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Free environmental advice on offer for businesses, 50% off green certification for those first to sign up

26 February 2019

The many social and financial advantages to small businesses of identifying and managing their environmental effects are to be highlighted at a special information event.

The benefits of having an environmental management system (EMS) in place, and certification which recognises businesses’ green credentials, will be showcased at the Mintworks in Kendal on March 15, with a cash incentive to sign-up.

The decisions of customers and employees are increasingly informed by environmental concerns so getting a certified EMS is a smart business move. It can also be a requirement for grant applications, tenders and supply contracts. Traditional EMS approaches can be cumbersome and expensive for small businesses and a new small business-specific approach will be showcased at this event.

We have teamed up with Green Small Business, Bentley-Brown Associates and Eco-innovation Cumbria to offer this free drop-in session at The Mintworks, Kendal, and there is a special reduced rate available for businesses to get a Green Small Business EMS prepared and certified on their behalf.

We are subsidising the offer which will see the first 20 businesses to register be eligible for a half-price EMS - £150+VAT instead of the usual £300+VAT.

It will be an informal drop-in session so anybody can go along for as long as they like, any time between 12 noon and 2pm, they are asked to register their interest on Eventbrite. There is no obligation to take up the EMS offer, and all businesses will receive top tips for making green efficiencies, as well as hearing from other businesses who have benefited from this approach.

Tim Maiden from Green Small Business will explain how building environmental considerations into the management of a business is increasingly critical to long-term success. A Green Small Business EMS is designed specifically for small businesses and organisations. They are cheaper and less time-consuming than EMS’s based on the ISO14001 international standard used by larger businesses.

A Green Small Business EMS is confirmation for customers and potential customers that a business is aware of its environmental impacts and that they are actively managing them. Renewing certification costs £199+VAT every year, which is a fraction of ISO14001 costs.

The benefits to a small business of having an EMS include:

  • Providing evidence of environmentally-friendly practices which can help secure contracts with government, public or private sector bodies.
  • Saving money by understanding and managing how you use energy and water, where your raw materials come from and how you dispose of waste.
  • Enhancing reputation by demonstrating commitment to the environment to clients, customers and potential customers.
  • Helping ensure your company complies with environmental laws and regulation, providing a systematic way of ensuring that you regularly review these legal and regulatory requirements and make any changes to your business practices that might be required.
  • Improving your environmental performance by reducing resource use, energy use and waste.

Karen Bentley-Brown from Bentley-Brown Associates will also be available to inform businesses about the wider benefits of environmental and social responsibility and of having a Positive Impact Strategy based on the “People Planet Profit” model. Karen said: “We look forward to sharing some simple ideas for greening your business which in turn will help you attract more customers, attract the best staff, increase productivity and give you a competitive edge.”*

Eligible businesses can sign up with Karen for a free Positive Impact Strategy Session to enable them to make green thinking a part of their company culture and engage employees and customers in their vision.

Glyn Griffiths will be representing the University of Cumbria’s Eco-innovation project. The ERDF funded Eco-innovation Cumbria has an overall aim to help businesses reduce CO2. Glyn said it looks at “reducing waste and improving efficiency so business can have a positive impact on the climate and profit”. Through the project eligible SMEs could benefit from fully funded internships by a student researcher; internships of up to 140 hours can provide additional resource to SMEs to help with a wide range of projects, from new product development, waste reduction, to improving efficiency.

Councillor Dyan Jones, portfolio holder for the environment, said: “Supporting our communities and businesses to become more energy efficient and environmentally aware is a key priority for South Lakeland Council and we are delighted to support this excellent event.

“Firms should, of course, take responsibility for their impact on the environment but what this event will clearly show is that doesn’t have to be at the expense of the bottom line and, indeed, working with the environment in mind can actually enhance a business’s viability, profitability and attraction to customers, clients and partners.”

The event is suitable for all small businesses including retail, professional services, tradespeople, food and accommodation providers and manufacturers.

*According to a recent CIM survey, 82% of millennials strive to be employed by a company publicly recognised for its ethics, while an overwhelming 92% of millennials are more likely to buy from a company committed to ethical business practices. 

Miller Clear architects in Kendal worked with Green Small Business on their EMS and have resubscribed this year.

Laura Miller from the firm said: “We re-subscribed this year in order to keep up our plan and remind us of the things we ought to be doing as a small business. It also forces us to make measurable changes and be proactive in other ways to reduce our carbon footpint and encourage our clients to through their projects. Construction is a major contributor to CO2 emissions so we feel we must make sure our business is making best efforts to reduce them.

“Tim put together an easy to manage action plan that breaks down the different aspects of our business practice into manageable and achievable targets.

“It is worth talking to Green Small Business if you are a small business wanting to show that you are operating in a sustainable way. We have received enquiries for projects based on our Green Small Business accreditation. We can concentrate on achieving small things, such as choosing the right kind of recycled paper, whilst maintaining our overall ambition of running an ethical green business. The action plan is a fantastic way for small businesses with limited resources to achieve an ambitious green business plan that has an integrity rooted in establishing key green and ethical principles.”

Lisa Smith, the owner of Ginger Bakers, is full of praise for how easy the EMS process was and the potential for it to make a real difference to her business.

An EMS has recently been completed for the business, based at Plumgarths Lakeland Food Park, after the firm approached Tim at Green Small Business.

Lisa said: “We decided to do it because it’s a good thing for the business. Hopefully it will save on costs and we want to be doing something to contribute to helping the environment – we want to make sure we are doing as much as we can.”

“It looks at energy use and things like that to see where we can make savings. The process is really simple and straightforward and a good starting point for businesses to make changes in how we do things. It’s been really convenient and the initial work really doesn’t take much time. Time is really precious and this didn’t take up much of our time.”

Lisa added: “It’s given us a prompt to look into these things like heat systems further. The report also highlights the good things businesses are already doing – there is no criticism and it is a very supportive document for the business.”

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