Green Company

Certification at Group level and at five sites

In 2008, the Green Company Initiative was launched and one of the main targets announced was that the adidas Group headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany, as well as major locations in North America should be certified according to ISO 14001, the international environmental management system standard. In mid 2009, Herzogenaurach, Canton, Carlsbad, Portland, Montreal and Spartanburg were provided with a comprehensive 10-step-guideline to reach certification as well as an Environmental management manual template.

Based on the guidance, all locations, except the facilities in Herzogenaurach, implemented one joint system which is linked into the global Group headquarter-based system. The Herzogenaurach location was given a respite of one year due to comprehensive construction measures at this site. The ‘World of Sports' site in Herzogenaurach is scheduled to join the Group certificate through certification audits in December 2011.

North American achievement is strong

“We went from utter confusion and ignorance to understanding between the first meeting and the second,” says Doug Noonan, Head of Group Corporate Real Estate.

Doug is reflecting on the quick learning needed by the working group that led on getting five North American adidas Group sites certified to the international environmental management system ISO 14001.

One system

The working group contained the facility managers from the five sites, a consultant, legal counsel and Christine Domoracki, Head of Global Corporate Citizenship for the Reebok brand, who coordinated it all. The team had one year to get all five sites certified to ISO 14001. They decided the best approach was to create one system for all the sites despite the fact that the facilities represented different brands.

“We went for one system because we kept looking at the deadline of being certified by the end of 2010, and we decided it made sense to provide common leadership in North America,“ says Doug, who was also a member of the working group in his role as the North American management representative for the project.

The team held three two-day meetings in Chicago and every member of the group also travelled to each of the other sites at least once to see how the one system could be made to work at the different sites. In between the meetings there was lots of work to do, not least writing up all the documentation that underpins an ISO 14001 system. Christine says: “Once we got into the system we realised these were things we did every day. These steps were how the facilities run. We were just putting a system to it.”

After a lot of hard work the team met the deadline and the sites were registered as ISO 14001 in December 2010. These sites are now part of the global system supervised and managed at headquarters in Herzogenaurach.

Learning from success

Doug is excited about the unintended consequences of the process. “All that documenting means the facility managers now look at their sites in new ways. For example, we realised we didn't have a process for handling chemicals here at Canton. We didn't know what came into the building, where they were stored, nothing. This is an office facility not a chemical plant but still we ought to know and we didn't. Now we have a process, we know how to store the chemicals properly and we know that the people who have to handle the chemicals can do so safely.“

The next steps are to “live with the system and perfect it” according to Christine. Doug says that they need to integrate the system more closely with the Green Company targets. He intends to hire an Environment Manager to take the work forward in 2011.

In the meantime they can be proud of achieving certification within a year.

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