How We Manage Water, Effluents and Waste
Water ManagementWe use water in our laboratories, and for drinking, food preparation, cleaning and sanitation.
Our Operational Integrity and Corporate Sustainability teams oversee water management. Specifically, water efficiency is managed through the SGS Energy Efficiency in Buildings program. Requirements for water use, reduction, monitoring and reuse are incorporated in our green building checklist (which is used for new buildings and major renovations to existing buildings) as well as our HSE self-assessment checklist. We track our water usage through our Solaris data management system and benchmark our trend countries against one another.
In December 2014, SGS signed the WASH Pledge which commits signatory companies to ensuring appropriate access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene for all employees in all premises under company control within three years of signing the pledge.
Effluents and Waste Management
Our diverse business produces many different types of waste. Examples include normal office waste, test samples and used chemicals from our laboratories. Waste streams vary according to which industries are served in each affiliate.
Waste management is part of the Operational Integrity Management System (OIMS). The SGS Waste Management and Minimization Standard describes how we reduce and manage waste in compliance with regulations. A requirement of this standard is that each SGS facility, using guidance from the Operational Integrity team, must develop and implement a Waste Management Plan that covers the management and disposal of each waste stream, including waste minimization procedures and goals. These set out:
- Roles and responsibilities
- The identified waste streams
- Management practices for waste labeling, storage, inspection and disposal
- Waste minimization and reuse/recycling opportunities
- Waste management procedures are being implemented across our affiliates as part of our OIMS deployment. Following this, we will report on waste management across our sites
Reducing Waste: Our Do More with Lëss campaign encourages resource efficiency. We do a lot of printing, not only for office printing but also to print certificates and validation documents for customers. We have started to reduce the impact of printing by:
- Introducing ‘follow-you’ printing to reduce unwanted printing
- Using cartridge-free printers with solid ink sticks which produce 90% less waste than cartridges and last longer too
- Setting our printers to minimize the amount of colored ink they use
- SGS Spain has installed recycling containers, runs competitions to test employee knowledge of waste separation and recycling, and provides signposts to external resources focused on facilitating the reuse and recycling of materials
- SGS Poland has reduced the number of paper shredders and replaced them with recycling bins
Reusing Resources: We find innovative ways of reusing materials from our offices and laboratories:
- Across our labs, we source and redistribute used equipment using central database, EquipNet (see our case study on EquipNet)
- In India, samples of cloth are washed multiple times in laboratories to test durability. These are then donated to local charity, Goonj, to be made into sanitary products for impoverished women, reducing the health impacts of poor hygiene
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