‘Collaboration’ has been the buzz word among innovative companies for some time now, and as its benefits become ever more apparent, it’s gaining momentum across all industries.
The voluntary and community sector is notoriously good at forming alliances. The economic downturn led the UK’s previously disparate housing industry to venture into new partnerships that are being upheld, such as those between developers and regeneration experts.
Now, industries are realising that good energy management means collaboration within – as well as beyond – their own factory walls, and are starting to join up best practice internally.
One standard established to support this is ISO 50001, a certificate from the International Organization for Standardization, which sets out the international standard for energy management system (EnMS) requirements. Successful implementation requires constant commitment from all levels and functions of a company, and is based on a Plan–Do–Check–Act continual improvement framework.
Global paper manufacturer Arjowiggins Graphic has just received the ISO 50001 certificate for implementing best practice in energy management across all four of its manufacturing sites. Already a leader in the development of low-energy and lowcarbon paper, the systems the company is currently putting in place have the potential to save a further 30,000MWh – the equivalent of one week’s energy consumed by its three paper mills and de-inking plant, based in France. The target is to decrease the energy consumption by 2% a year.
“Environmental performance and energy management are rooted in Arjowiggins Graphic culture and have been a priority since the creation of the company”, says Chief Executive, Agnes Roger. Achieving improvements in energy performance and efficiency in line with ISO 50001 required the company to approach these objectives in a more consistent and systematic way – crucially, with the individual production units sharing knowledge, expertise and best practices.
This involved setting up a steering committee made up of representatives from each of the mills. Their first step was to conduct a comprehensive analysis of energy flow, from providing detailed reports on the energy consumption of machinery to examining support functions such as HR and purchasing. All data was made available to each site so that the most energy-consuming processes could be targeted and improved. By implementing a crossfunctional and cross-mill strategy, the committee was able to identify the most efficient solutions. In total, it earmarked more than 50 areas for improvement. Half of the projects relate to technical development or investments. The other half are linked to the sharing of information and providing training on energy issues at all levels across the business.
So far, they have implemented more than 40% of the projects – including revamping the drying section insulation of the paper machine at one site, and training paper and coating machine managers, across all sites, on energy consumption and the standards that need to be followed.
The committee is managed by Gilles Lhermitte, Brand Sustainabilty Director, and meets up once a month to follow up the global implementation of the project. Local actions are managed by each mill’s representative. Key performance indicators are used to continually measure and monitor each action, with regular energy audits carried out to evaluate potential improvements. The management of the ISO 50001 project has led to a powerful opportunity for team building and expertise sharing. Certification means that energy is now demonstrably an integral part of Arjowiggins Graphic’s management system, which already adheres to ISO standards in quality, environment, and health and safety.
The company maintains that its green strategy and commitment to innovation gives its business a competitive edge and boosts its brand’s image. “By providing customers with the highest standard of recycled papers Arjowiggins Graphic is able to offer sustainable alternatives, helping to reduce our customers’ impact on the environment as well as that of our own business,” says Roger.
Arjowiggins Graphic is a Forum for the Future partner. www.recycled-papers.co.uk
Photo credit: Greenfield Mill, Arjowiggins Graphic