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Management approach

Imperial’s approach to environmental management is based on best practice and legal compliance. We are committed to minimising our environmental impact and to continually improving on our performance.

In managing our environmental impact, we are guided by the groupwide sustainability strategy and by various pieces of legislation that include the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act 39 of 2004, the National Water Act 36 of 1998 and the National Environmental Management: Waste Act 59 of 2008. Many of our operations also comply with International Standards Organisation (ISO) 14001 certification, which guides the way in which they manage and mitigate their environmental impact.

The former Lehnkering Shipping Services, now integrated into the Imperial Shipping Group, is registered with the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) and holds a Tanker Management Self-Assessment certification for environmental and safety management performance. It is the only inland shipping company to hold a Level 2 certification in this regard.

Our key environmental stakeholders include government, specifically the Department of Water Affairs, the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Energy, with which we engage as appropriate on a local, regional and national level. We also proactively engage with organisations that have an environmental focus. These include the National Business Initiative, the CSIR and the National Cleaner Production Centre. Certain academic institutions undertake specific environmental research studies for the group from time to time.

Ultimate accountability for environmental performance resides with the board of directors and the group CEO, assisted by the social, ethics and sustainability committee of the board. However,in line with Imperial’s decentralised structure, management of environmental impacts is devolved to operational management within each of the group’s divisions and businesses.

Each business unit is responsible for its own environmental policy, taking full cognisance of group principles, local circumstances and issues of material relevance to that particular business area. At group level, the executive committee takes responsibility for environmental policy, reporting and monitoring, with an executive designated to drive this agenda. Environmental incidents, trends and related matters are reported to the executive committee and applicable divisional boards monthly and to the group board quarterly.

During the year we implemented non-financial reporting systems across the group to ensure on-going monitoring and reporting of key environmental indicators. These systems measure carbon emissions (electricity and fuel consumption) and water usage statistics on a monthly basis.

It is mandatory for all our operations to rigorously investigate and report incidents and effectively mitigate the impacts of any incidents.

We received no fines in 2012 relating to our environmental incidents, spillages or non-compliance with environmental laws and standards.

While we believe that responsible environmental management is the duty of every good corporate citizen, we also recognise that it is a business imperative. It can pose significant business risks. As such issues of environment and carbon taxes are listed on the group’s business risk register. The risk of non-compliance with environmental laws carries the risk of significant fines, and theproposed introduction of carbon taxes could materially impact our bottom line.

Environmental management also offers significant business opportunities to develop and offer ‘green’ products and services, which can help to differentiate our businesses in a competitive market. Green solutions are also more cost effective and can lead to greater business efficiency. For example, Imperial Logistics’ extensive list of ‘green logistics evolution’ initiatives includes the introduction of South Africa’s first Euro 5 emissions rated vehicles, ‘extra distance’ studies and network redesign to eliminate logistics inefficiencies, and the application of nitrogen powered transport refrigeration.


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