More major companies adopt green agenda

Posted on September 17, 2010. Filed under: Environmental Economics |

-The Star-

The Star will be featuring a series of articles in conjunction with the StarBiz-ICRM Corporate Responsibility Awards. The CR Awards is the result of a partnership between The Star and Institute of Corporate Responsibility Malaysia, supported by the Securities Commission and Bursa Malaysia Bhd. Its working partners are PricewaterhouseCoopers and Securities Industry Development Corporation, while the official sponsor is Canon Marketing (M) Sdn Bhd

PETALING JAYA: Going green seems to be the buzzword these days.

So much so that it’s already become a part of many companies’ daily business strategies.

Vimal Kumar

To Guinness Anchor Bhd (GAB), the usage of green technology provides an opportunity to improve the way the company conducts its business.

“Employing green technology leads to higher efficiency and cost savings,” managing director Charles Ireland told StarBiz.

He said GAB had continuously worked on reducing energy consumption and its impact on the environment through the upgrading of plant installations and process improvements.

Among the initiatives that have been put in place include the recuperation of carbon dioxide (CO2) form fermentations at lower purity, which has led to zero purchase of CO2 from external sources.

“We have switched from using fuel oil to natural gas and renewable gas, mainly biogas, generated from the anaerobic treatment of wastewater at our wastewater treatment plant,” Ireland said.

He added that the company had improved the performance of its refrigeration plant through the usage of a frequency control motor that had resulted in lower electricity usage.

DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd head of corporate responsibility Vimal Kumar said as part of the company’s commitment towards sustainable business practices, it was embedding strategically planned energy efficient and renewable energy initiatives into every aspect of its business.

“We have an ambition to reduce our business CO2 footprint by 50% by 2011. To support this, we have taken various steps company-wide and engage with stakeholders to unearth innovative solutions to reduce our shared climate impact,” she said.

Vimal said DiGi’s business practices included the usage of energy saving solutions, efficient cooling solutions, reduced diesel and petrol usage, solar panels to power mobile transmission stations, energy audits at switching centers, common power sharing and swapping of equipment to energy efficient equipment.

She said that it definitely made more business sense to employ green technology in the company’s day-to-day operations, adding that even the tiniest of efforts made a big difference.

“Simple initiatives like turning off our lights for one and a half hours every day during lunch time saves up to 63 tonnes of CO2 per year.

“Through our various energy efficiency initiatives, we have reduced our electricity consumption year on year. In 2009, we have reduced our carbon emissions by approximately 18,000 tonnes.

Vimal said other efforts such as default double-sided printing and controlled printing via individual passwords together with continual efforts to migrate policies and processes to electronic systems had reduced the company’s paper usage significantly.

“In 2009, we reduced usage of more than 700,000 pieces of paper compared to the previous year. Additional efforts include having all our letterheads and envelopes made from recycled material.

“We have also reduced our waste to landfill by recycling approximately 27% of our total waste in 2009. All these translate to operational cost savings as well.”

Vimal said DiGi was constantly driving a “sustainable mindset” across its organisation by putting in place various initiatives that actively engaged its employees.

These include regular in-house awareness programs, energy efficiency initiatives in our office building, going paperless, telecommuting and virtual meetings to reduce travel.

YTL Corp Bhd director of investments Ruth Yeoh said the group had already realised over a decade ago the implications of uncontrolled carbon emissions into the atmosphere within the heavy energy demands of the utilities and construction industries.

“This prompted us to begin innovating ways to use clean technology and explore renewable energy sources. One of our continuous efforts as a leading utilities player is to insist that our equipment suppliers continuously work to improve their technologies, not just because we demand it, but also due to the big consumer push for it.

“Our long-standing commitment to the environment has since been applied to the various businesses within our group,” she said.

Through YTL Power, the first independent power producer in Malaysia, the group ensured from the outset that its gas-fuelled, combined-cycle power plants would not cause environmental damage, according to Yeoh.

“Our power stations have specific design features such as a water cooling system that features hot water discharge pipes that extend 10% further than required in the engineering by-laws, so that elevated sea water temperature would have a minimum impact on marine life,” she said.

The YTL group is also a major shareholder of Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd, a railway development company that operates the KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit.

In order to ensure environmentally friendly operations, YTL’s fleet of high-speed trains have no direct emissions of pollutants and have “built in” energy savings by design, said Yeoh.

“There is also an energy saving programme where drivers are trained to operate the trains with efficiency in mind.

This programme was able to reduce the energy cost per trip from RM65.59 in 2003 to RM62.11 in 2005, translating into total savings of approximately RM300,000 that year,” she said.

In 2008, the group set up YTL-SV Carbon, an in-house carbon credit consultancy to help companies go green. According to Yeoh, YTL-SV Carbon specialises in clean development mechanism (CDM) projects.

Examples of projects include biomass, biogas, and other clean energy from waste arising from agricultural municipal, cement and industrial sources. YTL-SV Carbon also covered the development of technology to convert traditionally harmful waste elements (such as Palm Oil Mill Effluent, or POME) into environmentally-friendly resources.

Yeoh also said that Wessex Water, one of YTL’s subsidiaries in Britain, operated under stringent environmental regulations, with a key long-term goal of becoming a sustainable water company.

“Its success in meeting compliance rates for drinking water, sewage treatment and bathing water have placed it amongst the best in the United Kingdom,” she said.

  • To participate in StarBiz-ICRM Corporate Responsibility Awards 2010, you will need to fill out an online questionnaire. Submission closes on Sept 24. The online questionnaire is accessible at http://www.asiacall.net/survey/starbizicrm2010/. Further questions can be directed to starbiz-icrm@csr-asia.com or call 03-2072 2130 or 03-2070-0130. For more information, log on to
    http://www.thestar.com.my/starbizicrm/
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