The latest independent audit of fabricators signed to the ASI’s environmental stewardship program has awarded Gold status to four members for their performance under the ASI’s Environmental Sustainability Charter (ESC). The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) requires engagement of ESC member fabricators for building projects to qualify for an available Green Star point. There are currently chartered fabricators operating in each Australian state, 30 all up. The ASI Charter requires members to provide management commitment to a set of environmental principles, communicate these and engage with staff, measure their consumables and emissions and develop environmental improvement plans through an audited web-based mentoring system provided by the ASI. The audit conferred a gold rating to ESC members Hutchins Bros (NSW), Manuele Engineering (South Australia), Rodger Giles Builders (Queensland) and Rondo Building Services (NSW). Gold members demonstrate industry best practice, closely follow an Environmental Management Scheme (EMS) in accordance with the Charter, work to meet Charter ideals and show strong environmental awareness and culture in the organisation. As a result of the GBCA’s Green Star ‘Steel’ credit review in 2010, the ASI created the Charter and environmental management program for downstream steel processors to embed environmental improvement in this section of the steel industry. In many structures, downstream processing may be a factor in determining whether a structural steel or other building system has a lower overall environmental impact. A US study of the fabrication sector reported in Modern Steel Construction (July 2010) found the average steel fabrication process can contribute up to 20 percent to the structural steel package portion of the overall steel building frame’s environmental impact when coatings are included. The number of Green Star projects grew by almost 50 percent over a year according to recent figures from the GBCA with 148 certified in 2012 compared with 101 the previous year. For those planning to actively reduce the environmental impact of structural steel, particularly for Green Star construction projects, the use of ASI ESC fabricators experienced in material management and scrap and energy use reduction is designed to result in a more environmentally friendly outcome. The recent audit also granted Silver status to Advanced Steel Fabrications (South Australia), Beenleigh Steel Fabrications and Central Engineering (Queensland), GFC Industries and Stilcon Holdings (Victoria). Silver members demonstrated evidence of sound environmental management throughout the organisation and are working on continual improvement. The ASI’s ESC requires members to be independently audited to the system annually to retain membership and to demonstrate continual improvement and culture change in environmental management of their business operations. Managing Director and Chief Change Facilitator at Allixir, Amy Luscombe conducted the audits and said that she was generally impressed with the level of commitment demonstrated by Charter members who are mostly SMEs with limited resources. "The change in mindset has been astonishing and inspiring,” she said. “This is an industry with (mostly) little environmental knowledge, expertise or resources, yet I’ve witnessed businesses embrace environmental improvement and management across their entire organisation. We’ve seen environmental improvement initiatives such as lighting retrofit and roofing replacement projects, environmental management training of all staff, full waste sorting and recovery and better stock management to improve steel utilisation and lower wastage. "These dedicated steel businesses which directly interface with designers and builders are helping shore up a critical link in the steel supply chain to produce steel products more responsibly for the built environment,” said ASI National Manager Marketing, David Ryan who manages the program. A good environmental case is often also the best business case so this program is also often reducing steelwork costs and improving efficiency. This has a strong commercial case also for builders to gain that extra Green Star point as more buildings look for a GreenStar rating.” The ASI also conducts a national awards program that recognises the environmental sustainability performance of an outstanding ESC member with the next to be announced this September at the annual Steel Convention. To locate an ESC member in your state, visit: http://steel.org.au/asi-committees/environmental-sustainability-charter/find-a-charter-member/