Robinson Brothers undoubtedly practised some of the elements of Sustainability long before we (and the rest of the world) realised what it was. Being geographically, environmentally and financially central to our community for 134 years, we were and still are acutely aware of our direct impact on its quality of life. This caused us to assess and modify our operations well before the advent of management systems, environmental awareness and NGOs.
What has changed in recent years is the level of understanding, commitment and systematic pursuit of a more Sustainable business, especially the realisation that we can only survive and prosper for another 134 years if we truly embrace the concept. A balanced commitment to Environmental responsibility and improvement, Social engagement both inside and outside of our company while continuing to ethically generate sufficient Profits and Cash flow to build the business is now the core to our company culture and a conscious choice rather than something we did without thinking.
An example of this was the decision we made about the quantities and types of chemicals we store on our site. While it would have been easier and cheaper and not inconsistent with our ISO 14001 Environmental Management System to become a COMAH Top Tier site we decided, for the good of the company and our immediate community, to become a Lower Tier site. A Top Tier site has no effective limit on either the type or quantity of chemicals stored. A Lower Tier site has a strictly defined limit involving both to the type and the quantity of chemicals stored, whether as raw materials, in process, or finished goods and waste. To manage this, which seemed an impossible task at first, we had to completely change the way we operate. An Index, based on the quantity and properties of chemicals on site, is continuously calculated automatically and displayed on all computer terminals. It cannot exceed unity if we are to remain Lower Tier – we normally run below 0.8. Not only is the Index calculated on where we are currently, it also looks at where we will be in the future so we can control shipments coming onto our site.
The decision to be Lower Tier was not required of us or forced on us but decided by us because it improves our Sustainability: -
In short, it has improved our Sustainability. Amongst the many other areas we can pick to illustrate the Sustainability theme are: -
All of these programmes impact on the Environment, our Social responsibility and Financial performance. Some would probably have occurred in the past but identifying Sustainability as a core business philosophy has given them the importance, resources and focus to make them happen now.
Brian Murphy, Managing Director