Businesses waking up to money-saving opportunities

Waste prevention, using less raw materials and energy recovery are three eco-activities that businesses believe will save them money in the face of economic recession.

More than 85% of the companies questioned by sustainable business advisors Envirowise said the three changes would be the best environmental measures to make their businesses more profitable.

The findings follow a warning from the British Chamber of Commerce that firms are facing “a difficult and risky climate” in the next six to nine months.

Government-funded Envirowise said its findings show businesses are increasingly waking up to the economic benefits of going green.

“With fuel, energy and raw material costs continuing to rise and changes in the economy persisting in creating challenging marketplaces, there has never been a better time to lead the way in using resources wisely, eliminating waste and ultimately raising environmental standards,” said programme manager Elaine Sharp.

Research by various organisations has revealed a changing attitude towards environmental practices during the decade.

MORI research in 2005 found 60% of businesses had an environmental policy compared to just 11% in 2003.

“The change in management thinking away from the early 90s focus on sales and labour has obviously had an impact,” Ms Sharp added.

“UK businesses are increasingly recognising that resource efficiency is not an expense but a money-saving measure to be embraced.”

Envirowise said growing legislation putting responsibility on company directors’ shoulders is also driving more businesses to adopt greener practices.

In the past 10 years, the courts handed out £3m in fines as well as almost eight years behind bars and more than 170 days of community service to company directors whose businesses failed to comply with legislation.

Kate Martin

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