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Glenmorangie Case Study

18 August 2015
Helping Glenmorangie Make Greener Whisky by certifying to ISO 14001 for its environmental management system.

When iconic Scotch whisky producer Glenmorangie decided to reduce their environmental impact they approached NQA to help. This was very much a logical progression, with NQA having previously helped the company gain ISO 9001 in quality management. After a detailed study and the implementation of significant new policies, we’re delighted to say that Glenmorangie is now certified to environmental management standard ISO 14001. Doing your bit for the environment - we’ll drink to that.

Glenmorangie wanted to go beyond minimum legal requirements and seek to actively reduce its environmental impact in all areas.

Scotch whisky producer Glenmorangie has recently been certified to ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard, undertaking the process as part of a commitment to reduce its environmental impact.

A focus on environmental considerations is a priority for the Scotch whisky industry as a whole, spearheaded by the Scotch Whisky Association. This organization, made up of the major Scotch producers, devised an environmental strategy in 2010, agreeing targets for the improvement of the whole industry.

For Glenmorangie, the most practical way of achieving these targets was to work towards its own ISO 14001 certification.

“We have always made sure we’re fully compliant with all legislation,” points out Compliance Manager John McMullen. “This was about going further: meeting minimum legal standards is not enough – we want to make sure that we are continually looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact further and the structure provided by ISO 14001 helps us to do this.”

Performing beyond requirements

An example of this approach is the treatment of effluent. There is no legal requirement to treat the waste water produced during the manufacturing process, and common practice has been to discharge it straight into the sea.

The company is now actively researching alternative ways of managing effluent. In focusing on this type of initiative, the company is clearly demonstrating a genuine commitment to environmental improvements. John McMullen points out:

“Our consumers are becoming more educated in environmental issues and although our environmental performance may not be at the front of their mind when they buy a Glenmorangie product it is still an issue that we take very seriously.”

Planning the process

The company made the decision to apply for certification approximately one year before the final certification audit and asked certification body NQA to complete a gap analysis to find out what measures needed to be introduced or improved.

“We already had a number of systems in place,” continues John McMullen. “The gap analysis and the subsequent planning of a coherent management system allowed us to take a step back, re-evaluate every part of the business and plan a strategy for improvement.”

Aspects and Impacts

ISO 14001 requires every aspect of the company to be considered and the plan put in place by Glenmorangie does just this.

Alternative power sources (particularly significant for the distilleries as neither has access to mains gas), waste management and energy efficiency measures are all included in the improvement plan, while regular measurement and a training programme are also considered.

“Going through the process, and particularly the involvement of an external auditor, makes it clear to all our staff that this is a priority for the company. The renewed emphasis on training is particularly important and this alone is resulting in significant improvements. For example we recently had a minor chemical spillage and everyone reacted immediately in a textbook operation to contain the problem.”

Finding the right partner

NQA and Glenmorangie already had an established relationship as NQA is the certification body responsible for overseeing Glenmorangie’s ISO 9001 quality management certification.

It was therefore a logical progression to approach NQA for the ISO 14001 gap analysis and subsequent certification audit.

“NQA’s approach is practical and proactive. Our assessor understands our business and is able to recommend solutions that have been implemented in other organizations. His involvement is always instructive, but never nit-picking. I am sure that each annual audit visit will add to our performance.”