Keeping renewables green

Renewable Energy Systems, a world-leading wind farm developer, wanted to make sure its environmental management system met international standards. So it called in SGS

Renewable Energy Systems (RES) has offices and wind farm sites around the globe. The group has been at the forefront of the wind industry since the early 1980s and has developed more than 19 projects in the UK since 1992.

Its business is the locating and developing of suitable sites for wind farms. The work involves detailed environmental assessments (for example, the likely impact of the project on local wildlife and the landscape), building the wind farms themselves, and then operating and maintaining them. RES's head office is in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, in an eco-friendly building with its own wind turbine.

The group wanted to ensure that its environmental management system (EMS) met the requirements of the international standard ISO 14001:2004. Organisations certified to this show that they meet the environmental management standards, that they are actively minimising any harmful environmental effects of their activities, and are continually improving their environmental performance.

Experience has also shown that the ISO 14001 framework inspires and focuses the creativity of all members of an organisation, making them active agents of change in promoting environmental protection, resource conservation and greater efficiency.

RES hoped to learn from the audit and certification process, take fresh suggestions and make improvements to its EMS. The group plans to extend the current scope of its EMS, and to further demonstrate its environmental management credentials. It was looking specifically for an organisation with the capability to audit its other offices.

SGS is a world-leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. Its international experience of certifying a range of organisations to ISO 14001 matched RES's requirements.

SGS carried out an initial audit at the Kings Langley office, followed by two site
visits - one to a construction site, and the other to an operational site. Both were carried out without disruption to the group's everyday activities.

SGS's auditor provided
feedback on the ISO 14001 standard and how it related to the EMS. The auditor made suggestions for improvements to the system that eased the workload and document control.

RES has already incorporated suggested improvements, and is working hard to meet the targets for next year. It has also been able to incorporate its new certification straight into its construction tenders, and provide more certainty to stakeholders on the group's environmental credentials and performance.

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