I noticed the initials F/U today on some meeting minutes from work and thought “Wow, glad that item wasn’t on MY to do list!” Then it was explained to me that F/U (with the all important “/” mark) means “Follow Up” item, whereas FU means something totally different. (Maybe for a later blog post).
It was the perfect time for me to do my own F/U. In a previous post Do You Want An Audit With That Merlot? I discussed two audits I was conducting on our business, one for a hefty Health and Safety certification and the other our third GHG, or Green House Gas, audit. It is rare to see a huge amount of work pay off, and more rare to see both pay off in the same week.
Health and Safety Audit Results: On May 16 we found out that we had indeed passed a massive Health and Safety audit and become BC’s first small business to receive COR (certificate of recognition) status in the Food and Beverage industries. Preparing for the audit took 14 months of intensive work and time, work done in particular by our Vineyard Manager Andrew Moon, our Assistant Winemaker Korol Kuklo and our Hospitality Manager Muriel Allen. We had to get everyone on board, from ownership right down to casual laborers and even outside contractors. No small feat. Some highlights:
- Hazard assessment (over 700 identified)–everything from sun stroke while working in the vineyard to more obvious dangers from farm and cellar equipment.
- Put controls in place to reduce or eliminate these hazards.
- Instituted an all-inclusive new worker orientation program–no matter if you are working for us for one hour or the rest of your life.
- Safe work procedures, ongoing training and better communication to ensure that all employees are “on the same page”.
- Implementation of an emergency response plan
- Ensure contractors who work on site are orientated and working safely around our visitors and employees.
No it’s not sexy. It’s damn hard work. We do it because we value our employees.
Green House Gas Audit Results: We have partnered with Climate Smart since Spring 2009 to measure our carbon footprint and determine reduction strategies to lower it. We did a baseline audit in August 2009 and after implementing a series of reductions we compared it to our second audit in May 2010–the results? No major changes. We were motivated even more to see changes this time around. On May 9 our carbon inventory was approved by Climate Smart and we saw a staggering 28% decrease in GHG or CO2 Equivalents over last year. Some of the highlights:
- We sent more waste this year to recycling than to landfill. That had never happened before
- Down 41% overall in garbage sent to landfill
- Down 32% in electricity used this year on all parts of our vineyard and winery buildings. Some of this (approx. 15% was probably due to a cooler year) but the remainder was due to efficiencies
- Down 26% in Green House Gas emissions for vehicles we own–mainly due to more efficient use of farm tractors and using biodiesel.
- We were even down 38% in paper usage due to double-sided copies now being our copier default setting as well as going with paperless faxes and less printing overall.
It’s hard to remember a time at the winery that we have worked this hard and achieved so many concrete results. The bar will be raised continually with respect to our Health and Safety program. As for our carbon footprint we have already decided on 2011’s new reduction strategies and are starting to implement them.
I just think it’s nice to rest for a day or two and enjoy the results.