Since Al Gore’s documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ first raised our awareness of climate change, more people around the world are doing their part for the environment and are willing to support immediate action at any cost. A seventeen-nation survey conducted by World Public Opinion.org showed that nearly seven out of ten people in Australia believe action to combat climate change is important to the nation’s vital interests. Thus, Australian businesses are stepping up and following the footsteps of other nations into managing their workplaces to reduce pollution and use fewer resources. They are considering the needs of people and taking the environment into account, as the case study below demonstrates.
Case Study #1: Vinidex
Operating for forty four years, Vinidex has sought to establish its company as one of Australia’s leading thermoplastic pipe systems manufacturers. Conscious of its place within the Australian community, Vinidex joined the New South Wales Industry Partnership Program with the commitment of reducing energy usage within the company, reducing operating costs as well as protecting the environment.
How was this achieved?
As a primary consumer of electricity, Vinidex advanced key performance indicators and introduced several upgrading projects that would significantly help reduce energy consumption. These are as follows:
- Replacing old injection moulding machines with most-up-to-date manufacturing technology that uses less energy to mould fittings. The Vinidex claims the new units have also helped improved the company’s finished products with high quality.
- Lighting was upgraded to all outdoor lights so that they automatically switch off during the day. Since installing these light-sensitive switches, energy consumption per tonne have decreased by 20% over the 2003-2004 period. This reduction is equivalent to 5000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions or 1050 cars off the road each year.
- Vinidex participated in various programs to help determine and compare the embodied energy of different piping systems and their life cycles. The company constructed a new PVC pipe that uses less energy to make and 25% less of raw materials needed.
- Working with external waste management firms, recyclable waste at Vinidex is segregated, collected and sent off site for recycling, saving a total of 12 tonnes of cardboard and 13 tonnes of metal scrap from landfill.
What are the environmental gains and savings?
Vinidex demonstrated that cleaner production not only protects the environment but also reduces operating costs, streamlines processes, boosts profits and improves staff engagement and morale. From 2003-2004, Vinidex have saved $260 760 on power and $10 200 on recycling. Vinidex’s commitment to environmental sustainability has been nominated and recognized for numerous awards such as the Innovation Award for Process Innovation (NSW Government), Best Strategic Sustainability Outcomes (NSW Department of Environmental & Conservation) and Water Environment Merit Award. The company will continue their business strategies for a sustainable future.
Thanh Loan Nguyen is an Australasian with Bachelor’s degree in communications, though she majored in politics. Her interests include all aspects of the entertainment industries, society and culture, reading and writing, international relations and politics.