Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Case Studies

This page categorises case studies by sector.

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Combined technology brings benefits

Aberdeen Heat and Power (AHP) operate a district heating scheme in Aberdeen, using combined heat and power technology. High temperature heat is used to drive gas engines, which produce electricity. The waste heat from the engine is use to produce hot water that is piped to properties on the network, providing heating and hot water to customers.

This company won the VIBES Environmental Product or Service Award 2015, which recognises businesses that have developed, or are developing, a product or service that brings environmental and business benefits. The judges recognised that the business model used by AHP is an exemplar model in district heating due to it’s not for profit nature and the associated social benefits, such as reduction of fuel poverty and the associated health benefits from reheating damp, inefficient properties.

Ian Booth, general manager at Aberdeen Heat & Power Ltd, said: "Aberdeen Heat & Power Ltd. is delighted to be able to win this prestigious VIBES Award. The company was formed in 2002 to deliver affordable heat to alleviate fuel poverty, through a district heating model particularly for hi-rise social housing blocks, and this mantra is still very valid today."

Aberdeen Heat & Power was set up with the specific aims of alleviating fuel poverty and reducing the carbon footprint in hard to treat properties through installation of efficient heating systems. The aim was to replace the original costly and inefficient electrically heated systems, with affordable and controllable systems. In the multi-storey blocks this has been achieved through installation of a range of piping to all flats.

The company have used an innovative approach, taking an existing technology and optimising and adapting it to use in a new way for Scotland. Whilst they are using gas to power the system, they are running the gas engines for optimum efficiency and reduced NOx emissions.

The technology saves between 3 and 6 tonnes of carbon per property per annum, With over 2000 properties now connected to the network this is reducing the carbon footprint significantly. Alternative fuel technologies are also under investigation to offset the use of fossil fuel in the medium and long term, including potential link to the proposed energy from waste plant for the city.

AHP negotiate their gas contracts and set their customers prices well in advance. The fixed rate is set so that no-one is living in fuel poverty, ensuring that it is at the lowest level possible for people on benefits or a state pension. The power generated from the CHP system is sold to the grid, with the contract price for power also negotiated in advance.

 

Further Information

Combined Heat and Power Guidance

VIBES Awards

 

Small team demonstrates big commitment to the environment

The six-strong English Construction team delivers a variety of commercial and domestic building services within an industry that is estimated to create a third of all the UK’s waste. But in 2006 this progressive firm topped the “Waste Mnimisation” category at the Master Builder of the Year Awards, for demonstrating best practice in this area.

Director David English, who set-up the business in 2002, says: “Reduction of building waste is a growing concern, so we decided to act sooner rather than later. A commitment to waste minimisation is helping us lower our environmental impact and make the business more cost effective. For example, we have seen the cost of skip hire double over the last four years. The more we can reduce and re-use materials the better.”

The business extends this environmental approach to its wider network and will only works with suppliers who agree to take back surplus supplies. “Some builders will order in 20,000 bricks and not use all of them. Any left over bricks often get thrown into a skip or just buried on site. Even if we’ve only got 20 paving slabs left over, we make sure the supplier takes them back to be re-used,” says David.

When the team recently converted an old poster and sign shop in Shrewsbury town centre into four luxury town houses, they found it was cheaper to reclaim the original bricks and clean them, rather than buy in new ones. "This meant we could retain the look of the property and cut raw material use at the same time.”

A concrete crusher is used on-site to crush down any unused concrete, which is then re-used as hardcore. Similarly, timber left over from building projects is taken away for re-use and any scrap is chopped up and used on David's log burner, helping him reduce his energy bill by £1,000.

Another new approach the business has trialled is holding toolbox training sessions on-site, involving both employees and suppliers. This allows practical advice and information regarding topics such as waste segregation or handling hazardous waste to be communicated on the ground, during a tea break or lunch hour.

Plus, an internal resource efficiency ‘champion’ ensures waste minimisation is central to all business operations, including taking responsibility for the segregation, re-use and reduction of waste.

English Construction is currently settling in to a new yard in Shrewsbury where they have even greater capacity to store and re-use building materials.

