Environmental report


The nature of Reunert businesses means they are unlikely to pose any material environmental risk. In the past two years, Reunert has not had any significant spills of chemicals, oils and fuels that could have a negative impact on the surrounding environment.

We had one minor spill of less than a kilolitre of aluminium wire-drawing lubricant after a thunderstorm and blocked stormwater drains flooded the area. Grassed areas were rehabilitated by removing the top layer of soil and replanting the lawn at a cost of R20 000. Preventative actions, in cooperation with the local council, were taken to prevent a recurrence.

There were no fines or legal actions brought against the group for non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations in the review period.

Several companies – especially in the manufacturing operations – already have systems in place to manage their impact on the environment. In the next year, Reunert will improve its methods of gathering data to measure our impact on the environment in line with global standards.

Current standards and verifications for our operations are listed here. Three more companies, CBI-electric: telecoms, Nashua Limited and Quince Capital are finalising their ISO 14001 certification, which will increase the number of companies already certified against an environmental management system.

Renewable energy sources

In the past year, Reunert has investigated using renewable energy sources cost-effectively. Many of these initiatives are at infancy stage and full comparative disclosure is not available.

A highlight, however, was the good progress made in installing a range of solar panel systems at the Nashua Mobile premises in Midrand. The installation will have a peak power capacity of 50kW and will generate an average energy supply of 350kWh per day. This system will be a photovoltaic source linked to the national grid. Although cost savings will be achieved over the longer term, this project is structured as a Reunert technology initiative to fully understand the associated complexities of entering the renewable energy market in South Africa.

Reunert’s energy consumption

The group’s primary source of energy is the purchase of electricity produced by the state-owned entity, Eskom. In the past financial year, nearly 62GWh has been used which equates to 63 660 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Compared to the prior year, the group showed a decrease of 202 982kWh despite an increase in operating activities as the economy improved. The biggest user of electricity in the group is our manufacturing operations at CBI-electric, responsible for 80% of total energy consumption.

An initiative to establish our carbon footprint was started late in the year and better insight into Reunert’s total contribution to carbon emissions should be available for inclusion in the international Carbon Disclosure Project in May 2011.

Actions to save energy

A number of proactive efforts to improve energy efficiencies have been implemented in the group, with the most progress being made at our energy cables operation in Vereeniging. Some of these initiatives included process redesign such as installing variable output controllers for heating on the aluminium press and optimising distribution transformers to increase load factors. An obsolete steam line was removed. Equipment, such as the boiler burner and boiler rear-door economiser, was upgraded.

At the telecoms factory in Brits, all the hi-bay lights were replaced with t-bay lights, resulting in a 20% reduction in energy costs. Several other companies in the group have started replacing lighting with energy-efficient substitutes and installing time switches. At RRS, existing geysers were replaced with solar geysers when the building was upgraded.

Energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions were some of the key considerations in the design and refurbishment of Reutech Communication’s building in New Germany, KwaZulu-Natal. Natural lighting and green planting areas have been introduced and environmentally friendly porous open-cell grass concrete blocks used in staff parking bays.

A range of energy-efficient technologies was used including lower insulated ceilings, saving 409kW in airconditioning load or 128kW of electrical power per day, CO2 refrigeration which has a much lower global warming impact and the use of other energy-efficient equipment.

Initiatives to change staff behaviour to switch off non-essential lights were started in many companies and these will be intensified in future.

Water use

The bulk of water used in Reunert is supplied by municipalities, with an estimated 335 807 kilolitres consumed during the period. Information on total use for the previous year is insufficient to be used as a comparative.

CBI-electric consumed 70% of the water and uses closed-loop cooling systems where water is managed by specialists. This water is recycled up to 10 times a day. It is treated with rust inhibitors, biocides and other chemicals to make it suitable for process water which comes into contact with machine components, product and employees. It is not suitable for drinking but the standard is above the minimum requirements imposed by the local council and Rand Water.

Waste management

Non-hazardous materials

Processes to eliminate wastage and intensify recycling programmes have received attention in most Reunert companies.

At CBI-electric, improvement teams are tasked to reduce process waste and scrap. Process scrap is stripped and sorted into various components and, where possible, PVC and bedding-grade materials are reused. Metals are partially recycled on site or sold for recycling to accredited waste partners.

Most of the shredded documents generated in the group as well as other paper and cardboard are collected by external contractors for recycling.

Software to monitor printing habits has been installed at Nashua and can be used to increase awareness and manage unnecessary consumption. The facility to send documents to a PDF resource to reduce paper and ink toner is in place at most companies.

Although some group companies have sufficient processes in place to dispose of defective or obsolete electronic equipment in an environmentally friendly way, more effort is needed to ensure group-wide involvement.

Hazardous materials

Limiting the use of hazardous materials is receiving the necessary attention and the disposal of such materials, under controlled conditions by experts, has been included in risk management assessments.

Mercury used in laboratory testing equipment is being phased out with a target date of 2013. Freon cleaning liquid has been discontinued and replaced with an environmentally friendly cleaning liquid.

At CBI-electric, all hazardous materials are disposed of at approved sites and safe disposal certificates are filed. Hazardous materials include compound-contaminated PPE, contaminated cleaning rags, solvents, fluorescent tubes, paint and oil containers or drums, rubber drive belts, forklift tyres and waste laboratory chemicals.

As part of Nashua and Quince’s audit towards obtaining their ISO 14001 certification, all hazardous materials have been identified and bio-friendly replacements are now being sourced.

Product innovation and supply chain management

The products supplied by the Nashua group are sourced from multinational companies which have been committed to developing environmentally friendly products for a number of years.

Ricoh, as a main supplier to Nashua, uses recycled material in manufacturing its office automation equipment. All products and packaging from Nashua Communication’s main supplier, Siemens, comply with European Environmental Standards.

Nashua Electronics’ main supplier, Kyocera, has a waste-reduction strategy which for instance reduces the amount of waste generated by its printers and increases the lifespan of consumables typically by more than 50%. All product models comply with the Energy Star standard and include an ID code for plastic components for easy recycling at end of life.

Products sourced from Panasonic are highly energy efficient and have been acknowledged as such by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Department of Energy (DEO). Panasonic products have won Energy Star recognition for six consecutive years.

Nashua is now offering recycled paper to all its franchises and customers as part of its consumable products, while the paper supplied by Nashua Electronics carries the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody certification and is made from elemental chlorine-free (ECF) pulp. The company purchases the green range product, which is FSC certified and 100% recycled.

Nashua Mobile continued its partnership with Food and Trees for Africa, donating R10 to the programme for every subscriber that converts to electronic billing from paper-based statements. During the year, a further donation of R225 980 was made to Food and Trees for Africa, bringing total contributions to date to R683 980. With these funds, 3 658 trees were planted during the year in Orlando East, Barberton, Riverlea in Johannesburg, Phukeng in North West province and Mogale City. So far, 6 108 trees have been planted by the programme resulting in the sequestration of 2 296 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next 15 years and planting 153 hectares of urban forest.

This annual report has been printed on Cartridge 105gsm. A minimum of 30% fibre used in making this paper comes from well-managed forests independently certified according to the rules of the FSC. The cover is printed on Trucard recycled 330gsm. It contains 50% post-consumer de-inked pulp, is FSC certified and carries the NAPM mark.