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Businesses warned of Greenwash-out

25 September 2008

Sustainable business experts Envirowise are warning companies not to get swept away by ‘greenwash’, urging directors to consider the basics of reducing environmental impact, as well as building a pro-environmental image.

Envirowise says that many companies are attracted by the visible end of green business – for example switching car fleets to hybrid or low-carbon vehicles[1] or offsetting carbon emissions[2] – and don’t realise that simple low and no-cost measures could have an equally effective impact on environmental performance and profitability and should not be ignored.

Envirowise marketing director, Mary Leonard, comments: “While making green statements is commendable, too many companies are ignoring the basics and forming their environmental policies on ‘greenspin’ – initiatives that will make them look good publicly but, in isolation, won’t help the company achieve the greatest possible impact on their day-to-day green performance.”

The warning from Envirowise comes at a time when many companies will be planning for 2009 and should be considering ways of boosting their environmental performance, as well as keeping operational costs down in the face of global economic uncertainty and a weakening currency.

Mary adds: “The increasing costs of utilities and materials have a dramatic effect on the UK’s corporate and industrial landscape. While it is extremely important for businesses to take steps and show how committed they are to improving environmental performance, this need not be linked to making grand gestures.

“By simply reviewing how the use of resources can be reduced, and where waste can be reused and recycled, both financial and environmental benefits can be achieved.”

Envirowise has a number of free initiatives, toolkits and guides to help businesses improve environmental performance and resource efficiency.

[1] Source: Autoexpress, May 2008 - Almost a quarter of new cars now claim a CO2 rating of less than 140g/ km. Those with a figure below 120g/ km accounted for one in 20 2007 sales – it is thought that there would have been more, given a better supply.

2 Source: Independent on Sunday, 27 July 2008 - In the first six months of 2008 the global carbon market was worth €38bn (£30bn), almost as much as the €40bn recorded for the whole of 2007.

Envirowise is a Government-funded programme dedicated to putting the sustainable use of resources at the heart of UK business practice. Since 1994 Envirowise has helped UK businesses save over £1bn by enabling them to significantly reduce their environmental footprints. Envirowise offers businesses of all sizes and sectors a wide range of free, independent and practical advice designed to genuinely improve their processes, profitability and competitiveness. Services include: The Envirowise Advice Line on 0800 585794 An encyclopaedic website ( of valuable and relevant information Over 200 events each year, from Product Design Workshops to major exhibitions

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