(Case 4, Annual Review 2018)
For the first time, VEKS’ Production was environmentally certified according to ISO 14001. Later that year, VEKS Transmission got the same certification, however, here it was a re-certification. Organisation-ally, the environmental management system of VEKS Transmission also covers Plan and Project, Fi-nance, Customer and IT, Staff and Executive Board. VEKS Distribution is being prepared to environmen-tal certification during 2021.
With a certified environmental management system, you are often met by a positive approach from the authorities as your enterprise is supposed to be in control of systems and processes. Thereby, the coop-eration is made supple in conjunction with environmental approvals and other types of environmental work.
In VEKS’ environmental management people are in focus. It is the acts of the colleagues that convert the environmental policy and environmental intentions into reality. The motto has been that since we are dealing with people who are to comply with the requirements of the environment system, they should be included. You do not have to feel that “the system” is controlling your daily life and assign-ment work. We have tried to remove pseudo assignments and superfluous registrations.
But do not try to make a virtue of necessity. No, operating a CHP plant and a gas engine entails great responsibility and for obvious reasons you will be met by indispensable, legal requirements - not least when it comes to safety and a healthy working environment.
As mentioned before, it is the first certification of VEKS Production which includes Køge CHP Plant and VEKS Gasmotor, Solrød. Long before we started working on the ISO certification, the environment plat-form was solid. Therefore, the certification process has been a manageable task as the environmental work was integrated in method as well as in the mind of the key employees. In general, the individual employees have had the full control of their respective environmental assignments and responsibility. But there is always room for improvement. Therefore, the assignment has been to increase training and systematics as well as making the colleagues aware that everybody contributes to the environmental work. Environmental considerations do already play a significant role with all employees in VEKS Production.
But tress do not grow into the sky. Like the rest of the world, VEKS’ employees are also prone to build up parallel systems and procedures which the colleagues may not know of. “The pigeon-hole systems” increase vulnerability and the risk that the necessary knowledge will not be used because it cannot be located by colleagues or cooperative partners.
Therefore, it can be necessary to tidy up as well as expand a joint and open system for knowledge shar-ing. With a systematic approach to environmental work and documentation you get a joint platform which the employees can use operatively.
An essential tool in the environmental work - and later on the certification process - is the common VEKS’ environmental handbook. The handbook provides an overview and a common systematic ap-proach. Moreover, the user gets access by way of links, e.g. to practical cards and environmental in-structions. The handbook is common property as the VEKS employees have helped preparing the guide-lines based exactly on their own experience from their work day.
The QHSE employees and colleagues will use VEKS’ Intranet more and more. It is based on a common document management system. From here, documents and data - from environmental approvals, chemical overviews, registration of environmental incidents, summaries, etc. Are published. The em-ployee will always have the most recent version.
Serious environmental work is fundamental and is literally speaking present in VEKS’ mission on “deliv-ering serious, efficient and eco-friendly district heating.” Moreover, a higher prioritisation of the QHSE effort also represents an independent VEKS strategy project.
As regards organisation, the QHSE employees work in a staff function referring directly to the executive officers which has resulted in a natural management focus.
Was it difficult to persuade the colleagues and get them involved?
The foundation was solid as a lot of the procedures were functioning well right from the beginning ac-cording to the absolute requirements of the law. From the outset, the colleagues have been enthusias-tic, pulled together as a unit and were willing to learn AND teach others. Furthermore, several employ-ees report improvements and come with environmental suggestions in the daily operation of projects and assignments.
The QHSE employee is considered a visible asset which you can tell from the fact that he/she is being informed and involved early in the process. It is also about participating in team meetings, review meet-ings, workshops, “intervene in” the revision of VEKS’ purchasing policy, etc.
Finished? If you take environmental managements seriously, you always set targets and create action plans to make improvements. New environmental instructions, databases, etc. are developed on an ongoing basis. Moreover, the emergency system should be revised and increase the coordination be-tween the supply enterprises, IT-security, environment and working environment. This common emer-gency system will apply to VEKS as a whole.
As mentioned before, VEKS Distribution needs to be ISO 14001 certified. This environmental manage-ment system will be built up on an ongoing basis, however, the actual certification of the distribution department will not take place until 2021 together with the re-certification of the transmission and pro-duction department.
Later on, a certification of the working environment (ISO 45001) probably awaits. This decision is still being weighed as it involves a number of complex, intricate processes and legal requirements.