Further information

Construction and Building Trade Guidance

E-Learning Waste Tools

How to Manage Waste on a Construction Site

Waste Guidance

 

 

Collaboration brings success

This is a partnership between Taylor Wimpey West Scotland, C & D Associates, Central Scotland Green Network Trust, the Scottish Government and Abertay University to create source control Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) technology to help control rainwater and promote green infrastructure at plot level.

The groups won the 2015 VIBES Co-Operation Award which recognises businesses that are working in partnership with companies or organisations in the public, private or voluntary sector for environmental and financial gain. The practical demonstration of this commitment to partnership working makes them worthy winners of this category.

Neil Campbell and Brian D'Arcy, partners of C&D Associates LLP, said: “We are thrilled to have received a VIBES Award. At C&D Associates, our focus is on

exploring new ideas to bring about practical solutions to hitherto intractable problems that in turn bring significant environmental and business opportunities to Scotland.”

The innovative technique for storm water / flood risk management was designed in collaboration with Taylor Wimpey, C&D Associates and Abertay University. The product has been designed to be used in urban areas and can be sunk into the ground as well as retrofitted to buildings. Drainage in built up areas often involves large structures, this product offers a sustainable urban drainage system which operates on a small scale - within individual house plots. The vision is to move the impact of storm events closer to the point of contact with the ground with easily maintained SUDS units which can also, when constructed as a rain garden, provide an amenity to the house owner.

The transfer and sharing of knowledge between the partners, is leading to improved flood risk management understanding pollution prevention and control technology and biodiversity/amenity enhancement in housing areas. The rain gardens will improve biodiversity and enhance the appearance of gardens.  Back garden habitat features exemplify habitat and wildlife opportunities for householders to do within their own properties.

Research by C & D Associates, Taylor Wimpey and others has indicated that source control techniques can save a house building business money, by reducing the land-take for traditional flood risk management / SUDS features.

Taylor Wimpey has included the product in show homes to demonstrate the attractiveness and effectiveness of the technology.  The attractive appearance of the features enhances the local area and provides wildlife interest. The technology and partnership outputs constitute an educational resource for the house building industry, as well as for householders and visitors.

Further Information

VIBES Awards

Suburban Drainage System Guidance

 

 

Glasgow Caledonian Puts NetRegs to the TestGlasgow Caledonian NetRegs Academic Infographic

Whilst NetRegs is primarily aimed at small and medium sized businesses it can be a useful tool for a variety of groups. It is becoming prominent in academic circles and the NetRegs team regularly go to universities to explain why it is a useful tool. So far the team have given around 25 student presentations to more than 500 students!

Dr Karin Helwig is a lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University and has used NetRegs as a teaching tool for her Environmental Management class for several years, “Students don’t know environmental legislation all that well and NetRegs can help them pull the together the important parts which they need to do to create an environmental management plan” she explains.

NetRegs was designed to make navigating the maze of environmental legislation a bit easier so it is very encouraging to hear that even academics in the environmental sectortRegs workshops make it much more interesting and give students an idea of what businesses are looking for.” It is likely that many of these students will go into environmental work and NetRegs helps both as a teaching tool initially and then as a reference tool for professionals.

At NetRegs we aim to cover as much as possible whilst remaining up to date, something that Dr Helwig believes is beneficial to the students, “It is hard to find an overview of environmental regulations anywhere and you can always trust that NetRegs remains up to date”

 This workshop also presented an ideal opportunity for us to get some feedback from the students about NetRegs and how they use it.

“NetRegs seems an excellent tool to use for businesses and individuals alike” and “Very useful seeing how NetRegs explains and simplifies the legal jargon” said two students from Glasgow Caledonian University.

This demonstrates the wide-ranging benefits that NetRegs can bring and how the guidance it provides can be accessed and used by anyone. We are glad to see that the students are finding it a valuable asset and we aim to continue to improve NetRegs and launch some new features very shortly.

