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Scottish Businesses Go Green To Stave Off Lasting Effects Of The Recession

Scottish businesses are turning to environmentally-friendly cost cutting measures in order to protect themselves from the lasting effects of the recession, according to new research from Zero Waste Scotland.

10 Nov 10

The Scottish Government delivery agency says over one in three businesses in Scotland (37%) have already implemented a strategy to reduce their impact on the environment specifically to make financial savings.  A further 24 per cent intend to implement green policies in 2011 as a long-term result of the recession, while one in five of those that have done so this year will repeat the process again next year.

The Zero Waste Scotland research has been published to coincide with its 2010 Annual Conference, which takes place today [Wednesday 10th November]. Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, will use the conference to call on all Scottish business leaders to take steps towards a greener business model and will outline what achieving Zero Waste will mean for the Scottish economy.

Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“It is now clear that the business community understands the link between improving their environmental impact and making financial savings. There are ample low or no-cost actions that could improve a business’s bottom line and in the current economic climate such actions could make a real difference. Many Scottish businesses are taking their environmental impact seriously – but there is more work to be done.”

According to Zero Waste Scotland, the most popular measure taken by businesses with green policies was reducing waste with 54 per cent of Scottish firms ensuring raw materials and other resources are not discarded unnecessarily. Waste reduction is also the most popular focus for businesses planning to take environmentally-friendly measures in 2011.

Other popular actions include changing the behaviour of employees (43%), working more effectively with suppliers (41%), making environmentally-friendly changes to processes (27%) and reducing water use (23%).

Iain Gulland added: “Waste reduction is probably the most effective way for a business to make savings and is most popular in the service sector. Using fewer resources means greater efficiency while fewer raw materials are sent to landfill or for recycling. The more businesses can get their employees engaged in the issues, the better the chance of making significant savings.”

The Zero Waste Scotland figures also revealed that Scotland’s larger businesses are more likely to take on new green policies in an effort to beat the effects of the recession. Almost half (45%) of larger businesses – those with a turnover of over £1 million – claim to have made cost cutting measures linked to improving their environmental impact since the recession kicked in. Some 40 per cent of those larger businesses also intend to increase their green plans next year.

The Zero Waste Scotland Annual Conference 2010 takes place at the Sheraton Grand hotel in Edinburgh. Other speakers will include:

  • Cllr Alison Hay, spokesperson on Environment and Sustainable Development for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Jane Wood, Chief Executive of Scottish Business in the Community
  • Prof. Paul Jowitt, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers
  • Samantha Fuller, Analysis and Development Manager of Scottish & Southern Energy

Ian Gulland, who will also speak at the Annual Conference, commented:

“The Zero Waste Scotland Annual Conference will show Scottish business leaders just what can be achieved by taking green policies seriously. Leaders in their fields will give evidence to support the case and we will explain how the Zero Waste Scotland programme – as a free business service - can help firms through the process.”

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