Stephanie Van de Pette is the Environmental Manager for Skanska’s highways and street lighting contracts in the South East. While delivering CITB and CIWM approved training courses and coordination training programmes across all Skanska highways, she has also ensured environmental issues are always on the agenda by engaging with internal and external stakeholders through monthly environmental management forums. Stephanie is responsible for the design and implementation of the Asphalt reuse scheme which is being rolled out across the country.
Setting the Scene
Skanska has long had a vision to be the world’s leading green project developer and contractor which is what attracted Stephanie to the role of Environmental Manager. On joining Skanska, Stephanie was responsible for driving cultural change in a recently acquired part of the business, challenging the view that ‘green’ meant higher cost and demonstrating that using sustainable construction methods can bring greater value.
Achieving Rapid Environmental Impact
Stephanie ensured environmental issues were always on the agenda in key meetings by developing links with main points of contact, this quickly raised awareness of the impact that improvement could make at all levels within Skanska and within the client organisation. She formed a monthly Environmental Management Forum (EMF) with a view of initiating projects, resolving legacy compliance issues which had previously been categorised as too difficult to solve. Currently the EMF has successfully implemented:
- A review of the client’s verge maintenance policy to not only be more biodiversity friendly but also resulting in cost savings
- A review of the client’s fuel storage arrangements resulting in much reduced risk
- Implementation of a design environmental assessment procedure
Creating a Lasting Legacy
Since joining the Oxfordshire Highways contract Stephanie has successfully solved a number of legacy issues including:
- Implementing new environmental assessment processes at design stage
- New rigorous waste management processes out on site and in the depots
- Rolling out the first phase of environmental awareness training
All of these projects, as well as some smaller initiatives have raised awareness and appreciation of environmental and sustainability issues on the contract at the highest level. So much so that the partnership agreed to include Skanska’s ‘Journey to Deep Green’ as one of its strategic performance measures for 2016 onwards, meaning that all of the contract needs to demonstrate how the firm is trying to improve performance against Skanska’s four key sustainability indicators: carbon, energy, materials and water. The contract has also acknowledged the need for extra resources and the environmental team now has two full time employees working exclusively on this contract.
Due to Stephanie’s success at managing the Oxfordshire Highways contract she was promoted in August 2015 to Environment Manager for Highways and Street Lighting in the South East, taking on an additional 4 contracts.
Advice for Creating Positive Impact
“Take every opportunity to talk about green. You’ve got to be proud, you’ve got to be loud – be visible, be heard – and the most important thing is to be sure that people are aware that green business is not done somewhere else in the company; it’s done at everyone’s desk.”
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