If you want to find out more about NetRegs for academics or arrange a visit from the team then please email netregs@sepa.org.uk

Article Posted: 01/03/17

 

Further Information

NetRegs on LinkedIn

NetRegs on Twitter

 

 

Better World through books Better World Books

Better World Books (BWB), situated in Dunfermline, is an online bookseller that collects books from organisations such as libraries, universities, recyclers and charity shops. These books are then processed and sold online on 11 marketplaces and on www.betterworldbooks.co.uk. A percentage of each sale goes back to the source organisation and a further percentage goes to support one of BWB’s 5 literacy partners or the BWB Literacy Fund.

This company won the 2015 VIBES Circular Economy Award for businesses whose product or service demonstrates the business and environmental benefits of a closed loop approach. Mairi McManus, Managing Director of Better World Books, said: "Better World Books is thrilled to have won the VIBES Award. Our business model was built to support global literacy through book reuse.”

The re-use of books is recognised as an important contribution to the circular economy. Although other companies sell used books online, BWB are innovative in that no books are sent to landfill; they are sold, donated, or as a last resort recycled. BWB can also track every book received back to the library or organisation it came from. At the heart of the BWB business model is a triple bottom line of People, Planet and Profit.

The collection of redundant books ensures that these books are diverted from landfill. They go through a rigorous process to ensure that as many books as possible are reused. Any recycling goes to pulp processing which is then reused in paper manufacture with other reuse options being considered to diversify reuse. Packaging is reused as many times as possible (3x for cardboard boxes) prior to being sent for pulp. The pulped material is manufactured back into packaging material.

BWB try to choose companies to work with that have a sustainability ethos and are local (contributing to Scotland’s development and reducing their carbon footprint).

The company reduce their carbon footprint further by conducting their business travel by public transport whenever possible and planning collection routes to minimise travel and in turn CO2 emissions. They also advise their book donors about how to maximise loads in boxes and on the “perfect pallet” to maximise transport efficiency.

BWB has a strong community involvement. In August they opened their doors for 3 days and invited teachers to take away children’s books for their schools – 35,000 books were donated this way. Space within the building is offered to local groups free of charge and a teachers’ group has booked the space.

Further Information

VIBES Awards

Paper and Cardboard Guidance

 

Loch Duart Make Sustainable Splash with Scottish SalmonLoch Duart Clean Aquaculture Infographic NetRegs

Loch Duart are a small aquaculture company located in the far North West of Scotland. The company has won many environmental accolades and has been keen to promote sustainable aquaculture since its inception in 1999. This is very important to the company as Technical Manager Sonja Brown explains, “Environmental considerations are central to everything the company does. We aim to produce quality Scottish salmon in a way that is respectful to the animals, the environment and the people involved.”

Loch Duart not only complies with environmental regulations and accreditations such as ISO 14001, they pushed for the RSPCA to establish a scheme for salmon welfare. The RSPCA Assurance scheme, originally named “Freedom Food”, lays down strict codes of practice for the aquaculture industry. Loch Duart was the first fish farm to be approved by this scheme, which is now widely observed across the Scottish salmon sector.

The scheme lays down regulations on fish density, to conform a farm must have not have more than 15kg of fish per cubic metre of water, a figure Loch Duart often operates below. Industry regulation also sets out restrictions on leaving sites fallow (empty) in order to reduce environmental impact. 6 weeks is the minimum fallow time which Sonja explains Loch Duart “Exceeds in all circumstances”, with the shortest fallow on any one of the company’s farms being 5 months.

In line with their environmental commitment the company uses no anti-fouling chemicals on the nets in which the salmon are reared, no antibiotics for their salmon and no growth enhancers. The lack of chemical usage means that the seabed around the sites remains clean and the company aims for their farms to exist as part of the environment, rather than an intrusion. Loch Duart also takes a welfare and environment oriented approach to the diet of their salmon. Working with their feed supplier they created a bespoke diet for their fish, based around capelin, which is both a natural part of the North Atlantic salmon’s diet and a well-regulated fishery. Capelin are caught for their roe (eggs) for human consumption, and Loch Duart use what is essentially a by-product from this fishery to create a high-quality diet for their salmon. Not only does this reduce environmental impact significantly, it improves the health of animals and people as Sonja explains, “When you feed salmon in this way they are much healthier, much closer to a wild fish and that makes it healthier for consumers as well”. By doing this Loch Duart meet their own principles of respect for animals, the environment and people.

