A few days ago, the central rum factory, Agustín Rodriguez Mena, received an award from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA) for caring for the environment in the province of Villa Clara. On this particular issue, the editorial staff of Cuba Ron approached Carlos Rubén Armas, director of the factory.
1. How the central rum factory contributes to the protection of the Environment?
The central rum factory has maintained a responsible and consecrated attitude in the environmental field during last 17 years. To do so, environmental management has been incorporated into production and service processes, as part of the Direction and Management System, with an environmental management system, according to ISO 14001:2004, certified by the National Office on Standardization since 2010, and currently transiting to ISO 14001:2015.
Risks and opportunities in the processes, from an environmental perspective, are identified and the environmental diagnosis is updated annually. Likewise, environmental aspects are identified and evaluated, necessary operational controls are established and the application of principles of cleaner production in the processes is taken into account.
About the current regulatory compliance, it is kept up to date and available to every worker. At the same time, training actions aimed at providing knowledge about it are often developed.
Environmental objectives and goals are planned and established, ensuring that they are measurable and consistent with the Environmental Policy, and their compliance is evaluated on a quarterly basis.
To raise awareness, a code of environmental conduct and an environmental education program have been established. Communication actions are also carried out aimed at raising the environmental culture by using the communication channels such as e-mails, information boards -in which environmental events are announced and there is information about environmental topics-, contests and events, and the celebration of the World Environment Day, which includes actions aimed at discussing environmental topics.
Our organization also contributes to the progress and wellness of the members of the community where it operates, through cooperation, assistance and direct interaction with them, caring for contributing to the protection of the environment in the area. We maintain a direct link with the students of the primary school of the community, who participate in political-cultural activities, like contests and other similar actions carried out in the factory. It was also created a club, "Little friends or the Earth", for learning about environmental issues.
2. How is the sustainable use of water managed in the factory?
Water consumption is annually planned, according to indices of water consumption in every process. According to those indices, the entity's plan is drawn up and contracted with the Municipal Hydraulic Resources Department.
A strict control of the consumption is maintained, performing daily analyses. Based on the measurements, the behavior of consumption and the indices of water consumption are studied. If any deviation is detected, the necessary corrective actions are taken. These analyses are part of the monthly information system of the processes and are discussed in the framework of the Energy Council and the Directive Board.
3. What is the main environmental risk in the central rum factory?
The main environmental risk is the spill of rums and spirits.
a) How does the central rum factory prevent those risks?
Operating good practices are maintained in the processes. Structural, technological, sanitary vulnerability and risks due to extreme natural events studies are available.
The Disaster Reduction Plan is also updated attending to the results of these studies. At least once a year exercises or periodic tests are carried out during the "Meteoro" exercise, which contributes to a better preparation of the staff, in order to respond to any emergency situation.
There are also other action plans such as:
1. Action Plan to minimize environmental impacts.
2. Cleaner Production Plan.
3. Program for saving and efficient use of energy.
4. Program for saving and efficient use of water.
5. Chemical and Hazardous Waste Management Plan.
4. What is the main cause of having received this distinction from CITMA?
The positive results of its environmental performance over the years and the positive image among the members of the community, as well as the local government authorities. These results have made the factory deserving of several recognitions, among them:
• Cleaner production International Award, granted by UNIDO.
• Outstanding entity in its environmental performance, granted by CITMA (in Villa Clara), 2007.
• Outstanding entity in its environmental performance, granted by CITMA (in Villa Clara), 2008.
• Mention as innovative and environmentally responsible entity, awarded by CITMA (in Villa Clara) in the framework of the VI Trade Fair and III Meeting of Knowledge Technology and Management (TECNOGESC), 2009.
• Recognition for environmental performance in contribution to the sustainable development of Cuban society, granted by CITMA (in Villa Clara), 2009.
• Environmental Award, granted by CITMA (in Villa Clara), 2013.