Posted on 24 April 2008.
There is an inevitable conflict between economic growth and environmental protection, and balancing these necessities is never easy. But as environmental regulations continue to increase in scope and degree, there are also new and improved tools for companies to use to monitor and report their performance.
For 15 years, ESS (Environmental Support Solutions), based in Tempe, Arizona, with offices all over the US as well as in China and Canada, has pioneered offering automated and integrated solutions to, among other things, environmental compliance. In recent years, as software has migrated online and become more powerful and affordable, ESS has attracted the attention of very large companies who are still using cumbersome legacy systems to manage their environmental compliance. These systems are often hard to migrate onto an online platform, they are harder to update as regulations evolve, and they are very hard to integrate. ESS has become a must-have solution for these large companies that are using aging, disconnected systems to manage more environmental regulations than ever.
|Dow Chemical Co. has over 200 US facilities.
At their annual “ESS-Expo” held earlier this month in Phoenix, ESS recognized the achievements of some of their top customers who have saved significant time and money by adopting ESS solutions.
Their stories are illustrative of how state of the art information technology such as the software ESS offers can enable companies to manage and report on more environmental regulations than ever, for less money than before.
The Dow Chemical Company, for example, one of the world’s leading producers of plastics, chemicals, and agricultural products, with 46,000 employees operating in more than 175 countries, needed to replace multiple legacy environmental reporting systems with a single robust reporting system across 200 U.S. facilities. The new system had to be interoperable with existing corporate enterprise systems. They chose ESS products to monitor and report on their emissions, chemical inventory, waste streams and water quality, and over a three year period implemented a full transition.
The result was they preserved their license to operate in 200 facilities at 35 manufacturing sites, and have already eliminated over $2 million in redundant legacy reporting systems, with additional savings to come. The new system improved reporting efficiency and accuracy by allowing all the US sites to use a common reporting process.
Other large companies were recognized by ESS for implementing ESS solutions that resulted in similar savings across the enterprise. For example, in 2007, Alcoa Inc. – the world’s leading aluminum manufacturer – selected ESS’ Essential Suite software to serve as its unified platform for sustainability management throughout the company’s global operations. That decision was based in part on the company’s 2006 success using one module, Essential Air, to save over $100,000 on Title V compliance at its Tennessee Operations Location, the biggest aluminum production facility in North America. This software greatly streamlines the process of identifying and tracking compliance requirements, auditable work processes and associated compliance activities. Employees can also use the software to track deviations from compliance task requirements so corrective actions can be managed within the same system.
Before the company implemented the new ESS modules, compliance requirements and tasks were tracked via written audit reports, whereas the ESS products make their completion tracking data, recurring task and e-mail notifications, and accurate, up-to-date reports easily accessible within seconds.
|Delta Airlines operates at over 100 US airports.
Another large company who has benefit from ESS software is Delta Airlines, who flies to more destinations around the world – 481 locations in 105 countries – than any other air carrier.
Delta’s previous environmental management information system (EMIS) had performance issues – entering a simple piece of data would often take 10 or 15 minutes – but upgrading it to the company’s new server platform was not cost effective.
Delta operates hundreds of airplanes worldwide and each of them is rebuilt every five years at the company’s Technical Operations Center in Atlanta. Aircraft maintenance and rebuilding uses many hazardous chemicals. Delta’s corporate headquarters team in Atlanta also needs to assure environmental compliance at 100 airports across the United States where the airline operates. The Delta team at each airport location, or “outstation”, is responsible for tracking hazardous chemicals and hazardous waste, filing reports to regulatory agencies and other duties.
By transitioning from legacy software solutions (and even manual systems) to ESS software, Delta is able to maintain its commitment to environmental compliance while reducing the time spent on paper processes and employee management. Data storage is permanent and readily accessed; no longer left in fragile paper files or archives. As a result, the immediate exchange of information has allowed Delta’s EMIS to be much less vulnerable to employee turnover and data loss.
We can debate to what extent environmental regulations are going to need to spread further into every aspect of our industry and infrastructure. But it is undeniable there are vital areas where we need to maintain and improve the quality of our land, air and water. As we continue to make progress towards building a sustainable civilization, ESS software helps the biggest industries on earth manage these challenges in an efficient and accurate manner. ESS is another example of how the information revolution is enabling the green revolution.