Mon, Sep

Thinking outside the tick boxes

Cestrian is putting the environment at the heart of its operations. Here’s how and why.

When it comes to the environment, if all you're interested in is being able to put a couple of lines on your website about your green credentials you’ll not bother reading any further. If, however, you see advantages in taking the issue more seriously you will be interested in how Cestrian is pushing the envelope. This spring the Stockport-based company, which already holds ISO14001 and EMAS accreditations, was awarded the silver level of the Carbon Smart certification too. It impressed the panel so much that it completely bypassed the usual entry-level certification (Carbon Smart blue) and it’s now heading for gold level. Why?

Well, as co-owner Phill Reynolds acknowledges, “climate change is a serious global problem. As a business we are committed to minimising our contribution to that climate change. We therefore aim to reduce our carbon footprint by 10% within three years from our current measured footprint of 1600.2 tonnes of CO2e.” It has other environmental objectives too:

  • to increase recycling rates by 10% and reduce its waste by 15%,
  • to reduce its electric and gas usage by 5% per year based on revenue,
  • provide advice to staff on how to travel sustainably using public transport, cycling, walking and via better telecommunications,
  • and to ensure the company remains legally compliant with existing and future environmental legislation.

As you can tell, this is more than a box ticking exercise, which is why Cestrian has a standards manager whose remit it is to improve the company’s environmental output, quality and heath and safety. Plus, there are three members of staff who support the segregation and movement of recycling and waste. And there’s a dedicated Environmental Action Team whose role is to reduce energy and material usage and monitor on-going quality improvement. It’s a team drawn from all parts of the business (factory, office and studio) with the aim of utilising all staff knowledge and experience as Cestrian continually develops its environmental policies. The meetings are monthly and the updates and targets are distributed throughout the company to all members of staff each month and highlighted at quarterly staff meetings. On top of this the print floor is reviewed daily, for non-compliance across a range of health and safety/management/procedural and environmental requirements and photos are taken and issued to team leaders of any area where guidelines are contravened.

“Working in more environmentally sound ways has become a major part of our strategy. We’re thinking deeper and making a difference,” says Reynolds. “Becoming a sustainable business is not a single action, it is an ongoing process that involves commitment to quantifying, monitoring and reducing our environmental impact throughout the business lifecycle.”

  • Asked if it’s worth the effort, he is clear that it is, for the following reasons:
  • its something Cestrian can talk about and communicate to its customers,
  • it differentiates the company and gives it a competitive advantage
  • streamlines its business processes and operations
  • brings savings in office paper and other waste streams
  • means sending less to landfill
  • is changing the attitudes of staff and improving employee engagement
  • and as Reynolds says, “If we do our bit – maybe others will follow’.

Cestrian’s ‘good and green’ Web page is now the company’s tenth most popular page, with nearly 800 unique visitors since its new website was launched in September last year.

Reynolds reiterates: “Being green is at the heart of what we do here at Cestrian Imaging and we are constantly looking to improve our business processes in order to do our bit for the environment, as well as reducing our costs and overheads.”

The company already has stringent quality management systems in place and continually audits, reviews and enhances all of its operations to ISO 9001 standards, in order to reduce waste production. As already mentioned, it holds ISO 14001 accreditation, and last year presented its second full EMAS Environmental statement, which is a premium voluntary initiative to help businesses demonstrate their commitment to the environment.

A great deal of emphasis has been, and continues to be placed on the latest achievement, the Carbon Smart certification.

The process starts with data. Fortunately for Cestrian it collects, processes and continually updates the amount of gas, paper, fuel, water etc. that it uses anyway for its EMAS accreditation. Carbon Smart provided the company with a detailed form to complete – requiring stats on areas from energy consumption right down the amount of miles staff cover in taxis, data managed by the aforementioned standards manager.

Once the data was submitted, Carbon Smart informed Cestrian that its data “completedness and accuracy” was considered high and the organisation then conducted a site survey and review all of the company’s activities. Assessment was made of all areas, from factory to the office space and from the kitchen to goods inwards area. Under scrutiny were things like lighting, heating, cooling, waste, recycling, transport, office equipment, kitchen equipment, water and of course all the printing kit.

It was following the presented data from Cestrian and site survey analyses that the decision was made to award the company silver certification, bypassing the initial blue stage.

“We are extremely proud of our team who have worked so hard to achieve this important certification – especially as we have been awarded the silver level from the offset,” says Reynolds, explaining: “Carbon Smart has calculated our carbon footprint and this will be reviewed on an annual basis. We have created an environmental action plan and this will be updated as we review our environmental management system on a six monthly basis.”

The action plan from Carbon Smart, includes improvements such as:

  • the introduction of shopfloor reviews of performance held at each machine
  • removing screen savers from laptops
  • working with suppliers on environmental policy

“We are a Carbon Smart certified business. As such, we are working hard to reduce our carbon footprint. We will achieve this through clear, practical action and improved communications.  

“There’s a range of easy and larger tasks to be carried out but everything we achieve will help. The next step for us is to ensure that continuous environmental improvement and heightened carbon performance are a part of our businesses long-term plan. One way that we can demonstrate this is to aim for Gold certification and that’s what we’re doing.”

What is Carbon Smart

Carbon Smart Certification is an ongoing sustainability programme that recognises and promotes businesses that have taken action to reduce their impact on the environment. Over 700 businesses have now signed up to the programme, which has three levels – blue, silver and gold.

Those businesses seeking accreditation will receive an on-site survey by Carbon Smart consultants who will compile a bespoke environmental report and action plan, and an interactive workshop will show you how to embark upon your carbon reduction plan.

Carbon Smart was established in 2007 as part of the BPR Group. Its aim is to provoke sustainability action in a way that is positive, practical and smart and it brings together a team of environmental, business and academic experts. Details can be found online at: http://www.carbonsmart.co.uk

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