Drop the greenwash and make a real difference

Businesses are being told to stop focusing on flashy green gimmicks that grab the headlines and concentrate on simple changes which will probably have a greater impact on their environmental performance.

Envirowise, a government-funded advice service, is trying to get the message out to company directors that whilst building a pro-environmental image is commendable, it's worth looking at the basics before "switching car fleets to hybrid...or offsetting carbon emissions."

The organization acknowledges that many companies are attracted by the visible end of green business but says many don't realise that simple low and no-cost measures could have an equally effective impact on environmental performance and profitability and should not be ignored.

"While making green statements is commendable, too many companies are ignoring the basics and forming their environmental policies on 'greenspin' - initiatives that will make them look good publicly but, in isolation, won't help the company achieve the greatest possible impact on their day-to-day green performance," said Envirowise marketing director, Mary Leonard.

The warning from Envirowise comes at a time when many companies will be planning for 2009 and should be considering ways of boosting their environmental performance, as well as keeping operational costs down in the face of global economic uncertainty and a weakening currency.

Ms Leonard added: "The increasing costs of utilities and materials have a dramatic effect on the UK's corporate and industrial landscape. While it is extremely important for businesses to take steps and show how committed they are to improving environmental performance, this need not be linked to making grand gestures.

"By simply reviewing how the use of resources can be reduced, and where waste can be reused and recycled, both financial and environmental benefits can be achieved."

Sam Bond



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