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The Fuel Card Group scores an ‘industry first with ISO 50001 certification

19/08/2013

Fuel Card Group have gained ISO 50001:2011, Energy management systems certification, making it the world’s first fuel-card provider to achieve this standard.

The Fuel Card Group

The Fuel Card Group (FCG) is a trading name of Fuel Card Services (FCS), one of the largest independent fuel card agents in the UK. Employing around 280 people and generating revenue of some £618 million annually, FCG manages the sale of branded fuel cards that enable customers to draw over 520 million litres of motor fuel a year.

FCG is part of DCC Energy, a procurement, sales, marketing, distribution and business support services group headquartered in Dublin. With around 9,800 employees in 13 countries, DCC has an annual turnover of €13 billion.

ISO 50001

Introduced by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) in 2011, ISO 50001 aims to help organisations to systematically and constantly improve their energy performance, and so reduce their energy costs and CO2 emissions.

ISO 50001 specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving an energy management system.

Towards lower energy costs

“We knew we wanted to reduce our energy costs and CO2 emissions,” says Ben Glover, Management Systems Coordinator at FCG. “However, as an office-based services company, we were concerned about how much we would save. At the time there was little information on likely savings as ISO 50001 is adopted principally by large manufacturing companies.”

Becky Toal, SGS United Kingdom Ltd Auditor, says: “FCG certainly had some initial reservations about ISO 50001, but these were more than overcome by the cost savings it achieved and by its employees’ strong support.”

ISO 50001 assessment

FCG chose SGS to undertake its ISO 50001 assessment. SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. With more than 75,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,500 offices and laboratories worldwide.

Ben Glover of FCG says: “FCG has worked with SGS for a long time: we’ve held ISO 9001, Quality management systems certification since 1992, and from the start SGS has efficiently carried out all our assessments.

“Our SGS auditor for ISO 50001, Becky Toal, has helped us with her observations, most of which we’ve implemented. One of these is recording the temperature at each location for a month to identify hot and cold spots. This has proved successful as we can use the information to regulate temperature throughout each office.” FCG’s ISO 50001 certification is valid for three years to October 2015, when the company will undergo its recertification audit. During this period it is subject to annual surveillance audits.

Becky Toal of SGS says: “From the start, FCG was proactive in understanding ISO 50001 and even chose to send its newly appointed energy representatives and energy manager on an SGS run energy management systems training course. This training helps these key staff to list, analyse and report energy use at each FCG site.”

Managing and saving energy

FCG is using its ISO 50001 certified energy management system to: • Constantly monitor, review and reduce its energy use, costs and CO2 emissions per employee • Establish action plans and targets to improve energy performance • Boost its competitiveness and reputation as an environmentally responsible organisation • Complement its new sustainability-focused fleet management services, CO2Count and MileageCount • Adapt to the requirements of environmental legislation such as the EU’s 20-20-20 targets • Make energy saving central to all its activities, including in IT equipment purchasing, staff practices, and office planning, design and operations

Energy-saving initiatives

As with other ISO management systems, ISO 50001 is based on a plan-do-check-act cycle of continual improvement.

Within this context FCG’s energy saving initiatives has included ‘Energy Week’, in which all employees were encouraged to reduce, think about and submit ideas for cutting energy consumption. This was a great success: energy use across FCG’s five offices was cut by an average of 9.5% and, for example, monitors are now switched off at lunchtime.

FCG’s other initiatives have included:
• Installing timers on boilers so that water is heated only during office hours • Assessing office lighting and then using lower wattage bulbs where appropriate • Putting staff energy representatives in charge of office air conditioning
• Monthly energy league tables, in which FCG’s offices compete with each other to reduce their energy consumption

Lower bills

Ben Glover says: “With our ISO 50001 certified energy management system in place, we can now see everything we consume. This gives us better control of what we use as we can see areas of high or irregular consumption and take action.

“In our new Motherwell office, for example, our energy consumption graphs showed that our energy use was much higher than in our previous office. We quickly adjusted the air conditioning at Motherwell, where we are now saving £500 a month in electricity bills.

“Our initial slight reservations were unfounded. Now we have 12 months of solid data, we can really make the system work for us.”

“To other organisations thinking about ISO 50001, I would say go for it. It enables you to control your energy use and it’s an effective way of cutting costs. You could be consuming large amounts of energy without even noticing, so it’s worth seeing exactly what you use.”

Environmentally responsible

Becky Toal says: “FCG is a forward looking company that takes its environmental and social responsibilities seriously, as exemplified by its ISO 50001 certification and CO2Count and MileageCount schemes.”

“As FCG is part of DCC, its achievement of ISO 50001 will be included in DCC’s annual corporate social responsibility report. ISO 50001 certification, gives shareholders, customers and employees more confidence that an organisation is working hard to save energy.”

ISO 50001 certification forms part of FCG’s forthcoming sustainability project, The Green Journey. Ben Glover explains: “ISO 50001 helps us to market our new fleet management services by saying to our customers, ‘We’re being energy efficient and you can be too”.

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