The green agenda is one of the most important issues for businesses worldwide. The sustainability of businesses is threatened by the limited resources of the planet and its rapidly changing climatic conditions – both of which bring economic uncertainly.
Progressive businesses have realised that in order to remain viable they need to source sustainable raw materials and improve resource efficiency in the production of their goods and services. Only thus can they continue to meet the demand of future markets which will demand such actions.
In Ireland, services have been put in place to ensure such actions. The National Waste Prevention Programme, which was established in 2004, has provided business with many supports including the Green Business Programme (2008- 2018).
The programme (managed by The Clean Technology Centre since 2012) provided Resource Efficiency Assessments to over 400 SMEs and identified circa €14 million in cost savings through improved energy efficiency, reduced water consumption and waste prevention. That was an average saving of €35,000/ annum for each business visited.
Companies involved in the Green Business Programme not only reduced their costs, but also reduced their environmental footprint and improved the sustainability of the business. John Durkan, Sustainability Manger with at ABP Food Group, who is an advocate of sustainable business said ‘ABP believe it is our duty to do everything we can to ensure that our growth is not at the expense of our natural environment. After all, it is our natural environment that sustains our business, so we are developing our business to sustain our environment.’
Many resources were developed by CTC to support businesses green their operations in Ireland as part of the Green Business Programme. These came under three main categories:
On site assessments
- Green Business provided free onsite Resource Efficiency Assessments (REAs) carried out by CTC experts, to help reduce water, waste and energy bills.
- Factsheets, guidebooks, case studies, how-to manuals
Seminars / Conferences
- Green Business regularly held regional seminars and conferences to introduce the concept of waste prevention and discuss resource efficiency issues with businesses.
The Green Business Programme had many outputs.