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The initiative aims to highlight hundreds of organisations driving greener business approaches and to recognise the SMEs, entrepreneurs and other businesses helping to improve the environment and reduce carbon emissions.

A wide range of organisations including Waterwise, Keep Britain Tidy, the Carbon Trust, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will be joining the Environment Agency to carry out the initiative.

The three weeks of discussions will culminate in the publication of the Environment Agency’s latest Greener Business Report this autumn. The report will look at the environmental performance of regulated business across England and Wales.

Chairman of the Environment Agency, Lord Chris Smith, said: “Whilst current economic circumstances prioritise a focus on profitability, it is essential that businesses strive for growth that is truly sustainable. ‘Green’ and ‘growth’ are both essential elements of economic and social recovery. We cannot opt for either in isolation”.

The UK’s green economy grew by £5.4bn in 2011, with many reports identifying a change in attitudes amongst businesses towards sustainable growth.

Lord Smith added: “The shift in business attitudes towards green growth is remarkable and very welcome. We want to recognise the organisations, from individual entrepreneurs to global industries, striving for leaner, more efficient and less wasteful economic development.

“By seizing opportunities to reduce their burden on the natural environment and develop the products and services needed to adjust to climate change and environmental challenges, these organisations are setting an outstanding example”.

Each week discussions will focus on a different theme. This first discussion will focus on waste management. The next will shift to water management, while the third discussion will look at driving improvements in energy efficiency.

The agency has called on all businesses contributing to green growth to get involved by sharing their experiences of best practice.

Leigh Stringer

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