As we’ve learned about the impact of human activity on the environment, sustainable business practice has become more and more important. Thinking about ways to work ‘greener’ just makes sense – it’s good for the planet, it’s good for the industry as a whole, and it’s good for us!
Here at ICG, we’ve been working to minimise our effect on the environment for years, particularly in how we dispose of our waste and how we train our staff to avoid making it in the first place.
But it’s important to prove we walk the talk – that we’re not just full of hot air, so to speak. To show we mean business, we picked the most credible programme around – Enviro-Mark Certification – and got to work meeting their exacting standards of compliance.
There are five levels to Enviro-Mark: bronze, silver, gold, platinum and diamond.
It’s tough to even get on the ladder, with Bronze certification requiring a full review of how a huge range of legislation should best be applied to our business. We recruited a group of diligent, determined staff to make it happen: May, Grace, Kieran, Stephen and Zephyr. Together, they started working out how best to tackle this formidable task.
First off the team hit the books, with Grace and Kieran poring over 12 Government Acts including Resource Management, Health & Safety, Building, Fire Service and Local Government. Just a bit of light reading!
Once Grace and Kieran translated what we needed to do, the whole team pulled together to start making it happen. 12 process maps were created for 12 areas around our premises, with inputs and outputs for each. These were then assessed against legal compliance and audited by an Enviro-Mark supplier.
Health and Safety was the main area where we needed to make improvements – so now, we have a dedicated Health & Safety team, who meet weekly. They’ve set up risk registers for each department, and go through the data once a month. They’ve completed a new chemical register in accordance with all the new regulations, and have safety data sets for all the chemicals on site – even some of the inks.
Eventually, we got our piece of paper – then we pushed on towards Silver accreditation, and more recently Gold!
Each required a new level of improvement to be reached, as well as proof of our on-going commitment to moving forward. We’re regularly audited, too – so it’s a process that never really ends.
To maintain our Gold certification, we have to:
- Set objectives and targets for driving improvement.
- Develop, implement and test environmental emergency plans.
- Identify and evaluate significant environmental issues arising from our activities, products and services.
- Actively monitor our ongoing compliance with NZ legislation.
- Have an environmental policy statement.
- Understand the scope of our EMS.
- Exhibit no non-compliances with health and safety and environmental legislation.
Kieran says it’s “awesome” having Gold Certification, but that little logo we can now put next to our company name “really doesn’t show the full process that happens behind the scenes”. He estimates spending around 225 hours on the process – an incredible effort, made possible only by the support of key people within the business. “The company culture was great”, Kieran points out. “It was very much a team effort,” Grace adds. “We all helped each other out and supported one another along the way.”
So the next time you see the Enviro-Mark logo on a brochure or invoice, you’ll know there’s a whole lot of time, effort, and company-wide commitment to change backing it up.
We’re planning to try for Platinum in due course, and look at Diamond after that.
It’s all about constant improvement for us – whether we’re talking ROI, ratecards or recycling.