40. Able's Environmental Policy

Friday, July 02, 2010

Able includes the environment as a core factor in its business decision-making.

The company aims to both minimise its environmental impact and consistently evolve towards environmental best practice.  In this regard, specific focus is paid to;

  • resource consumption
  • product design
  • product life cycle management including recycling
  • environmental accreditation
  • community support
  • responsibility for carbon emissions

Able aim to fully involve its own team in continuing to reach its environmental objectives.

We will work with suppliers who can cooperate and contribute to our environmental efforts

Able aim to offer its clients products that incorporate strong environmental aspects, while at the same time delivering quality and value for money.

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37. City Switch

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We recently attended a City Switch presentation at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. City Switch's mission is as follows;

At the presentation, City Switch demonstrated how one T5 fluroescent lamp fitted with a reflector, can replace two T8 lamps and continue to  meet occupational health and safety benchmarks. This sounded like a good idea to us, so we arranged for our environmental consultants,  Ecovantage, to  meet with our Floor Manager and electrician, to discuss. As it turns out, we understand that the new light fittings that are on our level are not suitable to house the T5 fluro's (with reflectors) as they don't provide enough clearance for the lamp. Neverthless, we thought it worth mentioning as others may benefit from the subsidised office efficiency program that Cityswitch are running.

Click through to CitySwitch web site

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36. Able clients advised of their CO2 footprints

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Each month, Able's Client Activity Report System is advising clients of their CO2 footprint. The automated report supplies a month to date and year to date CO2 figure for the client  in kg's. Able then offset this CO2 on behalf of clients.

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35. Greenfleet planting site - biodiverse species

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

As part of Able's Carbon Offset Program, 7,463 trees have been planted by Greenfleet near Nhill in Victoria's North West.

Greenfleet have confirmed that the following biodiverse species have been planted;

Acacia brachybotrya – Grey Mulga

Acacia euthycarpa – Wallowa

Acacia montana – Mallee Wattle

Acacia pycnantha – Golden Wattle

Callitris rhomboidea – Port Jackson Pine

Eucalyptus baxteri – Brown Stringybark

Eucalyptus behriana – Bull Mallee

Eucalyptus dumosa – Dumosa Mallee

Eucalyptus  gracilis – White Mallee

Eucalyptus incrassata – Yellow Mallee

Eucalyptus leucoxylon – Yellow Gum

Leptospermum myrsinoides – Heath Tea – Tree

Melaleuca acuminata ssp.Acuminata – Mallee Hobey Myrtle

Melaleuca lanceolata ssp, Lanceolata – Moonah

Melaleuca wilsonii – Violet Honey Myrtle

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34. Community Development

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We take the view that part of being a sustainable business is to acknowledge and take on a level of community responsibility. 

While our aim is to be a prosperous business,  we are also in a position to support initiatives that improve health, education and opportunity. With this in mind we support the Smith Family locally  ( Able support children in the Learning for Life Program on an ongoing basis) and also support Surfaid International. This June, we are making a further contribution of $1,000 to Surfaid International,  who operate in Indonesia's Mentawai Islands.

Link to Surfaid International Site

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33. Recycling

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Able are currently arranging a pickup / recycle system for used finished products products from a major healthcare services provider. The system will entail some reorganising at the clients premises including further separation of rubbish. The used finished goods, once collected, will be returned to the processing plant where they will be extruded into plastic film. With the introduction of this system, the new lifecycle of these products will be as follows;

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30. Packaging Optimisation - Part 1

Monday, June 28, 2010

With the objectives of optimizing  1. the resources used in packaging  2. the subsequent energy required for  transport and 3. the space required for storage,  Able has reviewed its carton sizes and configurations.

The company purchased software to assist in this task.  The packing configuration of all A and B class products were reviewed and where necessary updated.

In the illustrations that follow, the effect of reconfiguring the default  stacking pattern of  cartons on a pallet can be seen. The image shows cartons the size of Able's examination glove cartons. The first image shows the default stacking formation of gloves that achieves 48 cartons of gloves per pallet. We have set up a new pallet configuration that increases the cartons per pallet from 48 to 52.  This is an improvement in pallet utilization of over 8 %.

Above: Default pallet configuration achieving 48 cartons of  gloves per pallet.

Below:  Updated pallet configuration that achieves 52  cartons per pallet, an improvement of 8 % which flows directly through to savings in energy to transport and space required to store. 

We were able to measure % utilization by both pallet area and pallet volume.

There were significant efficiency gains attained across the Able range of products, simply by stacking cartons in a slightly different pattern.

For a small number of items, the  supplying plant has been advised to change the size of the carton to achieve acceptable configuration options. 

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29. Gaining perspective on sustainability in our business

Monday, June 28, 2010

A few years ago, Able started to take steps to measure and offset its environmental impacts. For some time we focussed primarily on our CO2 emissions. As time has passed we have broadened our outlook. The mind map below represents  the areas that we are now addressing. We are creating a system within our planning to measure our performance in these areas.

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32. Sustainable Packaging Alliance - Education, PIQET and Networking

Monday, June 28, 2010

In May, Able participated in a seminar run by SPA (the Sustainable Packaging Alliance.) The seminar focused on assessing packaging sustainability and included a practical session on their software package Piqet.

SPA's mission is to assist companies to consider sustainability when making decisions about packaging systems. SPA draws on industry, academic and Government experience and networks to provide tools knowledge and training.

During the seminar we used the PIQET package to generate an environmental impact report for one of Able's product lines. The report addressed the following sustainability aspects;

  •  Life cycle 
  • Climate change impact
  • Cumulative energy demand
  • Water use
  • Land Use
  • Solid waste and 
  • Packaging efficiency 
PIQET  is a powerful tool that is worth investigating if you are interested in assessing your product's environmental impact.

Click through to the sustainable packaging web site

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31. Packaging Optimisation - Part 2

Monday, June 28, 2010

For a number of years, products from two of Able’s overseas supplying factories were stacked onto  cardboard pallets and then loaded into shipping containers. This practice enabled efficient unloading of containers and ease of redispatch. 

A recent  analysis of the practice has highlighted two negative side effects; suboptimal container utilisation and a significant unnecessary use of resources in the form of cardboard and stetch wrap. The cardboard pallets are solidly constructed and the newer models employ a honeycomb lattice that and can hold over 500Kg.

Able have advised the supplying plants that the cardboard pallets are to be eliminated and that cartons be loose stacked into containers.

This action is reaping  environmental benefits as follows;

- A saving of over 600 cardboard pallets and top caps per annum.

- To make one tonne of paper out of virgin material requires over 90,000 litres of water *. Although cardboard pallets may require less water during manufacturing than paper, the weight of cardboard pallets that Able has been using is in access of 4 tonnes per annum. The water saving achieved through curtailing their use could be in excess of 200,000 litres per year. We will contact our ecological advisors ecovantage to firm up these estimates.

      * Paper and Carboard Fact Sheet, Clean Up Australia, September 2009,

- By halting the use of cardboard pallets, Able will  free up shipping space equivalent to seven 20 foot containers per year. The energy required to ship seven 20 foot containers from Asia to Melbourne is saved.                             

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