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This first best practice example zooms in on Lamil’s waste-sorting program. For Lamil, sustainability is a real-life philosophy. Fully aware of its role in society as well as in the lives of its employees, the company develops social and environmental actions to minimize the impact of its activities. At the same time, Lamil promotes education, leisure, entertainment and raises awareness of social and environmental issues related to the community in which it operates.

Lamil’s mining and processing activities are a good example of how Lamil tries to strike the right balance between economic profitability and environmental preservation. The management of environmental-related activities include monitoring of emissions, effluent treatment, rehabilitation of waste dumps, recovery of riparian forests and control of the generation of waste, in addition to finding a proper destination for the waste sorted.

Lamil Administrative Headquarters © Lamil
Lamil Administrative Headquarters © Lamil

Waste sorting is extremely important as it significantly reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, in addition to reducing pollution in the soil, water and air. With a mindset focused on responsibility, Lamil kicked off its waste sorting program about 10 years ago. Since its inception it has brought several benefits to the company.

The implementation of the program was accompanied by several challenges. In the early days of the initiative, Lamil had no prior knowledge of the concept and culture of waste sorting and there were no proper places of disposal.

Lamil put itself on a learning curve. The company started with the implementation of procedures that provided guidelines to employees and raised employees’ awareness about the importance of disposing of waste properly and reuse of some of the material sorted.

Gradually the concept of environmental-friendly actions took shape, together with the cultural change among employees. A new corporate culture, strengthened by concrete actions, emerged and has taken the company to a higher level.

The construction of waste sorting and impregnated waste sheds allow for the temporary disposal of materials in an organized way. Materials that can be reused are collected by partner companies who are brought into the recycling process. Impregnated materials, namely oil and grease, are disposed of in adequate boxes under a contract with a company specialised in environmental management. These materials are then sent to a proper destination. Scrap is exchanged for credits with the company’s supplier of grinder parts.

The efficacy of the program is regularly assessed and employees who completed a recycling training make the needed adjustments.
Lamil is currently harvesting the fruit of an efficiently-implemented program. Company areas are always clean and organized, and the culture of environmental responsibility is part of employees’ routine.

Successful implementation of sustainability measures requires full company engagement

The successful implementation of a waste sorting program requires the engagement of all company employees from senior to operational level. Partnerships with suppliers and companies specialised in environmental management are another key contributing factor to the success of the program.

Lamil’s recommendations to other companies on their journey to continuous improvement

Having the right mindset is key to success according to Mr. Kensley Alves – Technical/Commercial Director at Lamil. Substantial improvements can be made by taking small steps, by showing appreciation for people and creating a humane and favorable work environment.

Good planning is also paramount. As Mr. Alves continues “As a company you need to set a clear objective, formulate specific goals, do a lot of planning and then simply follow the initial course set out. It’s important not to feel discouraged when you face difficulties, which you will certainly encounter. Never give up. You must believe you can continuously improve yourself and reach the objective you put forward.”

Independent TfS Audits initiate further supply chain improvements

In terms of sustainability improvement, Lamil is going from strength to strength. Currently being ISO 9001 certified, Lamil’s objective is to obtain the ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 certifications. This in turn will strengthen the company’s Quality Management System. In this context Lamil highlights the importance of taking part in independent audits, such as the Together for Sustainability – TfS Audit. The TfS Audit covers the sections Management, Environment, Health and Safety; Labour and Human Rights as well as Governance, with the Environment section having a series of questions on waste handling and disposal. These audits created great opportunities for improvements that have been implemented in Lamil’s management processes, and now provide the basis to get the Integrated Management System certification.

Note: We thank Mr. Kensley Alves – Technical/Commercial Director of the Lamil organization for his contribution to this article.

Company profile
Lamil Especialidades Minerais Ltda, in short Lamil, is a Brazilian company active in mining, quarrying and extraction of raw materials. Of medium size, the company reaches an annual turnover of about 9 Mio €. Active in sustainability for almost 10 years, Lamil is best described as an “Advanced sustainability player”. 

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