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Go green to beat the economic blues

28 August 2008

Environmental measures could combat the economic downturn according to new research from Envirowise launched this week. It shows that waste prevention, using less raw material and energy recovery will be crucial to saving UK companies money in the face of economic recession.

More than 85 per cent of companies questioned by sustainable business experts Envirowise on environmental measures to cut costs, chose these actions as a way to make their businesses more profitable. The findings follow a warning by the British Chamber of Commerce this week on firms facing "a difficult and risky climate" in the next six to nine months with recession looming.

The research, says Envirowise, shows growing recognition that waste minimisation and resource efficiency have become business imperatives in the current economic climate if companies are going to reduce costs and keep up their green credentials.

“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 Elaine Sharp, a Programme Manager for Envirowise.

Research by various bodies over the past three years has seen a changing attitude towards environmental practices. MORI research in 2005 saw three in five businesses (60%) with an environmental policy compared to just 11 per cent in 2003.

“The change in management thinking away from the early 1990s focus on sales and labour has obviously had an impact. UK businesses are increasingly recognising that resource efficiency is not an expense but a money saving measure to be embraced and a responsibility that should be shared between employers and employees to have the biggest impact.”

Growing legislation is also increasingly driving businesses to adopt greener practices with directors being held personally liable for the environmental conduct of their companies. In the past 10 years, the courts handed out £3 million in fines as well as almost eight years behind bars and more than 170 days of community service to company directors for non compliance to legislation.

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