As with any fish farm, sea lice are an essential consideration. Loch Duart, with guidance from SEPA, have set up a dedicated hatchery where they rear cleaner fish which eat sea lice as a form of biological parasite control, resulting in healthier fish and a healthier environment. They also use lice filtration systems and are constantly evolving their farming practices to minimise potential impacts from sea lice.  

Often, small businesses find it harder to reduce their environmental impacts than larger ones. Loch Duart demonstrate that by keeping farming as natural as possible they can reduce their environmental impact significantly whilst simultaneously running a successful business.

 

Further Information

Aquaculture Guidance

VIBES Awards

 

Potato company cuts costs by reducing its environmental impact

A potato packing and distribution company based in Scotland has demonstrated that good environmental management makes good business sense.

Taypack Potatoes (part of Taylors Food Group) is a family-owned company of around 180 staff that supplies potatoes from its facility in Perthshire to food outlets and wholesalers across the UK and Europe.

The company supplies ASDA – its biggest customer - with 40% of the supermarket chain’s fresh potatoes and has an annual turnover of £31 million.

Taypack has introduced a number of resource efficiency measures to reduce its impact on the environment and now recycles 95% of its waste. They recycle waste potatoes as animal feed and have introduced polythene and cardboard recycling schemes to reduce the cost of mixed waste removal and landfill charges.

They have also invested £250,000 in a water treatment plant which has reduced the volumes of wastewater transported off site. This enables the company to remove solid residue from dirty water after washing potatoes, which is then sold as good quality topsoil.

“The recycling facility at Taypack is now bigger than our waste facility,” said Matt Dunmore, engineering development manager at Taypack. “We have more recycling skips leaving our site than waste skips.”

In addition, the company has installed a variable speed air compressor for its packaging machinery which has reduced power consumption by 30%. It has also built a biodiesel production facility on site and is growing industrial rapeseed to produce cleaner fuel for a new combined heat and power generator.

The generator will provide power for the company’s fleet of electric fork lift trucks and keep potatoes warm at night to reduce the risk of bruising during packaging. The company plans to produce fuel from waste potatoes using new technology which has been developed with research funding from Scottish Enterprise Tayside.

Taypack has also introduced satellite tracking technology to manage its fleet of potato collection lorries more efficiently. This has cut the company’s transport fuel bill by £100,000 a year.

These environmental measures have earned the company several green accolades. In 2006 Taypack won the medium business sized category of the VIBES environmental awards. VIBES (Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland) is Scotland's leading business and environment competition which recognises commercial success achieved by improved environmental performance.

“Reducing waste is good management practice and can result in real financial benefits for businesses like ours,” added Mr Dunmore. “It’s also an essential part of making sure that we comply with environmental legislation.

“But more importantly, we are a family business and as one of the largest employers in the areas we have a responsibility to reduce our environmental impact on the local community – this is our real driving force. We want to ensure that future generations enjoy the same quality of life that we enjoy today.”

Further information

Energy Efficiency Guidance

Green Transport Guidance

How to Manage Transport Impacts

VIBES Awards

Scottish Group Reuse Oil and Gas Components

The John Lawrie Group began as a scrap metal merchant in Aberdeen during the 1930’s and has since grown into one of Scotland’s premier oil and gas decommissioning firms. The company has around sixty employees and conducts a variety of decommissioning work and component reuse activities across Scotland, the UK and Europe.

John Lawrie Decommissioning Oil Gas NetRegs

Minimising environmental impact is a priority for the group. Currently, circa 98% of the material they decommission is recycled or reused. The firm deals with around 200,000 tonnes of material every year, servicing the decommissioning needs of companies such as Maersk, Centrica and Transocean along with many others. Ray Grant, the environmental director at John Lawrie says that environmental concerns underpin everything that the company does; “We try to achieve good environmental objectives for our clients which means that we, ourselves, must set high standards”

Decommissioning is regarded as an emerging industry though, as Ray explains, that is not the case “We’ve been decommissioning for years, we just referred to it as ‘scrapping’ in the past”. While scrap metal and oil decommissioning fall under separate legislation, the overall objective is the same - reuse and recycle components whilst minimising the environmental impact.

