Environmental report

BUILD

WBHO has embraced the challenge of constructing green buildings, which are energy efficient and resource and environmentally responsible.


Environmental report

BREATHE

This year the group had its carbon “footprint” measured and has submitted it to the Carbon Disclosure Project involved in measuring the top 100 companies on the JSE.

Projects exist within a physical and socio-economic environment which should be respected. As part of its Environmental Policy which has been approved by the board and signed into effect by the CEO, the group acknowledges its moral and legal responsibility for the safeguarding of the environment and all those affected by the group’s activities.

In order to uphold our responsibilities WBHO has committed to:

  • The implementation, maintenance and review of an environmental management system (EMS) based on ISO:14001 principals through which all environmental impacts of a project will be addressed and managed in an ethical and responsible manner.
  • Engage in transparent communication with all interested and affected parties who have a right to information relating to the environmental impacts of a project.

The EMS has been designed to assist the group to comply with environmental legislation, client specifications, environmental management plans, international standards and protocols and to protect the sustainability of the areas in which it operates. Objectives, targets and the implementation programme were designed to enhance production in such a way that the environment is considered at all times. A dedicated environmental team has been appointed to:

  • Implement, document, and review the EMS based on impact assessments and in line with acceptable system standards.
  • Ensure the communication of the EMS and its requirements to all operational personnel through continuous induction and training.
  • Enforce management responsibility within a project to ensure compliance with the EMS and relevant environmental legislation, regulations and standards.
  • Monitor in the form of audits and reports upon the effectiveness of the EMS and to use the information gathered from these procedures to ensure continual improvement and compliance.

In 2009 we identified our plant and site workshops as requiring remedy in the following areas:

  • Release of hydrocarbons and the resulting contamination of rivers and formal water reticulation systems
  • Storage of hazardous waste

This year the group redesigned its workshops to cater for designated wash bays which include silt trays and oil separators, thereby eliminating the release of hydrocarbons into surrounding water systems when washing items of plant. Furthermore all workshops now store all hazardous chemicals within bunded areas. Any spillage or leakage of these chemicals within these areas is fully contained and cannot contaminate its surrounds.

This year we have identified waste management as an area where we can make improvements and reduce our impact on the environment. The group is currently implementing a waste management system focussing on the reduction, re-use and recycling of waste materials.

Certain plant intensive disciplines within construction activities have inherently high emissions of CO2 gases. The impact of the group’s CO2 emissions on climate change, and ultimately on the environment is of particular focus. The volume of CO2 gases emitted from plant related activities is highly dependent on the levels of activity being experienced by the group. As part of our plant philosophy, items of plant are routinely serviced and maintained as well as being replaced at predetermined levels of hours worked. As a result the average age of the fleet is relatively low and hence a large proportion of items are fitted with the latest fuel and noise management systems which comply with international standards for emissions.

The group has for the second year in a row, participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project and this year chose to disclose its carbon footprint publicly. Over and above considering the effects of CO2 emissions the group is also investigating energy efficiency measures to reduce electricity consumption at its head office and various regional offices.

As a member of the Green Building Council of South Africa WBHO encourages the design of energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings and is currently involved in its second Green Star Rated building project.