Our ISO14001 Environmental Certification Journey
The first task was to assemble a team. It was important that this should not just be department heads as we wanted everybody to be involved and bring their own ideas. We then needed to take a step back and reassess all of our operational areas, what were we doing that could have an environmental impact and what can be done to improve the way we currently do things?
Recycling was an obvious starting point and although we'd always done our best, we started to look at how we could do better, how we could reduce the waste in the first place. We introduced simple concepts like using scrap paper to make notes, train staff on duplex printing and increase the level of electronic filing. At the time of writing this article, our recycling rate stood at 93.29% and we have recently become a Zero to Landfill organisation. This has been aided by our relationship with local recycling company Printwaste Recycling who provide us with a giant green container where all recyclable materials can be put, making the whole process as easy as possible.
More than just recycling
But ISO14001 is about more than just recycling. We looked at many other aspects including our use of utilities, how often we charge our forklift trucks, how we would deal with an emergency such as a fuel leak from a delivery lorry and how we could ensure that items such as quotes and invoices could be 100% electronic, removing the need for printing.
We also identified procurement as being another key factor of our impact on the environment. Although our products are delivered to us mainly from our manufacturing sites in Austria and Germany, we source non-stock items from the UK. For us, this presented an opportunity to look local and source as much as we could from suppliers near to our base in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire.
In 2017 over 81% of our non-stock procurement was from local suppliers. Not only has this helped cut down on the environmental impact of deliveries, it has also helped us to build strong and friendly relationships with suppliers who can better respond to the changing needs of our business.
So, overall, what have we learnt?
We have certainly learnt that improvements are always possible and that there is never a time to stand still. Before each project is even finished another potential improvement has been identified.
We have also learnt that a project such as ISO14001 can help bring staff together. We have changed the team over the past 7 years to ensure that as many people get involved as possible and that we keep bringing in fresh ideas and new perspectives.
We are proud to hold the ISO14001 Environmental Management certification and although it has taken a lot of hard work, learning and dedication from many people, we can safely say that it has been well worth it.
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