Setting an environmental example in today’s business climate is becoming increasingly important for all businesses, large and small.
With focus on the environment moving higher up the agenda, the subject can now make or break contract negotiations, affect business perception but also deliver a whole host of tangible and intangible benefits.
For AV Dawson, one of Teesside’s largest employers, securing the ISO 140001 environmental accreditation was more than just a tick-box exercise.
ISO 14001 is an internationally recognised environmental standard that sets out the requirements for an environmental management system. Audited by an independent accreditation company, it helps businesses identify, manage, monitor and control environmental aspects and impacts.
Neil Olver, AV Dawson’s head of health, safety and environment, says: “For 18 months we have been working hard to gain the 140001 accreditation. This was built on the back of the extensive work we undertook to achieve IOS 9001 and ISO 45001.
“The standard requires AV Dawson to understand and consider all environmental issues relevant to our operations, such as air pollution, river pollution, waste management, soil contamination and climate change.
“With our extensive port and logistical operations, it is incredibly important that we focus on the environment and put in procedures to reduce the impact our operations have on our local environment.
“We also needed to consider our resource use, how we could become more efficient in our operations and how to increase our recycling rate; all to improve our carbon footprint. We should think of ourselves as custodians of the land we occupy and do everything we can to reduce the impact of our operations.”
The accreditation has delivered a number of immediate benefits for the business, including reduced energy consumption, cost savings and increased operational efficiencies. However, there have also been several additional benefits.
Charlie Nettle, AV Dawson’s commercial and marketing director, says: “This is another incredible achievement. It’s a testament to the whole team and their belief in our environmental standards and how integral they are to our business.
“Working to professional standards like this ensures the business is striving to be the best and positions it well for securing new opportunities with major blue-chip companies.
“It has allowed us to take an objective view of the business and helped us to streamline our operations to make them as efficient as possible.
“Although the environment has always been a consideration, the accreditation has formally allowed us to build this aspect into all our strategic planning for the future and document our progress. It has also helped us develop our environmental communications within the business, allowing for greater input from our teams, helping people understand and adopt the changes we are making to the business.
“During the process of achieving the accreditation, we have found this has delivered a number of less tangible benefits for the business, including the reinforcement of our corporate social responsibility strategy and the work we are doing to deliver this.
“We have also received really positive feedback from colleagues on our environmental initiatives. Our colleagues are integral to the adoption of any environmental changes we make and so we are really enthused to see them suggesting further ideas and improvements.
“Our focus on the environment has undoubtedly increased staff morale and retention across the business but it also seems to be contributing to an increase in the number of job applications we’re receiving.”
Nettle adds: “This is an incredibly exciting time for the Tees Valley with the area set to be home to Net Zero, the first decarbonised industrial cluster in the UK and the location for some pioneering new hydrogen projects.
“As a company we continue to improve our environmental credentials so we remain at the forefront – well positioned to support the area’s environmental revolution.”