UK businesses beginning to recognise benefits of environmental responsibility

The UK business community is increasingly aware of the benefits of improving environmental management practises, according to a survey conducted by the organisers of the first UK Environment Week (June 5 - 11).

The survey found that 48% of UK business leaders recognise the value of generating cost savings through environmental improvements, while 65% of those surveyed said they already invest in technology to encourage bottom line savings. One of the key events of UK Environment Week – ET2000 – highlights UK excellence in providing these environmental solutions to businesses.

The majority, 81%, of those surveyed – a range of small, medium and large organisations – felt that more regulation was needed to improve the situation further, despite the UK Government’s preference for deregulation. Just over half, 56%, believe that prosecution should be used to drive awareness of the need for environmental responsibility to the top of the business agenda.

However, a third of the UK’s business community does not recognise environmental management as a driver of its business. The survey reveals that, no matter how large or small the organisation, the average spend – current and expected – on meeting environmental standards is less than £50,000 annually.

Among the most daunting environmental challenges facing the business community, according to those surveyed, is the need to meet EU regulations and to convince the developing world not to emulate the environmentally-destructive practices of the industrialised world.

ET2000 will be held at the NEC Birmingham from 6 to 8 June. ET has grown to the extent that it will this year be split into three sections: ET2000 Technology, ET2000 Water and ET2000 Waste. The show will move into the larger Hall 3 and will include a new outdoor area for heavy vehicles and machinery within the ET2000 Waste area. The show will also feature a comprehensive seminar programme and high-profile ‘Talkback’ debate.

In addition, the DETR’s ‘Are You Doing Your Bit’ campaign will target consumers throughout the week. UK Environment Week is organised by the Joint Environmental Markets Unit (JEMU) at the Department of Trade & Industry in association with ET2000.

Other events include a high profile forum involving Michael Meacher MP, Minister of State for the Environment debating on the topic of: Economy Ltd, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Environment plc, is in danger of causing a run on the mother company. Who holds the reins? The question will be debated after the presentation of the results of the UK Environment Week survey.

“The survey revealed many interesting facts that will come as a surprise to both government and business themselves,” said Amanda Barnes, Director of the ET Partnership and one of the organisers of UK Environment Week. “For example, while 45% of companies recognise that stakeholder pressure is a key influence on their investment to reach high environmental standards, only 22% act with their ‘social conscience’. Does this indicate that companies are still more interested in creating the image of environmental engagement without actually meaning it or doing anything about it?”

For further information on ET2000, please contact: Helen Beckett at Reed Exhibitions, or phone: 020 8910 7959

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