Now, we are building on that success with the introduction of new 2035 environmental goals. Zak H., data analyst in our Environment, Health, Safety and Security (EHS&S) department, joined Polaris in November in a new position that was created to define, monitor, and report on the metrics that will help us manage progress on our 2035 ESG goals. This month, we turn the People Behind Polaris spotlight to highlight Zak.
Welcome to Polaris, Zak! Tells us about your role, and how it relates to our new 2035 ESG goals.
Zak: I’m so proud to be a part of this company and the new goals that Polaris has set for greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, renewable energy, water, waste, air emissions and fleet fuel efficiency. I tie into the ESG goals by tracking our progress and helping identify where we need to improve. That includes monitoring and tracking everything from energy, to waste, to water usage at our facilities. We’re working to implement a new data software platform that supports data tracking, monitoring, and reporting automationz.
You mentioned working with data from different Polaris locations. How do you work with our manufacturing plants around the world?
Zak: One of the ways I work with our facilities is by helping them think about ways to improve, based on the insights and data we collect. For instance, understanding the types of fuel they're using, how they're using it, and why, helps us better understand the impacts to Polaris’ overall emissions. Then we can target reduction efforts, perhaps by upgrading outdated technology or switching from diesel generators to cleaner fuels that can result in cost savings and environmental benefits. That's the kind of win-win situations that we can track down and trace with data. Globally, I’m working on some exciting renewable energy projects with the Goupil team in France, and the Shanghai team. The new software platform, along with developing streamlined and automated processes, will save the site teams a lot of work and have a huge impact on data quality.
You are part of the EHS&S department at Polaris. Tell us a little bit about that team.
Zak: We have huge focus on employee and rider health and safety, because we want them to return home each day in the same state that they arrived in. In terms of environmental stewardship, we have a continuous improvement approach to reduce the environmental impact and create efficiencies across our operations. Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improving energy efficiency, and increasing the amount of renewable energy in our portfolio isn’t just something that we need to do from a regulatory perspective; it helps our business and consumers as well.
Talk about your career path, leading up to your current role, both inside and outside the company.
Zak: I'm originally from Texas and attended the University of North Texas with a dual major in International Business and French Language Studies. People always say to follow your passions to create a career path. As an undergrad, I realized I'd always been super passionate about the environment, and my family and I are very into off-road and motorsports in general.
When I started my master’s degree at the University of Texas, Austin, I had the chance to learn more about Environmental Conservation and Environmental Science, and my work experiences and classes provided a lot of experience in the data space. I worked on a fascinating project at the Bureau of Economic Geology, researching the lifecycle emissions impact of battery production, from “cradle to grave,” which starts with the raw materials of a product through end-of-life disposal. That work gave me the springboard to start a career more tailored to the environment.
I found this opportunity at Polaris, and it was really the perfect fit. It blends all my passions – the outdoors, environmental conservation, motorsports – into one role. After starting my job in Minnesota, I learned that we had operations in France and facilities where we're using solar panels, and much of my day-to-day work is tracking renewable energy . . . let’s just say it was a great decision and I couldn't be happier with it.
What does THINK OUTSIDE mean to you?
Zak: I really love the Polaris concept of THINK OUTSIDE. To me, it means considering how I can improve the outdoors for everyone. I'm so passionate about environmental conservation and I jump at the opportunity to have an impact on the outdoors and make it a better space – for the ecosystem, plants, and animals, but also to keep it a great space for people to enjoy and go riding in. I want to preserve it and I think a lot of our customers feel the same. We are all happier to ride in a nice clean environment.
Interested in joining Team Polaris? Check out the opportunities: