Being an Environmental Manager involves more than training and getting a certificate. Like me, you have to be genuinely passionate about the subject and practice what you preach, particularly when you’re going to be preaching to future course delegates.
First let me explain my position. I am Harry Collins, the Training Director at Lighthouse Safety and have (as you always do at work) taken on more roles than my title would suggest. My latest role (which I have to say – I forced myself into) is Environmental Manager. I have taken on this role because, as a company, we wish to champion a better environmental standard – not because we have to, but because we want to. This lets us set an example to our clients and be knowledgeable/passionate enough about the subject to offer it as another service to complement our Health and Safety expertise.
I also have taken on this role because I cost Lighthouse Safety expense through continual improvements that we need. This means that I’m always bugging the Finance Director for more money to be spent on new things (for example, new computers or a better projector). By improving on environmental issues, the biggest bonus (apart from the obvious of making our world a better place) is that there is a huge saving to be made in waste reduction. In fact, thousands of pounds in our case. My view is that although businesses need to spend more, that extra expense can often be at least partially offset by environmental improvements that lead to cost savings.
In order for me to do this, I have completed my NEBOSH Environmental Certificate and I am due to take my IEMA Associate qualification in September (which I am so excited about. Yes, REALLY, I am!).
In the meantime I have started my campaign to save trees at Lighthouse and here are some of my changes:
o Change Paper plates with re-useable plates (saves on wasted plates)
o Created Re-usable name displays for students (saves on waste paper)
o Created a scrap paper tray to use instead of note pads (reduces paper use)
o Amended the boiler controls for better heating levels (lower gas bills)
o Send all recyclable waste to recycling centres under transfer notes (recycling paper)
o Challenged CITB to reduce the amount of packaging used for their publications (less paper waste)
o Ensured a policy of shutting down unused computers and lights (saves on electricity bill)
o Removed student note books from production and used their issued CITB books instead (saves on paper)
o Ensure staff are trained and instructed to drive in a fuel efficient manner (reduced CO2)
o Changed Flip charts in training rooms to white boards (reduces waste paper)
o Installed 4 different types of bins to control waste (recycled waste)
There are many more plans that I have in place for the future but as you can see from the list above ALL of the amendments to our working practices now save money. I will also be targeting each individual course that we deliver to identify where we can further improve on waste reduction.
In the words of Tesco – every little helps. It also helps my Finance Director, mentally.
So far, my experiences of attitudes to environmental awareness (and action) show mixed viewpoints. Although each person agrees that we should do better, reduce waste, save the planet etc., it does all come down to individual discipline to ensure it happens. As a director, I can put anything I like in place but if the team are not behind you 100% it would be a hard task to achieve. Luckily for me, we have a fantastic team here and all are on board (except when it comes to the heating, where most want a furnace raging in the office, whereas I prefer an ice block, but you cant have it all your own way).
I will keep you updated on my adventure and I will gladly help any company with their environmental issues as we are setting up to complete our ISO 14001.