Welsh businesses need to be eco-friendly to be competitive

Welsh companies have to respond to environmental pressures if they are to remain competitive, said the National Assembly of Wales’ Economic Development Minister, Michael German, at the re-launch of the Government’s environmental advice programme.

The National Assembly is aiming to develop an all-Wales support programme for companies of all sizes who wish to improve their environmental performance, with an interim target of 500 Welsh companies developing environment management systems by 2003, said the Minister. The ultimate aim is for Welsh companies to be world leaders in environmental best practice.

“We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past where unfettered industrial development scarred parts of Wales for decades,” said German. “We need to move away from the sterile debate of economic development versus sustainably. We must bring economic, environmental and social goals together in a coherent policy.”

The Minister presented an Envirowise case study certificate to Continental Teves, a leading supplier of braking systems in the UK and European automotive industry.

“Continental Teves identified at an early stage the need to reduce costs through demonstrating a commitment to sound environmental practices,” said German. “The company has re-evaluated every area of its business, identifying and minimising waste as part of a clearly defined environmental policy. They have achieved ISO 14001 in order to retain their preferred supplier status, won the overall Wales Environment Award this year and are the subject of an Envirowise case study. Most importantly, they are saving £124,000 per year and have reduced overall production time by 42%.”

Previously named the Environmental Technology Best Practice Programme (ETBPP), the project’s re-launch has involved the snappier and easier to remember title ‘Envirowise’, as well as two new products, an Envirowise spokesperson explained to edie. A new website based on an easily searchable database, and a fast-track visits programme are designed to assist companies wishing to become more environmentally sustainable. Fast-track visits involve an advisor spending a day on site studying how a company can best decrease their environmental impacts, with a written report provided on the spot.

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