Costa Coffee results one year on

ISO 50001 certification is a highly effective way for organisations to minimise energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions. Rob Shepherd examines the importance of having an energy management system in place and finds out how Whitbread's Costa Coffee Roastery has benefited.

An effective energy management system (EnMS) is a cornerstone of any forward thinking organisation. As an integral part of corporate policy and structure, it demonstrates to stakeholders a commitment to continual improvement in energy management, while ensuring that related legislative and regulatory requirements are being met.

One year on

ISO 50001 was launched in June 2011 and describes the requirements for an EnMS that allows an organisation to address the systematic and continuous improvement of its energy related performance. It also specifies requirements for measurement, documentation and reporting, equipment design and procurement processes.

"This international standard provides a set of requirements for a framework that offers organisations a method of managing energy consumption by developing and implementing an energy policy," comments Martin Hockaday, NQA's energy and environment sector manager. 'NQA has already helped a number of its clients gain certification to it - many of which were already certified to BS EN 16001. Over the next couple of years more will transfer to the new standard.'

Bean there, done that

Whitbread is just one of the companies to have made a successful transition to ISO 50001. It has had an EnMS in operation at its Costa Coffee Roastery for just over a year and has just completed an assessment its impact.

'ISO 50001 was launched in June 2011 and describes the requirements for an EnMS that allows an organisation to address the systematic and continuous improvement of its energy related performance.'

The Costa Coffee story began in 1971 when Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa founded it in Lambeth, south London. After building up an enviable reputation for the quality of its product, Whitbread acquired the company in 1995.

Although the Roastery remains on the original site, it is one of Whitbread's most energy intensive locations. Therefore, after deciding to implement an EnMS for the business, Ben Brakes, Whitbread's environment manager, enlisted NQA. He says, 'We're serious about sustainability because we know it's the right thing to do for the planet and it's what our stakeholders want. Therefore, having an EnMS that allows us to constantly monitor and manage our energy use is very important.'

Parts of the process

Brakes and his team documented the company's existing activities and identified areas for improvement. He explains, 'We were very clear about what we wanted to achieve and after long discussions with our NQA auditor we were confident that we could achieve our objectives.'

An EnMS requires continual development and one of the primary challenges was to get stakeholder buy-in and engender a sense of ownership in the standard. Over the course of the last year this has involved a process of education throughout the organisation and the implementation of new ways to make sure that energy related initiatives are clearly explained and understood.

One example of how this has been achieved is by formalised training and information provision. Brakes states, 'Prior to certification we would simply post information on a notice board about items related to environmental and corporate responsibility. Now we assemble all relevant personnel and explain to them what's about to happen and the reasons for it. We've noticed a huge improvement in the way stakeholders engage in energy saving activities.'

Inside out

ISO 50001 can help reduce energy consumption across all aspects of an organisation, bringing far greater returns than renewable energy technologies alone can achieve. For the Costa Coffee Roastery this has meant looking at the machinery used in the production process.

One of the most significant developments for the company over the last 12 months has been the introduction of a new roaster, which is much more energy efficient that the previous one. Brakes comments, 'The new roaster has made a massive difference to our energy consumption, so much so that we now include the amount of energy used to roast the beans as a key performance indicator (KPI), which is documented as part of our EnMS.'

The company has also reduced the amount of machinery used on site. One of the biggest consumers of energy within its infrastructure was the compressed air line used to package the roasted beans. The element of the packaging process has now been outsourced, allowing the extra space to be utilised for other parts of the operation.

ISO 50001 is also enabling the company to map further returns on energy savings for the future and identify ways to go about it. It is currently looking to implement automated doors in its storage facility to reduce the amount of heat lost through manual doors being left open unnecessarily.

Business benefits

The EnMS has helped the Costa Coffee Roastery achieve high impressive total annual carbon savings of 17 per cent relative to sales. Commenting on the impact of its ISO 50001 certification, Brakes concludes, 'The continual monitoring and measuring of energy performance gives us a competitive advantage, saves costs and reduces our CO2 emissions. Being an early adopter of this standard has allowed us to lead by example and I would advise any forward thinking organisation that hasn't yet done so to contact NQA and experience the same benefits that we have.'

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