The team involved in gaining ISO 14001 accreditation at the Dulux Gracefield manufacturing facility.
Standards New Zealand is delighted to congratulate the team at Dulux New Zealand on its recent certification to the stringent ISO 14001 environmental management Standard. Dulux is understood to be the first decorative paint manufacturer in the southern hemisphere to achieve certification.
Standards New Zealand visited the plant in Gracefield, Lower Hutt, and spoke with Calvin Fransen, production manager; David Mortimer, operations manager; Catie Redshaw, safety, health and environmental adviser; and James Tala, a sustainability champion, to find out more about how Dulux approached its ISO 14001 certification and the benefits the company sees from its focus on environmental sustainability.
Five-year goals set
In 2005, Dulux parent company, Orica, set a number of five-year environmental goals for the group of companies worldwide. The parent company uses model procedures based on worldwide best practice. After completing environmental impact assessments, goals were set to:
- reduce waste to landfill by 50%
- reduce CO² emissions by 15%
- reduce water usage by 15%.
'It's part of the way we work now'
Dulux New Zealand wanted to make sustainability part of the way their entire operation functioned, rather than just a short-term project. Staff at the Gracefield plant were consulted about the goals that had been set, how the plant could become more sustainable – this was under the umbrella of a range of safety and health initiatives. 'Sustainability champions' were appointed as channels for staff suggestions and involvement.
'This was a gradual process of encouraging ideas from staff, trying out new ways of doing things in a small way, then rolling out process changes to other areas when we were sure they would work,' says Calvin Fransen, Dulux New Zealand's production manager. 'We didn't want it to be a 'flavour of the month' thing – it had to be a sustainable process in itself to work, and we knew it was as much about changing our culture as changing our processes. And our staff really liked the idea of being a 'cleaner' company – it really matters to them that we aren't harming the environment.'
As different teams tried new approaches, the interest and enthusiasm for becoming an environmentally sustainable business increased and ideas were rolled out to different parts of the operation. Changes have been made to production processes and materials handling including plastics, wastewater, packaging/cans and so on. Over the past few years, the plant has closed for an annual Safety, Health and Environment day. 'Some staff work in the community planting trees or clearing rubbish, while others take an objective look at the plant to see what we can do to improve safety and health – it's a great opportunity to see things with fresh eyes and we come away with more ideas on what we can focus on next', says Calvin.
Efforts to achieve the sustainability goals really began to show results in 2007. Dulux received the Sustainable Business of the Year Award (Central Region). The company became a member of the New Zealand Green Building Council. Dulux has been a supporter of Habitat for Humanity since 1997 by providing products and advice. The majority of its products carry the tick of approval from Environmental Choice. In 2008, Dulux won the Green Gold Award at the prestigious Wellington Gold Awards. Calvin says they've just been advised Dulux is a finalist in the Gold awards, best practice category, ACC Safety Awards for 2009.
Getting certified to ISO 14001
The passion to seriously pursue ISO 14001 certification started in 2007 when Calvin and the team saw they could use the ISO Standard as a means of formalising all their sustainability efforts to achieve their goals. 'We were already an ISO 9001 certified company so we knew how to use Standards to support what we're doing. ISO 14001 provided us with a structured approach to ensuring we're getting it right, and a framework to be audited against.'
'We had our first audit in April last year and that showed we needed to make some tweeks', says Calvin.' We implemented the Telarc SAI auditor's recommendations and he returned in October for the follow-up audit. That audit gave us the all-clear to achieve certification and now, we will be audited annually. It was a great day when we were told – a real achievement for the whole team!'
In addition to achieving tangible environmental sustainability goals, Calvin says the company is providing advice and guidance to Orica in Australia on how they've achieved their results.
He believes their efforts, supported by their work to achieve ISO 14001 certification, have increased proactive innovation in their operation, improved productivity (especially in waste handling), delivered cost savings (estimated at NZ$250,000 over the past few years), improved staff engagement, and improved their competitive advantage.
'We're definitely setting a benchmark now and we're seeing far more awareness from consumers who are more environmentally aware than before. We're rolling out initiatives to our 17 trade centres around the country and we know our trade partners see what we're doing as 'good practice'. We're proud of what we've achieved and are committed to minimising our impact on the environment and achieving value, without compromising one for the other'.
About Dulux New Zealand Limited
Dulux has been part of the New Zealand community since 1939 and today they are the country's leading manufacturer of quality paint products. The company offers interior, exterior, enamels, effects, metal and mould protection, prepcoats, and ceiling paints. Master Painters NZ recommends Dulux.
Calvin Fransen can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
→ Buy AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004 Environmental management systems – Requirements with guidance for use.
→ Buy AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008 Quality management systems – Requirements.