This figure is published today by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The research says that these savings coupled with using energy and water more efficiently, could save businesses around £23 billion annually.

Improving resource efficiency, it says, is the key part of the transition to a green economy and these savings could be made with little or no investment.

The main barriers to achieving these savings according to the report are behavioural, financial and a lack of information.

Environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, said: “Moving to a green economy offers businesses opportunities to grow into the future. Becoming more resource efficient contributes to a business’s bottom line, increases profitability and their capacity to grow.

“In addition to improving competitiveness, businesses could reduce carbon emissions by 29 million tonnes a year; so it’s a win-win for business and the environment.”

The downturn in the economy may be partly responsible for businesses becoming more interested in resource efficiency as a way to keep costs down.

A survey for Envirowise found that almost three quarters (73%) of businesses say they have developed a more detailed knowledge of their spending and resource use as a result of the recession.

Alison Brown

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