Chapter 2: Success Stories: Businesses Profiting from EMS
Provided by the International Finance Corporation
Many companies have profited from implementing an EMS. Here are descriptions of some brief success stories which provide insights into the process and benefits of implementing an EMS. More in-depth case studies are explored in Chapter 9. To preserve confidentiality, some firms are referred to as "Company A" or similar.
- A manufacturer of office furniture eliminated the use of
methyl chloroform from its cleaning and fastening processes and
reduced the volume of VOC emissions by converting to a
powder-based coating system. These pollution prevention
alternatives saved the company more than R1.1 million per year,
with a return on its R1 million investment in less than one year.
Other bonuses included ease of compliance with increasingly
stringent environmental regulations and the elimination of
incineration fees for solid and liquid hazardous wastes.
- Leff-Marvins Cleaners, Inc. provides dry cleaning services.
The company replaced its old equipment with new cold water
chilled closed loop systems to recycle PERC (perchloroethylene).
The new system also uses reusable nylon filters and increases
efficiency, since garments do not have to be transferred between
machines. The new equipment eliminated most VOC emissions
(eliminating the need for permits) and also reduced
purchase of PERC from 200 gallons per month to 40 gallons per
month. In addition, the hazardous waste stream was reduced from
over 1,900 gallons of spent PERC per year to just 35 gallons of
still residues per month. The company realized a net
savings of R1,400 per month with the new system.
- Company A did not think it generated a significant amount of
waste, but when the company reviewed its activities and
introduced more efficient ways of handling cardboard, waste
elimination bills were cut by 55 percent. Company A also saved
staff time, increased staff awareness, and reduced their
waste_______ by 577 tons (in the first year).
- The managing director of Mounstevens Ltd., a manufacturing
and retail baker, increased staff awareness and introduced
careful separation of waste. The expected benefits include
cutting waste bills in half and saving R8,800 and 26 tons of
waste. "We would have to sell a lot of extra doughnuts to
make that sort of impact on our profitability," said the
- Company B instituted a facility-wide municipal waste
recycling program including metal, cardboard, paper, wood,
plastic and glass. More than 50 percent of the municipal
waste generated by the company is now recycled. The program
greatly reduced disposal costs and generated enough revenue from
marketing the recyclables to fund the program's operating
expenses, including wages and benefits, equipment operation and
maintenance, utility costs and program improvements.
- Jamestown Paint Company reduced its use of toluol by 95
percent and xylol by 74 percent by developing water-based
products to replace solvent-based coatings.
- A manufacturer of power steering gears, engine timing devices
and power transmission boxes installed a green sand recycling
system in its foundry. The system puts recovered sand directly
back into the processing lines, recovering about 95 percent of
silica sand. Previously, the company purchased four million
pounds of sand per year. Today, it purchases only 80,000 pounds
per year. The new system significantly reduced the sand purchase
and greatly reduced the generation of waste sand and resulting
- A producer of vegetable tanned leather changed its dye
supplies to low content manganese, antimony and beryllium dyes.
As a result, the company was able to utilize and market the
resulting wastewater treatment sludge as a useful and valuable
soil supplement, saving the company more than R60,000.
- Company C considered trichloroethylene (TCE) emissions as
constituting a significant environmental impact due to: hazardous
waste disposal costs, TCE's impact on human health, and
TCE's toxicity rating (commonly listed as a potential
carcinogen). Since TCE emissions were identified as significant
the company planned to minimize TCE use and set a specific
target of completely eliminating TCE by the end of the fiscal
year. The first step was identifying areas where the TCE was
used. Suppliers marked metal parts using a grease coating to
facilitate the stamping process. Company C used TCE in a vapor
degreaser to clean these metal parts. The company convinced its
suppliers to replace the grease coating with a water-based
lubricant, thereby eliminating TCE use from the cleaning of about
80 percent of its parts. For the remaining 20 percent (parts that
were cylindrical and required heavier oils in their production),
the company incorporated a two-step aqueous cleaner to replace
TCE. As a result, the degreasers were shut down. By eliminating
TCE in the facility, Company C saves approximately R100,000
annually. More importantly, the company has reduced health risks
by eliminating the use of a suspected carcinogen in the
- Honeycombe Leisure plc, which runs 32 pubs and bars,
implemented a glass recycling scheme which resulted in
sustainable cost savings on the tens of thousands of used bottles
annually. Honeycombe Leisure also introduced water regulators to
eliminate unnecessary water use and air filters to improve the
atmosphere. "All of these initiatives are already making a
positive impact both on the profitability of our company and on
the environment," said Michael Norris, Honyecombe
Leisure's financial director.
- A manufacturer of custom chemical intermediates and
agricultural and pharmaceutical additives distills and reuses
waste methanol from manufacturing and sells excess methanol to
other companies. This saved substantial money by reducing
methanol purchases by 33,600 gallons per quarter and
lowered wastewater treatment and disposal costs.
- During its EMS identification process, Company D noticed that
one of its large machines had a serious oil leak. The leak was
quickly repaired with a R5 gasket. This easy, inexpensive action
cut by half the amount of oil consumed by the company, creating
significant cost savings. In addition, the local municipal
authority reclassified the plant as no longer generating
- While identifying environmental impacts, Company E calculated
that raw material waste accounted for 15 percent of its total
final product. In response, Company E ordered metal inputs in
custom sizes that better met its needs, which reduced waste and
raw material costs.
- Company F reduced its noise levels through improved machinery
maintenance as part of its EMS implementation. As a result,
the company no longer receives noise pollution complaints.
- Company G often faced a critical water supply shortage.
Reducing and monitoring water consumption became a
priority. A wastewater treatment system and meter were
installed. As a result, Company G was able to recycle 40 percent
of the water it used.
Copyright © 2000 - 2016, International Finance Corporation. All Rights Reserved.