Business urged to protect itself by going green

Failing to invest in environmental practices could put businesses at a greater risk of collapse, according to Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith.

Lord Smith has said that those companies that don't look at their waste and utility costs would likely suffer and adopting a green business is good business approach would be able to take advantage of financial incentives and possibly tap into new markets.

"In times of economic downturn, businesses cannot afford to put the environment last on the list," he said.

"Consumers are increasingly scrutinising the environmental credentials of their purchases, and more public sector organisations now require environmental policy disclosure when suppliers bid for tenders.

"So failing to have a policy, or having an inadequate one, could affect the ability to win tenders or sell products and services. A record of prosecution for environmental offences can also deter potential investors and raise insurance premiums.

"There are strong correlations between well-run businesses that demonstrate good financial performance and those who measure, manage and reduce their environmental impacts.

"The tough economic climate means some companies will resist environmental investment but it is the companies who continue to put the environment at the heart of their business that will best survive the hard times."

Speaking at the EA's board meeting last week, Lord Smith said the agency would increasingly follow its risk-based approach to regulation of industry, with those facilities that could demonstrate a good track record receiving lower charges while those that do not manage their environmental impacts properly could see their charges treble as a result.

He also reported that the Advertising Standards Authority would continue to take vigorous action against companies using 'greenwash' to cover poor environmental practices.

Sam Bond



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