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DML sets Gold environmental standard

April 7, 2009
Media Statement
For Immediate Release

DML sets Gold environmental standard

Auckland’s community laboratory service, Diagnostic Medlab, has become the first medical testing laboratory in New Zealand to achieve Gold Level certification through the Landcare Research Enviro-Mark® scheme. The scheme helps businesses meet environmental standards and save money in the process.

Enviro-Mark was developed in England and now operates in several countries. The internet-based tool was adapted for New Zealand use by Landcare Research to help businesses establish procedures to meet health, safety and environmental standards.

DML began the programme in 2007, achieving Bronze Level in August 2007 and Silver Level accreditation in July 2008.

“Despite the recent uncertainty with the laboratory contract, DML decided to continue with the environmental management programme and passed the Gold Enviro-Mark® accreditation in March 2009 following external audits carried out by Landcare Research,” explains Bruce Andrew, DML's quality, environmental, health and safety manager.

Mr Andrew says the programme has already realised significant savings of five percent on electricity and ten percent on paper, easily covering the cost of the scheme.

Enviro-Mark has five levels of certification, so businesses can work through successive levels at their own pace, and stop at whichever is most appropriate for their needs. Each level asks businesses to take specific actions, based on the business' size, activities, and any potential adverse impacts on the environment by either the business itself or its suppliers. The process and the results are externally audited.

Mr Andrew says the journey through the Enviro-Mark programme was straightforward, given the company's strong commitment to its extensive quality and health and safety management systems.

“Managers and staff were very supportive of the programme which has resulted in energy efficiency gains and reduction in the amount of waste that might otherwise have gone to landfill,” he says.

He says some simple steps like double-siding printing and the use of electronic documents for meetings and minutes has significantly reduced paper use within the company. Staff have greater awareness of the need to recycle waste and DML is encouraging its suppliers to consider ways of assisting with this.

In the future DML plans to be able to cross-credit the Enviro-Mark accreditation to the internationally recognised I SO 14001 environmental management programme.

Mr Andrew hopes other medical laboratories in New Zealand will follow DML's initiative by joining the Enviro-Mark programme.

Additional background

Community laboratories play an important role in New Zealand primary health care, providing the medical analysis of fluid and tissue samples that allow GPs to diagnose specific conditions and prescribe the correct treatment with the aim of keeping people out of hospitals.

Diagnostic Medlab provides community laboratory services to the greater Auckland region. It employs 750 skilled staff including 36 highly trained pathologists. Within the workforce 42 nationalities are represented.

Over 300 staff work in the community based Collection Services area collecting specimens from the public with another 400 staff based at Diagnostic Medlab’s Ellerslie laboratory where they carry out more than 35,000 tests for around 10,000 Aucklanders every day. The laboratory is one of the biggest and most modern of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.


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