The right tools for the job
Global Resource Management has developed a toolkit that allows companies to manage the environmental impact of their business and demonstrate environmental competence and improvement.Any company applying for its first ISO 14001 or EMAS certification is entitled to feel a little unsure about where to turn for help. And the issue of time ond expense can all too easily eclipse the benefits which certification could bring. In answer to this, Global Resource Management (GRM) has created an environmental toolkit manual that helps companies to understand that good management of environmental issues need not be costly, or time consuming, but can lead to increased profits, improved competitiveness and legal compliance, and demonstrate corporate responsibility.
In a nutshell, the toolkit has several key elements and stages. EN Toolkit 1 identifies weaknesses in current practices and environmental risks relating to its operations. It provides a simple but comprehensive step-by-step methodology to help companies identify whether they are using excessive amounts of resources, the availability of better or cheaper alternatives and whether companies are breaking the law or facing prosecution and avoidable fines.
Further assistance is then offered, in the form of half day personal contract work. EN Snapshot self assessments are then offered as additional follow-up options. And finally, for those companies that wish to implement an environmental management system, further toolkits are available which will guide the company towards certification to the ISO 14001 or EMAS environmental management standards.
For Leeds-based paper and board manufacturer, Whiteley, its application for ISO 14001 certification was aided greatly by the GRM toolkit. Thanks to this help, the company is now scheduled to achieve certification in February 2003. As Carol Barnes, technical administrator at Whiteley, explains:
“The prospect of setting up a complete environmental system, from scratch, with no prior knowledge of how to set about doing it was daunting and, I believe, would have been difficult to achieve. So far, we have used the GRM toolkit and training for our initial environmental review and it has been invaluable, taking us through each stage clearly and simply.
“When it came, for example, to us writing our environmental policy, something which we had never done before, the toolkit showed us exactly how it should be done and pointed us in the right direction for the documentation required.”
Carol Barnes also found GRM’s interactive website, www.doesyourcompanycare.com, to be very helpful. After getting part way along the road to setting up an environmental management system, Carol visited the website and completed an online Snapshot questionnaire which performs a gap analysis. After completing the Snapshot, Carol received an action plan which outlined the measures and procedures Whiteley still needed to implement to achieve ISO 14001 certification, including a graphical representation of how far it had progressed.
Another user, Huntsman Tioxide decided to work towards ISO 14001 and EMAS at its Grimsby site, to achieve their new aims of having an open environmental policy, where all (non-company sensitive) environmental data was made readily available to the public.
The company cited a number of benefits of using GRM’s impact identification methodology illustrated in the Toolkit. For example, it took Huntsman Tioxide’s Grimsby site through the differences between the aspects and impacts of environmental management, and provided good examples of the types of impacts that a business should consider. Huntsman Tioxide also found the evaluation of its site’s environmental aspects and impacts, and determining their significance, particularly useful. In addition, the toolkit also helped the company to flowchart the clauses set out in ISO14001, to understand the order and mechanism of implementing an EMS, as well as writing an environmental policy to ensure it contained all the elements required.
Huntsman Tioxide also benefited from the toolkit’s ability to determine relevant legislation, assign significance to environmental impacts and set improvement objectives and targets. According to Huntsman, implementation of an EMS allows a more complete understanding of all the site environmental aspects, impacts and their interactions. Therefore resources can be targeted to those areas of maximum impact where improvement is most needed.
A non-quantifiable but equally important benefit of implementing an EMS is that the site environmental performance, setting and achieving of objectives / targets have become the responsibility of those areas of production / engineering that can deliver the work. Being environmentally friendly is no longer seen as an add-on, but as an integral part of the process. It is no longer seen solely as the responsibility of the environment department, but as the responsibility of everyone on site.