The best path out of an environmental crisis is to plan for one, according to Absorb Managing Director Phil Abernethy who is about to launch his book "The Environmental Manager’s Toolkit".
A chemical engineer, an educator and a practical environmentalist, Phil understands that most small to medium-sized businesses can’t afford to hire a full-time, degree-qualified environmental officer.
Which is why he wrote a book that offers an easy-to-follow guide for businesses and government organisations in fields including mining, manufacturing, farming, construction, education and medicine, among others.
"The role of 'environmental manager' is usually assigned to a person in the company who already wears many hats – it's often the person who is also responsible for OH&S," Abernethy said.
"But it's important that this person is equipped with the right skill set and knowledge base to handle the job, rather than learning from their mistakes.
"People have a wonderful ability not to do things exactly the same everyday, so the book offer tips about conducting routine site checks to actively scan and look for things out of place.
"And it's better to learn this lesson before experiencing an actual environmental crisis."
Abernethy said many businesses make the mistake by believing that it's only the really big companies or mines that need to be concerned about their environmental impact.
"In fact, the little guys might be the ones most at risk because unlike the big guys they don't have the funds to hire a high powered environmental officer," he said.
"For example, during a recent fire at a SEQ business staff did not consider they would be liable for the effluent contained in the water that was used to put out the fire.
"This fire water was later linked to the death of fish in nearby waterways, and the business was fined."
While Abernethy said he believed while most businesses wanted to do the right thing by their local environment, many unknowingly contributed to pollution.
"It's not about wringing our hands and saying it's all terrible," he said.
'There is hope. Everybody is involved. There are simple and low cost things we can do. And it's these little things, when done collectively that make the difference. This book is about empowering businesses to reduce their environmental footprint, which will ultimately protect them from fines and damage to their reputation."
"Good environmental management is good for business profits."
The book covers such topics as:
- Sustainable development and use of resources
- Environmental management systems
- Meeting Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation
- Vital compliance standards and guidelines
- Controlling and preventing pollution
- Community and workplace relations
- Communicating corporate and individual responsibility
- Environmental emergency planning.
Established in 1996, Absorb Environmental Solutions is a company dedicated to providing training courses and physical solutions to ensure companies are compliant with environmental legislation.