Wellington leading corporate wardrobe supplier Booker~Spalding has been a pioneer in driving environmental improvements through its business. Executive Assistant, Stephanie van den Bergh discusses the company’s environmental focus.
- Enviro-Mark Diamond certified
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Why did you decide to focus on environmental management?
Booker-Spalding joined Enviro-Mark in 2006, via the Wellington EnviroSmart programme, to achieve several objectives. While we already had some environmental practices in place, we required assistance in formulating an environmental management system (EMS) and improving our environmental performance by minimizing our waste and reducing energy, water and raw material use. We also wanted to develop a process for procuring environmentally-sound products and services. Our preferred way to achieve this was through certification to the Enviro-Mark Gold level and we were proud to be the first company in Wellington to achieve this - and within just 12 months.
What has been the most challenging aspect of this?
Initially it took time to set up the programme but Director, Peter Grayling was passionate about the programme and with Anne Gilby and me championing it, the programme got off to a flying start.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your environmental programme?
Seeing how a medium-sized company like ours can actually make a difference to the environment and being recognised for our achievements through successive Enviro-Mark certifications and external awards such as: the Hutt Valley Business Excellence Award in Manufacturing 2009 and the Greater Wellington Regional Council Winner, Business Environmental Leadership Award 2009. The judges of the latter award cited our Enviro-Mark certifications and on-going community activities. We have also been invited to inspire other organisations by speaking at various business functions.
What are some of your EMS achievements?
We have reduced our waste to landfill from five to three skips per week. We estimate we have saved $4000 per year from waste reduction initiatives. We have increased our cardboard/paper and plastic recycling as well as toner cartridges and a whole range of miscellaneous items such as coathangers and shoulder covers. We recycle fabrics through Enviro Designers, Dress For Success, SaveMart and charities and recycling companies. Old furniture is sold and the proceeds go to Petone Central School which we sponsor through our youth community work.
We have reduced water use by 48% through fi xing leaks, and reduced electricity use by 16% through changes in staff behaviour and more efficient technology. Our domestic and international travel has been reduced by continuing to schedule and combine client visits wherever possible. We share taxis more and use phone conferencing facilities where possible.
Through our procurement policy our suppliers and contractors have become integral to our EMS. For example, where possible we choose suppliers who can recycle products or sell recyclable products, and we use freight companies who hang garments to reduce repressing them when on arrival. This reduces energy output from pressers and reduces plastic and cardboard.
What advice would you give to other companies thinking of implementing an EMS?
Your company needs to be dedicated, and time and commitment from top management down is key. If you get that right the savings and benefits from other clients and suppliers can be huge. Even if you are a small business, larger businesses you deal with that have an environmental focus will put pressure on you to meet their standards, so having a programme in place is extremely beneficial.
How has the Enviro-Mark programme assisted you?
Not only has Enviro-Mark made Booker~Spalding more aware of the environment it has also guided us to commit more time to social activities such as adopting a local low decile school and other youth activities in the community such as Capital E, a creative technology and live performance centre in Wellington. It has also helped Booker~Spalding win tenders as many of our major clients also have a commitment, be it through government policies or other pressures, to perform and record their environmental performance.
What value does Enviro-Mark certification have for your organisation?
Booker~Spalding is committed long term to running a successful business and our health, safety, environmental and social responsible programmes are integral to that success. Being serious about our environmental commitment to the community, our current clients and potential clients is also good for staff morale. The Enviro-Mark certification puts a value to the hard work achieved in being environmentally responsible.
Where are you heading now with your environmental management efforts?
We are constantly evaluating our achievements and assessing our goals.
What advice would you give to anyone else starting out on the EMS journey?
Look for support and use it well. Having support from a driving organisation like Enviro-Mark has been vital in the development of our EMS. By breaking the process down into achievable steps, developing an effective EMS has been far easier than expected.
For further information:
P: 04 560 9010
Enviro-Mark Diamond Certification
Enviro-Mark Diamond certified organisations have all the components of an ISO 14001 system in place. They have internal systems to ensure that their plans and policies are followed and to identify any opportunities for change and improvement. They have top management involvement in managing the EMS and its continuing stability.
To achieve Enviro-Mark Diamond certification, an organisation:
- Controls all important documentation to ensure only the most up to date versions are being used;
- Has an internal EMS audit programme in operation, ensuring expected outcomes are occurring as planned;
- Periodically has top management review the performance of the EMS;
- Formalises the roles and responsibilities for people working for and on behalf of the organisation;
- Communicates appropriately both internally and externally;
- Ensures appropriate training is given to people working with the EMS;
- Documents all procedures relating to managing the system (both system and operational procedures);
- Has a good system for managing problems (non-conformities and opportunities for improvement);
- Sets objectives and targets for driving improvement and has programmes in place to meet those targets;
- Develops, implements and tests environmental emergency plans;
- Identifies and evaluates their significant environmental issues arising from activities, products and services;
- Actively monitors their ongoing compliance with New Zealand legislation and ensures they are aware of any changes to obligations;
- Produces an environmental policy statement;
- Understands the scope of their EMS (i.e., are there any parts of the organisation that need to be excluded from the EMS and why);
- Exhibits no non-compliances with New Zealand’s applicable health and safety and environmental legislation.