Remote site services RA International understands its responsibilities towards the communities and environments in which it operates. Ryan Hattingh, Head of Integrated Facility Management at RA International, explains how it is taking significant actions to ensure a sustainable future.
Today, companies have a greater role to play in transforming, impacting and improving lives in the communities and countries they operate in. The need for companies to entrench sustainability into their broader business strategies has become a significant business function regardless of the sector a business may operate.
The mining Industry in Africa is one example of a sector that has largely embraced this practice. The industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the past decade with many companies appreciating the importance of giving back and building communities in underdeveloped regions. This has changed the prospects of an industry with a notoriously poor reputation to a towering beacon of economic hope in many countries.
Africa is blessed with an abundance of various natural resources and in turn the mining sector has indeed blossomed and expanded to create numerous employment opportunities. The development of infrastructure has also empowered the youth and improved the skill set of women in the society thus contributing significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of many countries.
There is no denying the opportunities available in Africa’s vast natural resources and their resulting employment opportunities as well as contribution to the GDP of many countries.
It is to the benefit of all involved that those driving this development create sustainable channels, not only in the harvesting of resources but the responsible utilisation of other associated opportunities.
At RA International, we realise that what we do in generating business across a wide and varied footprint has a lasting impact on the communities and environments in those areas. Whilst the priority of sustainability initiatives may vary from industry to industry, our company understands the importance of its own responsibility towards the community in any environment it operates.
Unfortunately, sustainability as a phrase has become over used as a buzzword in elaborate marketing strategies which read like complicated political ideology saying so much but doing so little. Governments, NGOs, shareholders and private citizens are all calling on concerted industry efforts for companies to be more responsible in their approach to a sustainable future.
Facilities Management is one of our core service offerings at RA International, and within this we plan our sustainability initiatives around quantifiable information. In most instances, these also result in cost savings for our business. In order to achieve our objectives, we have focused on all possible factors, ranging from geographic location, site-specific challenges, power generation, environmental standards, water, sanitation, supply chain, local communities, training, local industry, agriculture and more.
With strategic implementation, specific initiatives have delivered remarkable results such as a 50% saving in water consumption through unique industry leading solutions in primary service areas, while our energy saving initiatives in the same areas have resulted in a reduction of between 20% and 50% of our day-to-day power consumption.
Initiatives to reduce our overall consumption and impact on the water table are key to ensuring that this valuable natural resource is not overlooked in the drive for more profitability, and that local communities are not put in danger by infiltration of harmful chemicals into the environment. All stakeholders have a responsibility to ensure that water as a natural resource is respected and used intelligently.
RA understands that sustainability in supporting local businesses comes from setting realistic objectives, education on associated financing and applying long-term training, performance assessments and planning revision to ensure the ongoing tangible success of that initiative. Success in supporting local businesses should always be measured on results and not investment.
Our sustainability planning is being driven by an aggressive plan to list all our assets across the globe, monitor the performance of those assets over their lifespan, quantify their impact and apply solutions based on real time consumption data and continue to collate that over time.
Understanding this information will enable us to drive initiatives across existing sites, embark on more intelligent solutions across new designs and continue to apply new standards as technology improves. RA understands that prevailing issues will worsen over coming decades if intelligent resources are not allocated to driving meaningful sustainability, thus the urgency to take significant and appropriate actions now.