A study into the slow rate of energy conservation in the base metal refinery of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats)

Badenhorst, Leon (2012-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.


The consumption of energy results in environmental costs, which include resource shortages, air pollution and radioactive wastes. Due to the economic cost associated, more and more Western industrial organisations are investing in innovative technologies to reduce energy consumption through improved thermal insulation of buildings, modifying equipment and by using energy-saving devices. The organisations are, however, not assured of any savings unless employees handle apparatus and equipment in a manner that conserves energy. Therefore, the important question to answer is how organisational behaviour can be changed to improve and enhance energy conservation efforts. Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has identified that it needs to change its operations to conserve energy, thus ultimately conserving the planet. The company has identified an internal goal of reducing its energy consumption by fifteen percent, without sacrificing output, over a period of ten years from 2004. Current (2011) energy consumption at the Rustenburg Base Metals Refinery (RBMR) facility indicates that the mentioned goal does not seem achievable in 2014 as anticipated. The proposition to this phenomenon is that the prevailing culture at RBMR is not conducive to a conservation culture as required to conserve energy. Organisational culture is the pattern of values, norms, beliefs, attitudes and assumptions that shape the ways in which people behave and things get done. This hypothesis was tested with a culture survey in the form of an environmental questionnaire. The findings from the questionnaire confirm cultural barriers to achieving centralised targets and goals. Responses to the questionnaire indicated that the organisation does not measure energy conservation efforts accurately and that the information on how to attain the required conservation is not sufficient. The respondents further indicated that they have very limited input into energy conservation efforts and that trust issues present themselves as barriers to achieving set goals and targets. The prevailing perception by the respondents is that inadequate recognition systems are in place to drive the required savings. A surprising finding of the research is that the level of education of the respondents showed no significance with regard to energy conservation and the environment in general. A second interesting finding was that most respondents felt that they could do something to conserve energy and thereby conserve the environment. The challenge facing Amplats is to transform this awareness into a vehicle that will produce significant and sustainable results. Clear and decisive action will be required to bring about cultural change.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/21385
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