ECOPROFIT® - Model of preventive environmental management and sustainable development for companies and communities
DI (FH) Christina Krenn, Dr. Johannes Fresner
The approach of ECOPROFIT® was developed by STENUM from 1992 to 1993 on behalf of the City of Graz. The main objective is the development of process-oriented environmental management systems with the focus of waste reduction, efficient use of raw materials and the improvement of the energy efficiency of industrial activities. It offers individual consulting for businesses, collective work in workshops and cooperation with politicians, administrators and authorities. At the same time it helps to sensitise workforce and management for environmental problems caused by the enterprise including health and safety.
More than 150 companies in Graz representing different sectors of industry and hotels have taken part the programme from 1994 to 2008. Micro-enterprises with 5 employees as well as large companies of the automobile industry with more than 3000 employees have already joined the ECOPROFIT® beginners' programme. The model ECOPROFIT® with its networking among companies and municipalities can be seen as a constructive way of partnership and as an important contribution to the practical implementation of a sustainable economy.
ECOPROFIT® - advantages for companies include:
- increase in production efficiency and reduction of costs due to a reduced consumption of raw material and energy
- reduction of costs due to smaller volumes of waste and emissions
- transparent attribution of cost to material and energy flows
- good overview of relevant laws and regulations for the company
- awareness raising, motivation and generation of team spirit within the companies
- joint training programs
- support of the project by local authorities
- presentation of companies and regions via international networks
- certification as an "ECOPROFIT® company” and integration in common PR activities
- facultative continuation to EMAS or ISO 14001:2004
ECOPROFIT® - advantages for authorities include
- controlling-instrument for the implementation of sustainable structures
- successful companies improve infrastructure and add to job security in a region
- establishment of sustainable structures due to efficient support in economy
- environmental relief and less expenses for bio-remediation
- competitive advantages
- improvement of the image of a region and promotion of tourism
- higher quality of life for the inhabitants of cities and regions
- support at the realisation of Local Agenda 21 objectives to reach the Kyoto target
- support to implement the OECD guidelines
The ECOPROFIT® basic programme consists of three elements:
· joint workshops,
· individual consulting, and
· the ECOPROFIT® award process.
Representatives of all participating companies, ideally 10 to 15, take part in each workshop. The topics of the workshops and typical interactive learning units are: An introduction to cleaner production, effective team work, material flow analysis, energy analysis, legal compliance, waste management, creativity and option finding, controlling, etc. In these workshops, the morning session always includes a “feed-back discussion”, where the progress made since the last workshop is presented and discussed.
The implementation of CP options is considerably enhanced if additional individual consulting is done. In addition, the work in the workshop can be done much more effectively if it addresses the existing problems of the participating companies.
The final act of an ECOPROFIT® project is the award that is given to the companies by a City Mayor. This award is a strong sign of the official recognition by the city that the company's way of producing is environmental friendlyand supported by the regional authorities. The award has to be applied for and renewed every year. For a company to receive this award, several criteria have to be fulfilled and checked by an independent commission.
The ECOPROFIT® Club program has been designed for companies who want to continue working together with other enterprises on their environmental performance after a successful first ECOPROFIT® year. For Club companies, further inputs on new topics or on topics that need intense attention are offered. The Club is an important value added that supports the companies by combining the improvement in the environmental situation with measurable economic profits. Basically the Club consists of the following programme elements:
µ workshops, workgroups and learning from the best-in-class;
µ personalized and customized counselling;
µ preparing and presenting the award
Networks are designed to help to generate knowledge that will lead to innovations. The ECOPROFIT® network gives the participating companies, consultants, administrations and research institutes the chance of constructive networking and to benefit from various effects of synergy. Knowledge is generated by learning in the workshops and workgroups and by meetings and discussions among the Environmental Representatives.
ECOPROFIT® companies actively drive and advance their sustainable development. The success of the ECOPROFIT® is reflected in the ecological and economic effects of implemented measures.
The ECOPROFIT® companies in the city of Graz could realize the following overall savings in the last 10 years:
µ Power fuels: 14,4 Mio. liters
µ Natural gas: 64,6 Mio. m³
µ Electricity: 222.600 MWh
µ Water: 9,28 Mio. m³
µ Residual waste: 21.000 t
µ CO2-emission: 403.150 t
Figure 1 shows the decrease of the specific water consumption of a brewery since participating in the ECOPROFIT® project.
Figure 1: Specific water consumption of a brewery:
The following figure shows the results of the specific heat consumption of a brewery participating in the ECOPROFIT project since 1995:
Figure 2: Specific heat consumption of a brewery
From Ecoprofit to ISO 14001:2004 or EMAS
With the realization of the ECOPROFIT® program the companies are well prepared for the implementation of an environmental management system according to ISO 14001:2004 or EMAS, because the method of ECOPROFIT® and the criteria's for the ECOPROFIT® award are similar to the guidelines of the environmental system.