John Lawrie Decom have developed some novel approaches to the issue of what to do with all the material they decommission. Rather than deem it waste and then scrap it, much of the material they receive is resized and reused. A key area John Lawrie focuses on is metal tubulars - heavy duty steel pipe - which is used widely in the oil and gas industry. The redundant tubulars are cut to specified sizes at their state-of-the-art facilities in Montrose and sold to construction firms who use them for piling, an essential part of building work. The company also reuses metal chain links and wire rope, supplying the aquaculture industry with a solution for weighing down their nets. In these cases, the company actually created the market for these products which financially benefits both John Lawrie Group and their many clients due to higher resale values over recycling.

Whenever possible, John Lawrie doesn’t recycle a material unless it is beyond repair, preferring to find a way to reuse it. For material that does need to be scrapped, the group invested in a large metal shear which is capable of crushing whole train carriages in one go. This means that they no longer have to cut material and feed it into a smaller machine, thereby reducing the amount of high temperature gas cutting by around 70% and generating huge savings in time and energy, not to mention significant reductions in emissions to atmosphere.

In some cases, material is brought in which contains naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). This can be a problem as it needs treated in a specific way under strict licencing conditions. To deal with this John Lawrie set up a NORM decontamination facility in Aberdeen to clean up the decommissioned equipment. Once decontaminated, they can then safely reuse the metals. The facility is cleverly designed to produce zero emissions. The only waste product from it is the NORM itself which is safely disposed of according to SEPA regulations. All other material is recycled and reused.

The company is not just about servicing the complex needs of the oil and gas industry. In one case, after recovering around 500 tonnes of concrete mattresses from a subsea oil pipeline they gave the material to a local farm to firm up some soft farmland. This saved all parties involved time and money whilst also reducing the environmental impact as concrete recycling is an energetically costly process.

Oil and gas decommissioning is often viewed as an unclean and polluting industry but this is not necessarily the case. This example clearly shows that with some novel ideas it is possible to operate a more successful business by reusing so-called “waste” material in other industries. It is a clear illustration of how being more environmentally aware can lead to being a more sustainable and profitable company.

 

Further Information

VIBES Awards

Metal Production and Processing Guidance

Scrap Metal Guidance

 

Better World through books Better World Books

Better World Books (BWB), situated in Dunfermline, is an online bookseller that collects books from organisations such as libraries, universities, recyclers and charity shops. These books are then processed and sold online on 11 marketplaces and on www.betterworldbooks.co.uk. A percentage of each sale goes back to the source organisation and a further percentage goes to support one of BWB’s 5 literacy partners or the BWB Literacy Fund.

This company won the 2015 VIBES Circular Economy Award for businesses whose product or service demonstrates the business and environmental benefits of a closed loop approach. Mairi McManus, Managing Director of Better World Books, said: "Better World Books is thrilled to have won the VIBES Award. Our business model was built to support global literacy through book reuse.”

The re-use of books is recognised as an important contribution to the circular economy. Although other companies sell used books online, BWB are innovative in that no books are sent to landfill; they are sold, donated, or as a last resort recycled. BWB can also track every book received back to the library or organisation it came from. At the heart of the BWB business model is a triple bottom line of People, Planet and Profit.

The collection of redundant books ensures that these books are diverted from landfill. They go through a rigorous process to ensure that as many books as possible are reused. Any recycling goes to pulp processing which is then reused in paper manufacture with other reuse options being considered to diversify reuse. Packaging is reused as many times as possible (3x for cardboard boxes) prior to being sent for pulp. The pulped material is manufactured back into packaging material.

BWB try to choose companies to work with that have a sustainability ethos and are local (contributing to Scotland’s development and reducing their carbon footprint).

The company reduce their carbon footprint further by conducting their business travel by public transport whenever possible and planning collection routes to minimise travel and in turn CO2 emissions. They also advise their book donors about how to maximise loads in boxes and on the “perfect pallet” to maximise transport efficiency.

BWB has a strong community involvement. In August they opened their doors for 3 days and invited teachers to take away children’s books for their schools – 35,000 books were donated this way. Space within the building is offered to local groups free of charge and a teachers’ group has booked the space.

