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Monday 15th March 2010
Newspaper Article - On the Success of Arque Ltd being Awarded ISO14001 Status

City firm adopts green rules for helping planet

Tuesday, February 09, 2010, 23:00

WIDE-ranging changes to its operations have resulted in an Exeter construction firm achieving a testing environmental management standard.

Arque is one of the first small or medium sized businesses in its sector to gain the internationally recognised ISO14001 accreditation.

The company, whose current projects include the refurbishment of the Mint Methodist Church in Fore Street, Exeter, has spent the past 12 months looking for ways to reduce its environmental impact.

The process has led to the adoption of 10 'green rules' by Arque's workforce. These include segregating waste to reduce the amount sent to landfill and planning journeys to avoid unnecessary trips.

Other simple measures include ensuring equipment is switched off when it is not being used and logging steps taken to tackle waste or pollution. Staff have also been instructed to warn neighbours about potential dust and noise nuisance. 

Upton Pyne-based Arque was advised by the charity Global Action Plan during its environmental review, which culminated in an audit by an inspector from the Centre for Assessment.

Managing director Bernard Keogh said: "We have had to look at all our operations and write new systems for doing things in a more environmentally friendly way.

"We are one of the few contractors of our size to receive ISO14001 accreditation, so we are delighted with the news.

"It reflects a lot of hard work and helps to keep us ahead of our competitors. More importantly it has raised the environmental awareness of all of our people, and we have seen real savings in waste and energy use."

Around half the measures adopted have the added bonus of saving money, giving the company an added incentive to stick to its green rules.

As well as taking care to use products and equipment which cause the least environmental impact, Arque says it will also be encouraging its clients, subcontractors and suppliers to use sustainable materials and minimise waste.

"The challenge for us now is to build on this and for it to cascade down our supply chain," said Mr Keogh.

He added that the certification would help Arque win more contracts, particularly for public sector projects. "For all our clients, especially public sector clients, the environment is really high on their agenda," said Mr Keogh. "They want to ensure the contractors they are using are environmentally friendly so they will always ask about environmental credentials."

Examples include Exeter City Council's Green Accord, an accreditation which businesses tendering for work are encouraged to apply for to prove their commitment to sustainability.

Receiving the ISO14001 certification, Mr Keogh concluded: "It's been a lot of work to get to this point and put this in place. Now, hopefully, we will see some of the benefits. It will help us win more work, it will help us be more environmentally conscious and should help us save money as well."