Spreading the word

Set up initially for local companies in Renfrewshire, the Renfrewshire Economic Environmental Forum (REEF) is a virtual environmental club which now attracts members from Glasgow, other areas of Scotland, and as far away as Liverpool.

REEF members benefit from a range of services designed to help reduce their environmental impact and increase their profits

REEF members benefit from a range of services designed to help reduce their environmental impact and increase their profits

REEF's aim is simple: to help its members to reduce their impact on the environment and increase their profits. It aims to achieve this by sharing best environmental practice with its members, as well as keeping them informed of the latest legislation, information and technologies which will affect their business. A series of online discussion forums facilitates the exchange of ideas and best practice between members.

Interactive discussion
The site operates through a series of topic headings and under each topic is a fully interactive discussion room. In the energy room for example, there are links to freely available help on energy efficiency, the opportunity to share energy-saving hints and tips and discussions on the technology of energy saving. There is also information on the Climate Change Levy aimed at energy use reduction.

In the social and community room, the debate is widened from environmental issues to consideration of sustainability - building in social and community concerns. Here, there is information and links to resources on the business aspects of sustainability, and the ability to share and discuss what members and others are doing to get to grips with this difficult issue.

Another project room deals with the statutory regulatory framework in the UK, including reference to international treaties and protocols, new and existing EU directives.

A separate area is also provided for discussion of the technologies and techniques of water and effluent treatment.

Members are able to contribute to discussion groups that meet their business needs by posting questions. Members provide solutions, increase awareness of their industry legislative requirements and develop robust environmental management systems that drive down costs.

Member benefits
Members of REEF can benefit through:

  • Engagement in problem solving/information exchange with environmental exemplars 24 hours a day. REEF offers an opportunity to learn from environmental practitioners through local networking, virtual discussion and case studies review. Membership of REEF provides instant access to a number of specialist sources of information, improving the ability to make informed judgements relating to any number of environmental issues.
  • UK Legislation and EU directives are exposing many companies to potential risk through failure to employ sufficient corporate responsibility and control. Accessing and monitoring legislation as it progresses through the various stages of European directive can reduce business risk and in many cases actually create new business opportunities.
  • Networking opportunities that produce real 'added value' discussion are available through the various forums that exist on the REEF site. Members can improve their capacity to network, in an unbounded 'virtual' club.
  • Renfrewshire-based members can grow and develop broader business horizons by accessing the support being offered through REEF's principal sponsor, Scottish Enterprise.
  • Instant availability to forthcoming REEF events, seminars and workshops which have been planned and prepared to address the needs of the membership. This features an online booking system.
  • Members can also configure links between parts of the site that offer most value, enabling them to keep up to date with news and views relevant to their own business needs, access information to maximise their business performance and reduce its impact on the environment.

The REEF site can be accessed and controlled through secure password protection. However, the virtual nature of the club allows access to members at any time and virtually anywhere, enabling business to maximise the benefits of good environmental practice.

Ian McArthur of Scottish Enterprise Renfrewshire, said: "UK legislation and EU directives are exposing many companies to potential risk through failure to employ sufficient corporate responsibility and control. Accessing and monitoring legislation as
it progresses through the various stages can reduce business risk and in many cases actually create new business opportunities."


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