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Government calls on businesses to save money and planet

Elaine Brass
4th November 2009
A campaign to encourage UK businesses to save over £6.4 billion every year by taking simple environmental steps and by building resource efficiency into their everyday working lives was launched today by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
‘Saving Money – It's Your Business’ is backed up by research by the WRAP (Waste Resources Action Plan) showing that 47 per cent of businesses recognise that they could make savings of over £100,000 through low and no cost efficiency measures – such as turning off equipment when it’s not being used. The research also identified another 17 per cent that could make £1 million in potential savings.

As part of the campaign, businesses will be able to get a new booklet ‘Can You Afford Not To?’, which will include Defra’s top tips on resource efficiency for businesses. These include turning off all office equipment when you're not using it; turning off lights in empty rooms and using energy efficient light bulbs; fixing constantly dripping taps; selling company waste to be used as raw materials; and turning down the thermostat by one degree to save eight per cent on the company heating bill.

These eco measures are particularly important, says Defra, as they could potentially contribute as much as 10 per cent to the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2020 with apparently little or no outlay from businesses.

Launching the campaign at the WRAP annual conference today, Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, said: “Businesses are facing challenging times, today more so than ever, so finding ways to save money makes a lot of sense [...] Sustainability is the key not only to the environment but to business success. Now is the time to shape our businesses of the future.”

Supporting the campaign is Channel 4’s Dumped presenter and eco-design expert Rob Holdway. He said: "Whether it’s turning off lights, turning down thermostats, cutting down on rubbish, or addressing dripping taps – businesses are ‘leaking’ money through bad use of their energy, water supplies or waste products.

"Simple steps such as turning off office equipment when it’s not in use, can help businesses become financial fit and environmentally friendly. This also has a positive knock-on effect on corporate reputation among consumers. Resource efficiency really isn’t rocket science.”

New WRAP research revealed today showed how resource efficiency could be the ‘secret weapon’ in meeting climate change targets. The research, which looked at potential ways of increasing resource efficiency in the production and consumption of goods and services, found that resource efficiency could have an immediate impact in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions – saving up to 254 million tonnes over the next 10 years.

Government calls on businesses to save money and planet
Rob Holdway, presenter of Channel 4's Dumped is supporting the ‘Saving Money – It's Your Business’ campaign
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