Managing the Group’s Environmental Impacts Comprehensively

10 Aug

At Aitken Spence, we utilise several different tools to enhance productivity and implement our sustainability strategy; one such tool is the Environmental Management System (EMS). EMS improves productivity and provides a more holistic approach to operations by eliminating waste and optimising resource usage.
EMS was first inducted into Aitken Spence in the hotels sector. The idea was born at the award winning Kandalama Hotel in Dambulla. Instead of viewing environmental and social responsibilities as mere inconveniences, those factors as well as employees, the wider community and everything else impacted became a part of the sustainability drive. With Kandalama’s success becoming evident, the Company made a corporate decision to apply this strategy in other hotels and later throughout the entire spectrum of its business.
Aitken Spence EMS was developed by internal environmental experts, based on globally recognised ISO 14001 guidelines. They then proceeded to implement it one step at a time into each of its many subsidiaries simultaneously. The hotels got a head start and currently, all except one have obtained the ISO 14001 certification. All Aitken Spence power plants are also ISO 14001 certified. Other subsidiaries are in the process of implementing the EMS and are currently documenting the EMS and its procedures as per the ISO 14001 requirements.
An EMS at Aitken Spence is divided into three implementation phases. Phase one identifies an organisation’s impacts on the environment, isolates those impacts that are significant and sets qualitative objectives and quantitative targets as benchmarks to mitigate if not eliminate the impact by managing the activities and aspects that cause the impact. This is achieved by outlining programmes to guide activities towards that. All subsidiaries have completed phase one and are currently working on phase two.
Phase two includes appointing an Environmental Management Representative (EMR) who controls the implementation of programmes. It also details every role and responsibility employees are required to undertake to ensure successful completion of the programme. They are assisted in this assimilation through training, improved communication, supporting documentation and its control.
Phase three which is yet to be introduced will implement a monitoring system that will be used to maintain the EMS.
An example of an impact causing activity could be the mere switching on of a light; the power for one light is supplied largely by burning fuel which is a non renewable resource that is also a source of carbon emissions. Since this happens quite frequently, we consider the damage we cause to the environment by turning on a light to be significant and set qualitative goals to reduce energy consumption from lighting and benchmark our performance by setting a quantitative target that explains how much we expect to save by when. Without stopping there we also ask our employees to switch off all lights that are not necessary. That explains activities in Phase one. In phase II, we will document this procedure, allocate responsibilities and ensure implementation of this strategy by instructing and training employees to only use light when necessary. In phase III we would encourage relevant sectional heads to monitor the progress of the EMS against targets set in phase I and take necessary action to fill gaps in the system to ensure continuous improvement and consistent commitment from all employees.
The ultimate goal is to ensure that we have a positive impact on the environment to our fullest capacity and lead environmental friendly operations in the corporate sector.

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One Response to “Managing the Group’s Environmental Impacts Comprehensively”

  1. ISO 14001 Training August 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    The information provided here is excellent and given me an idea about ISO 14001 training for and how it helped in developing environmental management system in any organizations.

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