Borough boosts business with BEST practice

A London borough has joined the growing number of local authorities taking steps to ensure businesses in their ward are getting the best possible environmental advice.

Ealing Council has launched what it is calling Business Environmental Support and Training (BEST) to ensure SMEs in the borough have access to all the information they need to do their bit in the drive for sustainability.

Working with the Government-funded Envirowise and Groundwork West London the council plans to provide a series of training workshops looking at the general issues that might affect local businesses as well as pointing them in the direction of specialist support should they need it.

The officer responsible for the initiative, Alex Beckett, told edie the council had identified a gap in its services and responded to it.

"We had active town centre partnerships encouraging economic regeneration but no borough-specific environmental support mechanisms," he said.

He said it was important to keep companies, particularly small businesses, informed about how changes to legislation and regulation might affect them and explain how improving environmental performance could also lead to increased profitability.

While regional and national advice and support are already available, the council believes there is a need for something specifically tailored to local needs.

"It's a way of improving future sustainability in the borough by making environmental support more accessible to businesses in Ealing, bringing it all under one roof and making it as easy as possible," said Mr Beckett.

"The communication side of this is vital as small businesses often don't know what is available to them and how to access information - a lot of them are not really aware about that kind of thing."

The initiative aims to provide comprehensive advice on all manner of environmental issues which might impact on local businesses, from fixing leaky taps and installing energy efficient equipment and lighting to reducing packaging, developing monitoring systems and disposing of waste or hazardous chemicals correctly.

"Consumers are putting increasing pressure on businesses to become more environmentally responsible," said Cllr Will Brooks, the council's cabinet member with responsibility for the environment.

"What many businesses don't realise is that good environmental practice can produce significant savings, boost consumer confidence and help businesses comply with a whole raft of regulations, in addition to protecting their local environment.

"It's definitely in the interest of all businesses to take their environmental responsibilities seriously."

Sam Bond



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