If you're a member of the concrete industry, you probably already know about the NRMCA Green-Star certification program. If you're ready to pursue it, here are our top 5 steps to becoming Green-Star Certified.
A lot of folks in the concrete industry turn to us for help with the NRMCA Green-Star EMS program. They want to know things like if it's hard, expensive, what the benefits are, etc.
Good questions! And folks, you've come to the right place. Not to toot my own horn, but I did create most of the program, so you're asking the right guy.
When I was working on developing the NRMCA Green-Star Environmental Management System with NRMCA, I wanted to create a program that would be easy to use, understand, and help get concrete producers onto a better path environmentally. I envisioned a system that could get folks into environmental compliance and start thinking about tomorrow.
The short version is this, an environmental management system is a way to keep you in compliance with laws and regulations, and provide a system of continual environmental improvement. That is, every year, year after year, if you follow your EMS, you should have tangible, environmental benefits at your operation. The NRMCA Green-Star certification program for concrete plants does just that.
5 Tips for Becoming NRMCA Green-Star Certified
We've seen the good and the not-so-good at this point when it comes to the NRMCA Green-Star program. Some plants that are NRMCA Green-Star certified are doing an outstanding job, not only helping the environment, but also improving financial and operational aspects of their business and operation.
On the other hand, some concrete plants that are 'certified' got it once a few years ago, never kept up with it, and aren't getting any benefits out of the program at all.
If you're serious about obtaining a NRMCA Green-Star EMS certification, we've come up with the 5 basic steps to become certified.
- Follow the guidelines - They're a logical path towards preparing a solid environmental management system program. They were created for a good reason, so follow them and you can't go wrong!
- Understand the program - What's the purpose of the program, and how can it relate to your operation? What should you be doing to work towards achieving your certification? What should your EMS include, and what are your responsibilities during the EMS cycle? If you don't know, ask an expert. Make sure you know what you need to put in, and what you can get out of this program.
- Understand your EMS - A lot of concrete plants have someone prepare the EMS for them, and they don't go beyond that. An environmental management system is a living, working document, one that is not set in stone, and should change before and after each and every cycle of the environmental management system. The more people at your facility who understand what an EMS is, what its purpose is, and how they can participate in it, the better! Having an your EMS on your shelf where it sits for the duration of your cycle, with no reviewing, input, or examination is a total waste of time.
- Create a real program of continual improvement - To do this, you have to evaluate your concrete plant's aspects and impacts, determine what's significant for your operation during the cycle, and set some goals and objectives. Remember, your system should grow and evolve in regards to your operation. Without a program for continual improvement that actually gets used, your EMS is of no value.
- Actually do it - What have you committed to doing? What changes, improvements, practices, etc. have you decided you'd do this cycle? An EMS is a commitment to a better way of doing business; one that should help reduce environmental impacts while improving your business operations. Your NRMCA Green-Star EMS is nothing unless you put it into action.
Becoming NRMCA Green-Star Certified
Lastly, I could make a sixth item, and this might sound self-serving, but hire an expert to help.
Like I said above, at this point I've seen a ton of NRMCA Green-Star certified facilities, and the only ones that are getting tangible, track-able benefits out of it (like measurable ROI) are those that have the program either created, or regularly audited, by an outside expert.
There's more to an EMS than just doing paperwork. If you are really committed to doing the program right and getting some benefit out of it, consider hiring an expert to help jump-start your program. A proper EMS requires input from the staff, reviewing your operations, examining potential strengths and weaknesses already present on site, and training, training, training! Never neglect environmental management system training, as it helps you, your staff, and your operations think in new ways for improving your facility.
Having someone with experience regarding all things EMS can really help you develop and implement a program that helps you get what you'd really like - tangible benefits above and beyond just obtaining certification. The NRMCA Green-Star Environmental Management System program is a great way to not only improve your operation and help slow down our environmental impact; it's also a great way to stand above your competitors by offering customers the option of buying from a cleaner and greener supplier. If done correctly, and taken seriously, it can have a lot of benefits for the right operation.
If you have any questions on the NRMCA Green-Star EMS program, or are looking for general environmental management system help, click here to contact us or call us at 609-693-8301. We're experts in the matter. After all, we did co-author the certification with NRMCA.