Further Information

VIBES Awards

Paper and Cardboard Guidance

Potato company cuts costs by reducing its environmental impact

A potato packing and distribution company based in Scotland has demonstrated that good environmental management makes good business sense.

Taypack Potatoes (part of Taylors Food Group) is a family-owned company of around 180 staff that supplies potatoes from its facility in Perthshire to food outlets and wholesalers across the UK and Europe.

The company supplies ASDA – its biggest customer - with 40% of the supermarket chain’s fresh potatoes and has an annual turnover of £31 million.

Taypack has introduced a number of resource efficiency measures to reduce its impact on the environment and now recycles 95% of its waste. They recycle waste potatoes as animal feed and have introduced polythene and cardboard recycling schemes to reduce the cost of mixed waste removal and landfill charges.

They have also invested £250,000 in a water treatment plant which has reduced the volumes of wastewater transported off site. This enables the company to remove solid residue from dirty water after washing potatoes, which is then sold as good quality topsoil.

“The recycling facility at Taypack is now bigger than our waste facility,” said Matt Dunmore, engineering development manager at Taypack. “We have more recycling skips leaving our site than waste skips.”

In addition, the company has installed a variable speed air compressor for its packaging machinery which has reduced power consumption by 30%. It has also built a biodiesel production facility on site and is growing industrial rapeseed to produce cleaner fuel for a new combined heat and power generator.

The generator will provide power for the company’s fleet of electric fork lift trucks and keep potatoes warm at night to reduce the risk of bruising during packaging. The company plans to produce fuel from waste potatoes using new technology which has been developed with research funding from Scottish Enterprise Tayside.

Taypack has also introduced satellite tracking technology to manage its fleet of potato collection lorries more efficiently. This has cut the company’s transport fuel bill by £100,000 a year.

These environmental measures have earned the company several green accolades. In 2006 Taypack won the medium business sized category of the VIBES environmental awards. VIBES (Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland) is Scotland's leading business and environment competition which recognises commercial success achieved by improved environmental performance.

“Reducing waste is good management practice and can result in real financial benefits for businesses like ours,” added Mr Dunmore. “It’s also an essential part of making sure that we comply with environmental legislation.

“But more importantly, we are a family business and as one of the largest employers in the areas we have a responsibility to reduce our environmental impact on the local community – this is our real driving force. We want to ensure that future generations enjoy the same quality of life that we enjoy today.”

Further information

Energy Efficiency Guidance

Green Transport Guidance

How to Manage Transport Impacts

VIBES Awards

Drivers club together for success

City Car Club in Edinburgh provides a short-term, self-service car and van rental to members for periods from half an hour to several days, 24/7 days a week, without the need to go to a central rental location to pick up a vehicle. Vehicles are located across the city, close to member’s homes and places of work to provide maximum convenience. Employers and private individuals join City Car Club as a cost effective alternative to car ownership, to remove the hassle of owning a car and an effective way of reducing their carbon footprint.

The company won the 2015 VIBES Transport Award which recognises businesses that have reduced transport-related fuel consumption and consequent CO2 emissions. The award for the City Car Club is in recognition of the potential for this service to influence car usage, driving techniques and the collection of localised data to influence behavioural change in transport use. Dan Gursel, managing director of City Car Club, said: “We’re already seeing electric vehicles in Edinburgh and around the country, as well as business car clubs that are helping local authorities and companies to reduce their emissions and travel costs. Winning this award is vital recognition that we can make a real difference to communities and the environment."

There has been a shift over recent years by the company to replace traditional fuel cars with low/no emission Electric Vehicles. In line with City Car Clubs policy of innovating with the latest developments in vehicle technology, it introduced its first zero emitting fully electric vehicle in April 2014.

The introduction of Electric Vehicles to the fleet has seen significant economic savings for customers requiring vehicles particularly for shorter journeys. The cost per mile of both fuel (19p/mile) and electric vehicles (4p/mile) is cheaper than most corporate companies pay staff for the use of their own vehicle and so membership of the City Car Club is also expected to result in savings for corporate companies and larger organisations.

All staff has received training on eco-driving from the Energy Saving Trust (EST) and impart their knowledge freely, a credit card sized key facts card on eco-driving is located in each vehicle.

