The year of 2012 is already well underway, and Intelex is gearing up for an action-packed year of events to attend to around the world. The first on the list is the 15th annual Energy, Utility and Environment Conference (EUEC) in Phoenix, Arizona.
Taking place January 30th to February 1st, this exciting event plays host to the top environmental leaders, energy executives, NGOs and government policy makers from around the globe in to the name of exchanging best practices and working toward renewable energy solutions for the future.
As a returning solutions provider, Intelex is thrilled to be involved. “EUEC is always a great event to connect with top industry specialists,” says Intelex’s own senior solutions expert, Fraser Dickie. “We’ve developed valuable relationships from this show in previous years and we’re excited to be back!”
Be sure to visit the Intelex team this week at booth 214/216.
ISO 14001 certified? Perhaps you plan on being certified, or maybe you’re just wondering what certification actually means.
Well, if ISO 14001, the world’s foremost standard specification for environmental management systems, is on your mind at all, you might want to take a look at a little article I wrote over at Greenbiz.
“Is ISO 14001 Certification Still Relevant?“ begins to discuss what certification actually means in a world where polluters and emitters are able to achieve and retain certification – not to mention the connotation of the ‘green’ or environmentally responsible image that comes with it – even when they might not actually be doing that much good for the environment at all.
After reading, be sure to check out the comments section below the article for the spirited conversation the article inspired among industry experts.
Monitoring environmental impacts by tracking sustainability KPIs is essential for any business that wants to improve or report on environmental performance. But, from a financial perspective, how these environmental metrics are tracked is as important as the fact they are tracked. Results increasingly show a software-based EMS is the most effective way of improving environmental performance and boosting revenue.
Environmental management has been overcomplicated in recent years, and business leaders often feel overwhelmed by the perceived array of complex requirements associated with environmental performance. But it is actually quite simple. On a rudimentary level, it involves tracking and reporting on four critical metrics: waste and wastewater output, water usage, and air emissions. After analyzing these factors, a business can develop and implement new policies to mitigate its environmental impacts and save money.
But the most substantial savings of environment management arises from the implementation of a software-based EMS. The return on investment (ROI) from a system that tracks, analyzes and reports on all of the metrics associated with your environment program can be enormous, and manifests in a number of ways:
Efficiency: Environment management personnel commit a substantial amount of time and effort to basic tasks, including the collection, assessment and reporting of environmental data. These are all elements of an environment program that can be streamlined through software. For example, consider all the time an environment manager or full-time equivalent spends manually inputting data into a traditional spreadsheet program, assessing the data and generating reports based on the data. The right software will allow staff across all locations to input the four critical environmental metrics into a web-based platform and automate the processes of assessing and collecting data.
Risk Avoidance: Often businesses face substantial fines from permit violations as a result of poor management of wastewater output and air emissions. A robust software-based EMS is capable or correlating real-time emissions and wastewater statistics to permit thresholds and issuing automatic email notifications to warn environment management personnel that a permit violation is likely or imminent. This allows a business to proactively manage emissions sources and discharge points to ensure permitted tolerances are not exceeded and costly fines are avoided.
Brand Image: As the world becomes more environment-conscious, the value of a legitimate, environmentally progressive brand image is substantial. But the perception of a progressive environmental agenda is only as effective as the environment program supporting it. A software-based EMS will curb the amount of time spent on the minutiae of managing an environment program, freeing up time for environment managers to focus on improving environmental performance by implementing aggressive sustainability policies. Also, real-time access corporate environment KPIs and live reporting capabilities will enable a resort to prove its environmental performance with current data at any point.
A robust software solution will also provide cost savings associated with continual audit preparedness, the elimination of duplicate data, and the tracking of (and automatic following-up on) corrective actions. Further, environment management software is the most effective and efficient means of implementing and maintaining a robust EMS as well as ensuring continued compliance with regulatory and legislative standards.
Joey Ebanks, EHS and Training Manager for Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) and Intelex client, dropped by the Intelex offices in Toronto, Canada this week to make a presentation to Intelexians on how CUC is using Intelex software, and how it has boosted the performance of its EHS programs.
Below is an excerpt from his presentation, an excellent anecdote that reflects Joey’s confidence as he entered an audit of his environmental management system (EMS) last month:
“In April we had a surveillance audit. The auditor came back in to look at 50 per cent of our EMS system. And I actually took the weekend off and went to Fort Lauderdale, had some fun. My boss, our VP, was very upset that I was not there, making sure everyone was ready for the audit. But I was absolutely sure we were ready. In fact I said to him, ‘I’m 99 per cent sure we are going to pass. If we don’t, you can fire me.’
“So we created within Intelex a little audit report based on what the auditor was looking for. And on April 18, the auditor came in. Traditionally the audit wrap-up session takes two hours, because there are so many things to discuss. This audit wrap-up session took four minutes. Four minutes. The CEO and all the executives came in the room and sat down, prepared for a fight. Then auditor went through the report, and she just simply said, ‘Look: these are the recommendations. Take them or leave them. This is as close to as flawless an audit as I’ve ever seen.’
“So it took us four minutes, and that’s how we knew were making huge progress with Intelex.”
Fisher Sand and Gravel, a North Dakota-based aggregate producer, has reached a settlement agreement with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) after claims of air and water quality violation at some of its Arizona operations.
While Fisher received a fine in the settlement, more than half of the funds will not be collected by the ADEQ and instead directed to the implementation of an Intelex-powered Environmental Management System (EMS), which is expected to help the company avoid future violations and boost environmental stewardship. The EMS will feature a continual cycle of planning, implementing, reviewing and improving the actions that Fisher undertakes to meet its business goals, and represents the company’s expanded commitment to environmental stewardship and the public health of the communities it serves.
The whole situation is a reminder of the fact that businesses can reduce the impact of fines by taking steps to proactively minimize the risk of future violations by implementing an electronic EMS, as with safety management, where businesses can curb OSHA fines by implementing streamlined, electronic safety management systems.
The implementation of an EMS adds to Fisher’s other sustainability commitments, including the use of rubberized asphalt, which reduces waste sent to landfill, as well as air separators that reduce water consumption. In recent years, Fisher also received awards for its safety performance and “outstanding” philanthropy.
According to the ADEQ, the implementation of an Intelex EMS is “a good first step” that will help Fisher “take its environmental obligations seriously and comply with the laws that protect the environment and public health.”