I was auditing a company recently when I noticed some duplication in their environmental management system documentation. All of the procedures were presented as a flow chart, then repeated in words. This means that they will appeal to people who are visual as well as those that prefer words, which could be a good thing. I didn’t notice any errors in this case, but it reminded me of how duplications mean that you run the risk of one element being updated and the other no longer matching.
I saw this the other day in some operating procedures covering temperature. The correct temperature settings were stated differently in different parts of the procedure. Not only could this lead to confusion, but also to wasted energy.
Are there any duplications in your environmental management system? If so, are they managed closely to ensure that any changes are made in both places?
When I ask people how they determine their environmental aspects (activities they do that could have an impact on the environment), they often tell me that they walk around their site and assess the aspects associated with each area. So far, so good – this usually picks up the obvious things.
What is often forgotten is to think about what office-based staff are doing. Arranging distribution? In which case distribution needs to be added to your list of aspects. Sales? Travel to meetings and production of samples may need to be added. Product design? Links to all sorts of other aspects such as use of raw materials, energy use in production, maintenance of the product during use, longevity, recyclability of the product at end of life, etc.
Does your aspects assessment reflect all of your organization’s activities?
During a recent trip across the Netherlands, I noticed that the grass verges around buildings are often used to graze sheep, goats and chickens. Letting someone in the local community, or maybe one of your staff, use the land around your building for food production could save on maintenance costs, reduce food miles and provide a better environment for your staff during breaks. I have only once seen this done in the UK – with a few chickens taking up an unused corner of a maintenance yard.
Is this something you could introduce at your site? Would you want to?
I was sitting in a jazz bar the other day, waiting for the band to come onto stage. The lights dimmed, the MC made his introductions and the band emerged – four men and one woman.
Although I consider myself to be pretty good on equality and diversity issues, I initially assumed that the woman was the vocalist – until she walked past the microphone and sat behind the drum kit.
Are you making any assumptions about your employees’ competences?
One of my clients has an administrator who has such excellent interpersonal skills that they are far better at motivating people to close out non-conformities than the compliance manager is.
At another client’s, one of the engineers is a talented pen and ink artist – an ideal skill for enlivening internal communications.
Do any of your colleagues have hidden talents? Could someone unexpected turn out to be an ideal member of your environmental management team?
With some car manufacturers offering diesel scrappage schemes and the driving range of electric vehicles increasing all the time, is now the right time to consider switching for your business?
There are over 5,000 charging points in the UK, so, along with the increasing driving range of electric cars, switching is beginning to look more feasible.