As global coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions continue to put a halt on in-person audits, Bureau Veritas has launched a new ‘virtual site visit’ programme that has recently helped leading packaging supplier DS Smith.

As an international business that supplies essential industries including the medical and food sectors, the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has seen London-headquartered DS Smith experience soaring demand in recent weeks for its packaging products such as cardboard boxes for delivery.

Pressing ahead as ‘business as usual’ while complying strictly with guidelines on ‘social distancing’, the packaging giant, which prides itself on its environmental credentials, was keen to meet its sustainability targets by verifying its annually reported information.

Hence, when it came to the assurance of this environmental data during these unprecedented times, DS Smith turned to its long-standing partner Bureau Veritas to come up with a safe and practical solution.

Using its extensive experience of the firm’s processes and sites spanning the UK, US and much of Europe, Bureau Veritas stepped up to the challenge by developing a new ‘virtual site visit’ programme. The programme, now available to all new and existing customers, aims to replicate site audits as closely as possible by using tools such as video conferencing, screen sharing and online reporting systems.

In the case of DS Smith, the verification process involved conducting nine virtual site visits across its sites in the UK, US, Hungary, Romania, Germany and Poland while reviewing data the packaging firm uploaded to the CERTUS online reporting system.

As a result, Bureau Veritas has successfully verified DS Smith’s 2019 environmental data, positively contributing to the company’s corporate and site level operations.  As an additional benefit, the avoided travel resulted in an emissions saving of over 3 tonnes of CO2.

David Fairchild, Associate Director for Sustainability at Bureau Veritas, states: said: “Amid the current global pandemic and associated travel restrictions, we recognised the need for an alternative approach to help DS Smith verify its environmental data. We’re delighted that our new ‘virtual site visit’ programme has successfully achieved this and contributed positively to the company’s overall operations. We’d invite all our new and existing customers, who may be struggling to complete their sustainability verification programmes, to get in touch with our expert team and make use of this new service.”

Sam Jones, Sustainability Lead at DS Smith, said: “With sustainability of utmost importance to us, we were keen to verify and meet our environmental commitments while acting responsibly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic social distancing measures. Having worked closely with Bureau Veritas over a number of years, we were impressed with their ‘virtual site visit’ solution, which meant we didn’t have to put our sustainability verification program on hold during these uncertain times. We’d like to thank Bureau Veritas for their expertise and great service in helping to achieve this.”

Bureau Veritas offers a comprehensive range of global or sector-specific standards certifications, customised audits and training services in the Quality, Health & Safety, Environment, Supply Chain and Corporate Responsibility fields to small, medium and large companies in 80 countries.

For further information, please call 0345 600 1828 or visit https://www.bureauveritas.co.uk/newsroom/remote-audits-help-maintain-certification-during-covid-19-pandemic.