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Stevenage Leisure demonstrates environmental responsibility

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Stevenage Leisure is working towards the British Standards BS8555 mark, a framework that helps organisations develop an Environmental Management System and ultimately minimise their negative impact on the environment.

The charitable organisation, which manages 19 sites on behalf of five different local authorities, is working with quality management specialist Right Directions to achieve the Kitemark-like standard, which will be held centrally by Stevenage Leisure for all its facilities.

Stevenage Leisure is currently building a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate how its environmental processes are managed and the steps that have been taken to reduce energy consumption and the trust's overall carbon footprint.

James Barker, Facilities Director for the Stevenage Leisure said: "As a responsible company we wanted something to help us improve and manage our environmental impact. The BS8555 accreditation demonstrates to everyone involved in our centres, from local residents and clients to employees and other stakeholders, that we have a structured and responsible approach to managing our environmental issues."

Caroline Constantine, Director of Right Directions Management Ltd, which delivers Sport England's quality assurance mark Quest, as well as the Fitness Industry Association's Code of Practice, said: "The Government has raised the ante on organisations reducing their carbon emissions and, as such, many local authorities now insist that companies have environmental accreditation.

"To make sure the trust meets the criteria needed for the external assessor to award the BS8555 badge, we will be carrying out internal audits over a six month period and are working to instil a culture change across all sites and staff members to ensure they are more environmentally aware. For instance, the impact of everyone, from centre management to life guards and cleaners, turning off lights is enormous - not only in respect of utility consumption, but also the environmental impact that has on the entire community. Centre managers now have an environmental manual they can use to train staff and create a standardised centre-focused approach."

Stevenage Leisure will use the BS8555 as a stepping stone to achieve the internationally recognised ISO14001 standard. Constantine continued: "It is quite common for larger companies to use the phased approach of the BS8555 as a stepping stone to the ISO14001 standard. It demonstrates their commitment to environmental improvement and breaks down the process of installing a formal Environmental Management System into five levels. The sixth level being systems that meet with ISO14001 standard."

"We have worked with Right Directions since 2003, as one of the company's first clients," continued Barker. "As such, we have firsthand knowledge of the team's expertise within the leisure industry, which has proved to be a real benefit in all they do for Stevenage Leisure."

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Stevenage Leisure is working towards the British Standards BS8555 mark, a framework that helps organisations develop an Environmental Management System and ultimately minimise their negative impact on the environment.
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JP Lennard
JP Lennard