CUC and the Environment
CUC’s commitment to the environment is reflected in our initiative to design an Environmental Management System (EMS) to meet the International Standardization Organization (ISO) 14001 requirements. CUC was first registered to the ISO 14001 standard in 2004, the first and only organisation in the Cayman Islands to achieve this third-party registration. In May 2007, May 2010 and June 2013, we achieved re-registration to the ISO 14001:2004 standard by demonstrating our commitment to the standard’s requirements and our Environmental Policy. Our Environmental Policy is a crucial component of the EMS system and communicates publicly CUC’s commitment to the prevention of pollution, adherence to legal and voluntarily adopted standards and to continual improvement in environmental performance. The EMS provides a means through which we achieve our policy commitments and our annual environmental objectives and targets and ensures that we continually enhance our environmental performance.
CUC has identified the environmental aspects associated with its activities and ensures that those which have or can have an impact on the environment are carried out to minimise such impact. CUC has developed and implemented procedures, designed and developed engineering solutions, and introduced new work practices to ensure that we live up to our environmental policy commitments.
Over the past 10 years CUC has invested in containment areas for all bulk storage areas, which contain the diesel fuel and lube oil essential for the generation of electricity. These containment areas are designed to prevent these liquids from coming in contact with soil or groundwater during normal operations or in the event of an emergency such as a spill or fire.
CUC has also introduced numerous procedures and special work practices for the disposal of various items used on a daily basis within the North Sound site or throughout the transmission and distribution system. CUC properly disposes of all waste materials including used oils, batteries and transformers. All used oil filters and cleanup rags are drained of loose oil and compacted to recover used oils prior to disposal. Wire and other scrap metals are processed for recycling, and in 2006 these activities enabled CUC to collect 458 tons of metals for recycling.
The diesel generating units used by CUC for the generation of electricity on Grand Cayman have also undergone significant changes and improvements to ensure that they provide the electricity in the most efficient and environmentally friendly manner.
Our new generating units are designed to provide an increased kilowatt-hour (kWh) output per gallon of fuel consumed than older generators. This improved efficiency reduces the impact on local air quality and reduces fuel costs borne by CUC and its customers. CUC has also installed higher exhaust stacks on its new generating units to further improve the local air quality in accordance with best industry practice. CUC is also evaluating long-term options for producing electricity from sustainable sources to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and its associated environmental impacts. CUC undertook a study in 2001 to determine the feasibility of alternative energy technologies such as wind. However, at that time such technologies were determined not to be cost-competitive. In 2008 CUC updated this study to re-evaluate the use of alternative energy options based upon new technological advancements and updated financial information.
In addition to our daily environmental practices, CUC has designated an Emergency Preparedness Committee responsible for devising action plans for emergency preparedness, response and recovery measures within the Company. All internal divisions are represented on this committee so that a holistic analysis of the needs of the Company, its employees and the environment are considered. In 2007, the team focused on improving and enhancing the Hurricane Preparedness Manual as a result of lessons learned during past hurricane seasons and after Hurricane Ivan. This committee also coordinates periodic spill, fire, hurricane and evacuation drills to ensure preparedness and effective response in the event of an emergency.
CUC recognises the value of environmental awareness, and we are proactively involved in several conservation-based community programmes. The primary school Mangrove Environmental Education Programme with Catherine Childs, an expert on mangroves and an Education Coordinator with Sea Elements, is one such initiative of which we are particularly proud. Launched in 2000 with Peripatetic Ecologist/Science teacher Martin Keeley, the Mangrove Environmental Education Programme caters to Year 5 students in the eight public primary schools incorporating three-day classroom sessions and experiments with field trips to the Island's canal areas and the Central Mangrove Wetlands designed to promote greater awareness and educate the youth of the importance of mangroves as a sanctuary for marine life as well as the positive effect they have on the environment.
This interactive training programme provides these students with the opportunity to learn about the fragile mangrove ecosystem of the Cayman Islands through practical demonstrations and activities such as learning about their significance and biodiversity, the difficulties in cleaning up oil spills, microscope use and a visit to the Central Mangrove Wetlands to apply the knowledge they gained throughout the classroom sessions. In addition to annually sponsoring the programme, CUC participated in the support and publication of a teacher’s guide titled “Marvellous Mangroves” for integrating environmental awareness in their daily lessons.
CUC also enjoys partnerships in environmental education and resource conservation with the Department of Education, the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, the Cayman Turtle Farm and the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce. In support of the Chamber’s “Focus on the Environment” initiative, CUC signed the Businesses and Organisations Environmental Pledge and was featured in the April issue of its 2007 Quarterly Review in the Member Spotlight. We continue to participate in the Chamber’s Annual Earth Day Cleanup where we recruit teams of CUC volunteers involved in roadside, seaside and underwater cleanups.
Another initiative taken on by CUC is the Energy Smart programme. This programme is designed to assist consumers in making more energy-conscious decisions that affect their electrical consumption. As part of the Energy Smart mission, CUC also offers customers a free energy audit of their premises. Upon request, a representative from our Customer Service Department visits the premises to identify and review with the customer any opportunities to reduce energy consumption. CUC invites you to navigate to the Home Page and click on the Energy Conservation box (picture with house), which provides consumers tools to better understand their energy consumption. The Energy Calculator, also on the Home Page, totals the amount of electricity used by appliances based on their usage frequency.
Important environmental links