In late 2005, Rural Solutions SA – a South Australian Government owned consultancy business - approved the development and implementation of an Environmental Management System for its head office. The initiative was demanded by a group of employees that believed the business should be demonstrating better environmental management, especially seeing our consultants were working with many industry groups to develop a similar response to their stakeholder needs.
An implementation committee was formed with representation from consultants across the operational units of the business. By utilising a mix of consultants from across the business, the implementation phase was more successful, primarily due to a greater level of ownership of the EMS by staff leading to increased understanding and compliance.
The systematic approach to managing environmental issues within the business has resulted in a greater awareness of environmental issues by staff, reduced risks of environmental harm, savings in natural resource use/cost and stakeholder recognition. An example of a positive result of the EMS is the energy savings that have been achieved at the Level 8, 101 Grenfell Street office. For the past two financial years, energy consumption has been reduced by 8% (totalling 16%). This has been achieved through behavioural change and without any substantial modifications to infrastructure.
The EMS has been implemented in core business operations for over 1 year and was recently certified to ISO 14001.
The next challenge is to determine the future needs of policy makers, the market and other stakeholders when it comes to future governance and sustainability reporting needs in the face of climate change challenges.