City Car Club works closely with public sector organisation and key partner organisations including Energy Saving Trust, Bike Station and Transport Scotland to enhance the service. They also have a strong partnership with City of Edinburgh Council. City Car Club have come to arrangements with a number of organisations to host their electric vehicles at their under-utilised charging infra-structure and are now operating 13 fully electric vehicles and 1 plug-in hybrid.

The City Car Club offers a model that could easily be replicated throughout Scotland too convert the way the nation thinks about travel, challenging the traditional model and offering a cost effective, environmentally friendly alternative pay as you go motoring.

Further Information

Transport guidance

VIBES Awards

 

CMS Window Systems is one of the UK's leading manufacturers and installers of aluminium, PVCu and timber hybrid windows, doors and curtain walling. The company uniquely differentiates itself through its sustainability strategy which has been at the core of the business since it was founded a decade ago.

Sarah Wilson, Marketing Manager at CMS Window Systems explains why the company chose to implement an EMS, how they did it and what benefits this has brought.

"The whole business is built around the principle of resource efficiency. From the outset we've worked hard to develop a product and service portfolio which will make homes and buildings more energy efficient, and thus less demanding on the world's resources. So by setting up our organisation and conducting our business in the most sustainable way we offer a ˜closed loop" to customers.

"This means we operate sustainably in all its dimensions; socially, economically and environmentally. And that's where an EMS plays a vital role. It enables us to implement processes across the business that keep us on track to achieve our environmental goals and continuously review and improve what we do.

How we implemented an EMS

"Full backing from the most senior members of an organisation is essential for a successful implementation. At CMS the Managing Director's full support of the EMS project enabled the Director responsible for Environmental issues, Business Systems Director Martin McCrimmon who is a trained ISO 14001 auditor, to lead the operation.

"10 years ago an initial "Significant Aspects and Impacts" audit was carried out for CMS by an Environmental Scientist and from that stating point CMS was able to build the plan for ISO14001 implementation. Although we utilised a specialist consultant to begin the process back then, today there are some excellent free tools available, especially for smaller organisations. Finding quality information online should be easy for anyone embarking on their EMS journey now.

"We employ an environmental graduate to help administer all aspects of our sustainability programme, such as recycling and energy use, on a day to day basis and proactively research and propose how improvements could be made.

Environmental processes and procedures are embedded in the ethos of the organisation and all departments work to the standards and processes laid out in the EMS. In addition, two dedicated recycling facilities process all waste ensuring maximum resource efficiency.

The close management of our everyday activities ensure we are maintaining best practice and the annual audit processes confirm we're on track and that our policies and procedures are robust.

How an EMS has benefited us so far

"The extent to which an EMS gives us the opportunity to review every part of our business has delivered some significant savings for our business and our clients. It has also proved important in giving our business some strong differentiators in a fiercely competitive marketplace.

"Firstly the EMS has helped us implement a process of designing out waste at inception of project. This saves money for clients and importantly will reduce resource use, a tangible environmental benefit.

"Secondly we have adopted a lean manufacturing model across our 3,500 sq m factory which ensures it is equipped with plant and equipment designed for optimum efficiency. This has resulted in a reduction in the amount of material wasted and the amount of energy used, as well as the manpower required during manufacturing processes.

"The efficiency of our transportation and logistics process was also scrutinised and with the help of the Energy Saving Trust we have implemented a programme of fuel efficient driving training. This ensures our drivers drive in the safest and most fuel efficient way with the shortest routes mapped to reduce vehicle miles. This saved 9.2 tonnes of CO2 in 2015.

Our ability to demonstrate a holistic approach to sustainability, and in particular our environmental credentials, is powerful in helping us win contracts. The EMS keeps us on track and provides us with the USPs which have been instrumental in establishing our excellent reputation, such as our recycling levels, energy usage across our operations and energy performance of the products we manufacture and install. In fact, our ability to collect and recycle old windows and doors removed during refurbishment projects was so attractive to our public sector clients that it has now become a standard criteria of their window refurbishment tenders. This demonstrates that our environmental innovation is improving the sustainability of the supply chain."

