The ‘E’ Challenge

July 5, 2021

By Alicja Fryc, Senior QHSSE Advisor, Tendeka

As published in Energy Voice, July 2021

As the industry strengthens its response to climate emergency by implementing or accelerating organisational sustainability programmes, businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to give the ‘E’ in ‘HSE’ a whole new meaning.

The environmental management system (EMS) is being revamped, a planet-saving cape thrown over it and moved into the limelight of marketing campaigns or, at the very least, given a good dose of attention.

At Tendeka, we are experiencing it too. We have launched a charter to co-ordinate four different elements of our sustainability programme. We are deploying ISO14090 in EMS assistance, have set ambitious tasks for our carbon management programme, sharpened sustainability angles of technology development targets and we are running an exciting employee engagement campaign.

The industry is witnessing the environmental element coming out of the shadow of health and safety and really taking a seat at the table as a prerequisite of, rather than an addition, to H&S. The interdependent balance of the three elements is finally being appreciated. But there is more behind coming to the table than simply taking a seat.

Our CEO, Brad Baker, once told me a story about a tender meeting back in mid-90s where he first realised the then new and enlightening significance of the health and safety in managing business. The client asked him about company safety performance before even touching on technical and commercial details of the offer. Today, we cannot imagine the oil and gas industry without health and safety placed at the forefront of all company activities and considered “part of the job”.

It has, however, taken us many years to get here and we still have a lot to work on.

With environmental care, we cannot afford the luxury of watching the processes embedding in the industry culture gradually over time. We must induce the shift from sustainability seen as a domain of supply chain, product designers and HSE, to it being perceived as the way business is done.

We have the know-how gained from developing the industry’s health and safety culture through education, communication, standards and systemic approach, and largely through the invaluable tool of leadership in safety. We now need to do it again with sustainability but in a fraction of the time.

The world’s climate action focus is setting the scene by fuelling environmental expectations towards employers. The ambition is to respond to these expectations with processes and behaviours that weave the environmental care seamlessly into the fabric of the business, achieving a mindset of ‘H’, ‘S’ and ‘E’ equality that will leave us wondering how we managed our businesses before – just like we now do when thinking of health and safety.

I am looking forward to the wider industry taking on this challenge once the initial buzz of the net zero pledges dies down and the smell of fresh green paint fades.

Alicja Fryc, Senior HSE Advisor