Green Industry

Manufacturing for Sustainability

As consumers and businesses seek to reduce their environmental footprint, area Memphis manufacturers have developed energy saving products and processes. Logistics and transportation companies take full advantage of the regions' access to the Mississippi River and five Class I railroads - two of the cleanest transportation options available today.

Green jobs make up an important and growing sector of the economy.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines green jobs as jobs at businesses that provide goods and services that benefit the environment, or jobs that focus on making their establishment more environmentally friendly.  Sectors include clean energy, transportation, green manufacturing and environmental protection.  All of these sectors are active in the Memphis economy, employing more than 15,000 and growing. 

Did you know?

  • More than 15,000 Memphians are employed in the Green Economy

  • The Memphis area has 9.2 million square feet of ENERGY STAR labeled space

  • Memphis ranks 4th among major US cities in the amount of green exports per job

  • More than 100 of Newsweek’s “Top 500 U.S. Green Companies" have operations in Memphis

Quick Links

Green Products Wages
Green Services Training and Education
Sustainability Incentives

Green Products

Memphis manufacturers are leading the way in green technology. From top-rated ENERGY STAR appliances to recycled paper, Memphis-made products allow businesses and consumers to reduce their environmental footprint. Memphis offers green manufacturers access to an experience manufacturing workforce of over 44,000, top ranked transportation infrastructure, and a community that is committed to sustainability.

Top Green Manufacturers (based on FTE)
  • Cummins, Inc.

  • Electrolux

  • Flextronics

  • International Paper

  • Jabil Circuit

  • Mueller Industries

  • Nucor Steel

  • Thomas & Betts Corp.

  • ThyssenKrupp Elevators

  • UTC-Carrier Corp.

Recently Announced Green Manufacturing Projects:

  • In June 2014, RE-CY, a plastic recycling company, announced plans to invest $8.1 million in a new recycling facility in Memphis, creating 36 new jobs.
  • Voigt & Schweitzer will open a hot dip galvanizing plant in 2014, creating 45 new jobs. The company will galvanize steel used for construction.  The steel is 100% recyclable and contributes to LEED certification.
  • Electrolux opened their state-of-the-art Memphis manufacturing plant in 2014, where they manufacture and test ovens, refrigerators and other kitchen appliances. Named the Energy Start Partner of the Year in 2011, Electrolux is known for their energy efficient appliances. The plant will employ 1,250 when at full capacity.

Green Services

Logistics and Transportation

With five Class 1 railroads, nine intermodal yards, and access to the Mississippi River, Memphis' location allows companies to easily integrate these fuel-saving alternatives into their transportation plans.  With transportation contributing between 20 and 50 percent  towards a company's carbon foot print, the impact of these modes of transportation can be huge.  Several top logistics and transportation companies in Memphis focus on optimizing transportation efficiency and reducing fuel expenses.

Top Green Logistics and Manufacturing Companies (based on FTE)
  • BNSF

  • Kuehne + Nagel

  • FedEx

  • Swift Transportation

  • UPS

Other Services

The increasing demand for energy efficient buildings and waste reduction has created a robust green services industry in Memphis. The Memphis region has over 145 LEED certified professionals, and 28 companies that are part of the US Green Building Council. Other green services include green facilities maintenance, recycling services, and environmental engineering services.

Top Green Service Companies
  • Autozone

  • Hilton Worldwide

  • ServiceMaster

  • EnSafe, Inc.

  • Johnson Controls


People from all walks of life are committed to "going green" in Memphis. Grassroots organizations, business-led efforts, and government policies have all created a demand for green products in the Memphis region.  Here is just a sampling of the green efforts underway in Memphis.

  • Mid-South Regional Greenprint & Sustainability Plan - A regional plan to expand and connect parks, greenways, trails, bike paths, and other natural areas

  • Memphis and Shelby County Office of Sustainability - This government office is charged with implementing the Sustainable Shelby Implementation Plan and coordinating regional efforts.

  • MLGW Green Initiatives - With programs such as EcoBUILD, Green Power Switch and Plug-In Memphis, MLGW is a proud winner of the Tennessee Conservation League's Wildlife COnservationist of the Year.

  • Memphis Bioworks - Dedicated to developing the bioscience industry, Memphis Bioworks provides environmental job training, agricultural research and development support, and spearheads the city's Clean and Green Initiative.

  • Project Green Fork - Offers certification and assistance to restaurants that follow Project Green Fork's sustainability guidelines.


An estimated 15,380 people are employed in green occupation in the Memphis area.  The largest green sector by employment is clean energy, which includes renewable energy development, energy efficient construction and consulting services.

Top Green Manufacturing Sectors, 2010

Sector 2010 Employment Average Wages
Clean Energy 4,870 $57,268
Logistics and Transportation 4,560 $63,155
Manufacturing 2,630 $93,746
Policy and Planning 2,190 $77,968
Environmental Cleanup and Protection 1,130 $61,021
TOTAL 15,380 $68,474

Sources: O*NET and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics.

Note: Estimates are based on modification of occupational categories provided by O*NET.

Annual and Hourly Wages in the Memphis MSA

Average Annual Wage
Team Assemblers 5,210 $27,120
First-Line Supervisors of Helpers, Laborers, and Material Movers 2,310 $49,820
First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers 2,250 $55,930
Mixing and Blending Machine Operators 2,140 $27,220
Industrial Engineers 1,460 $79,100
Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers 1,450 $84,300
Machinists 1,130 $47,130
Logisticians 580 $65,600
Electrical Engineers 560 $83,820
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters 330 $34,540
Chemical Technicians 300 $44,480
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists 220 $61,020

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics


Training and Education

In recent years, several training programs in sustainability and energy technologies have been developed to enhance Memphis' green workforce.  Training programs include: 

  • The Corporate Training and Continuing Education Department at Southwest Tennessee Community College offers offers 12 high demand online sustainable energy and green training program including Biofuel Production Operations, Natural Gas Plant Operations, Solar Power Professional and Wind Power Professional.
  • Mid-South Community College's Renewable Energy program emphasizes renewable energy technologies, instrumentation systems, safety standards and practices, biofuels testing, plant operations and optimization, plant maintenance and compliance.
  • The Tennessee Solar Institute (TSI) offers a 40 hour course in solar installation and photovoltaic technology. Lessons include solar concepts and terminology, onsite photovoltaic system configurations and components, photovoltaic safety and many others.
  • The Green Jobs Training Center at Lab Four offers training in weatherization auditing and solar installation.

Memphis area colleges also top programs in business, logistics, manufacturing, engineering, environmental science, and architecture just to name a few. For more information on local training programs, click here.



Green manufacturers may qualify for special incentives such as the Green Energy and Carbon Charge Credit or the Emerging Industry Sales and Use Tax CreditAdditionally, green manufacturers are eligible for manufacturing incentives such as the Jobs Tax Credit, Industrial Machinery Tax Credit or the Payment in Lieu of Taxes incentives.  Tennessee also has several sales and use tax exemptions for manufacturers, such as installation of industrial machinery, raw materials for processing, and pollution control equipment.  For more information, view the taxes and incentives pages.

Sources: The Brookings Institution, Memphis Daily News, Memphis Business Journal, Commercial Appeal, O*NET, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Building Council.
Page updated 10 April 2014