"Our achievements have also been recognised by others resulting in the company winning a VIBES Environmental Management Award in 2015. We have also just been selected as one of 6 companies to represent the UK in the European Business Awards for the Environment which we are very excited about.

Our tips for anyone implementing an EMS

  • Ensure the people at the very top of the organisation fully back the EMS implementation.
  • If possible incorporate ISO14001 from the inception of the business and embed it in the culture of the organisation so internal buy in from staff happens naturally.
  • If you are an established company who wants to become ISO14001 registered, set achievable targets each year and move gradually towards it in order to allow staff time to change and adapt.

Our future plans

"We're extremely proud of what our EMS has helped us achieve so far, but we are always reviewing what we do and looking at ways to do things better. The next major step for us is to work towards ISO50001 certification. Whereas ISO 14001 is a generic standard for the environment, ISO 50001 focuses on the cost benefits of utilising energy more efficiently and therefore the business case for instigating it is clear.

Ross-Shire Engineering operate from Muir of Ord in the Scottish Highlands and Cumbernauld near Glasgow, and offer clients a range of water technology, oil and gas, hydro, industrial and electrical turn-key engineering and fabrication services.

The company achieved certification to the Environmental Management System (EMS) Standard ISO 14001 in 2014, building on their existing Quality and Health & Safety Management Systems.

Ross-shire Engineering have since become one of the first companies to be certified to the new 2015 Standard for ISO 14001 and Stephen Webb, Quality and Environmental Manager offers his thoughts on what an EMS means for the company and their experience of the ISO 14001 transition process.

Why did you choose to implement an EMS?

"Our decision to implement an EMS was partly client driven and the need to be able to clearly demonstrate good environmental management when tendering for and also while carrying out work for some of our larger clients such as Scottish Water and within the oil and gas industry. In addition, there was also a desire to gain a better understanding of our environmental risks and quantify consumption of key utilities and waste in order to identify areas for reduction and potential savings".

How did you develop the system?

"We already had accredited Quality and Health & Safety management systems in place, so adding an Environmental element was fairly straightforward as we used some existing templates and procedures as the starting point. Over time the three management systems have become much more integrated to reduce duplication of procedures and documents. The EMS was developed in-house with some key staff attending EMS auditor training. When identifying our legislative requirements NetRegs was a very useful source of information and assisted in the development of our legalisation register and also in understanding our compliance obligations".

What are the benefits?

"Operating an EMS helps support the tender process with clients, we have documentation and evidence in place to support Pre-Qualification Questionnaires and ensure the client's pre-tender and project environmental requirements are met. Apart from helping us to be successful in winning new and repeat business with clients, operating an EMS has encouraged us to analyse our utility consumption and waste production and identify areas where costs can be reduced. Directors receive monthly reports regarding energy use and waste production. Access to this information has resulted in improved waste segregation initiatives that have increased our recycling rates to 77%, Energy efficient investment has included a wood fuel boiler, underfloor heating, LED lighting and solar panels being installed as part of a newly built works unit. The installation of solar PV roof panels on existing buildings are due to payback well within the 6 years predicated".

"We have also just been audited as a supplier within the utility sector and received 100% scores in all areas (Quality, Health & Safety, Environment and Corporate and Social Responsibility) demonstrating that our management systems are working across all areas, and something that is of interest to our clients."

Do you have any tips for companies moving over to the new ISO 14001:2015 Standard?

"Senior Management commitment from the start is vital for a successful EMS as well as addressing the new leadership criteria in ISO 14001:2015.

In fulfilling the Standard requirements of "Context" and "Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties" we made a list so that we could consider and engage with a full range of stakeholders, including clients, employees, our supply chain, competitors and both personal and business residents in close proximity to our workshops and yard. Any significant risks such as single source suppliers / high risk suppliers or opportunities such as technological or process advances were then entered into our corporate register for further investigation to mitigate risk and develop opportunities.

After tackling the requirements above, we found that the other changes required fell in to place. We are fortunate that our products are almost completely recyclable. Our fabricated items are primarily made from steel with ancillary equipment installations and cabling also being recyclable, which helped to ensure we met the lifecycle considerations required within ISO 14001".

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