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newsNo Tree Huggers!By Peter Wognum, Resource Efficiency East: Low Carbon BusinessIn the past, environmental issues seemed to be the domain of a particular group of people tagged by the business community as 'tree huggers'.This intelligent collection of individuals cares for the planet like no others, so that children will have a countryside untainted by pollution. Deforestation with sustainability and biodiversity are key elements of their forward thinking. Times have moved on. The most recent introduction, the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), incorporated into the Companies Act 2006, now filtering through the supply chain.The Companies Act 2006 obliges qualifying organisations to take the actions that Government deems they have not taken voluntarily, and has given the Department of Trade extensive powers of enforcement.Carbon Reduction Companies Act 2006S.172 Duty to promote the success of the company(1) A director of a company must act in the way he considers, in good faith, would be most likely to promote the success of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole, and in doing so have regard (amongst other matters) to - (a) the likely consequences of any decision in the long term, (b) the interests of the company's employees, (c) the need to foster the company's business relationships with suppliers, customers and others, (d) the impact of the company's operations on the community and the environment, (e) the desirability of the company maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct, and (f) the need to act fairly as between members of the company.S.417 Contents of directors' report: business review(5) In the case of a quoted company the business review must, to the extent necessary for an understanding of the development, performance or position of the company's business, include - (a) the main trends and factors likely to affect the future development, performance and position of the company's business; and (b) information about -(i) environmental matters (including the impact of the company's business on the environment),(ii) the company's employees, and(iii) social and community issues, including information about any policies of the company in relation to those matters and the effectiveness of those policies; and (c) subject to subsection (11), information about persons with whom the company has contractual or other arrangements which are essential to the business of the company.If your company has a turnover greater than £5.6m, a balance sheet total in excess of £2.8m and more than 50 employees, you are obliged to develop a green strategy.There are, however, far more companies unaffected by the integration of the CRC but many organisations are embracing this new way of working. It enables them to be ahead of the game and to respond to customer requirements.There are many arguments for not changing current practices. Business activity is devoted to core strategies, such as marketing and sales, and lowest cost tendering, leaving no spare capacity or man-power to investigate alternative methods.Developing new processes is costly; there may not be any flexibility in current staffing levels to focus on new developments. This of course is true of any business; all are now structured with lean processes - enough people, time and money to deal with the current work flow and development strategy. However, there are some very basic changes that can be implemented, saving on purchase cost in some cases as much as 60% and with the benefit of reducing your company's CO2 burden.A. Procurement ManagementGreen Stationery £ > 15% CO2 > 35%Eco Printers £ > 60% CO2 > 60%22 Business Footprint winter 2010 winter 2010 Business Footprint 23newsB. Energy Procurement ManagementIn Contract £ > 30% CO2 > 0%Green tariff £ > 10% CO2 > 15%C. Energy Wastage/ Consumption ReductionLighting Controls £ > 10% CO2 > 20%Low Energy/ LED bulbs £ > 60% CO2 > 80%PC Controls £ > 10% CO2 > 30%Washroom Water £ > 50% CO2 > n/a Limiters/ControlsD. Products Inks & Toners £ > 20% CO2 > 70%Catering & Cleaning £ > 10% CO2 > 80%Looking at current spending areas and developing greener alternatives not only saves money but saves carbon too. Part of the Companies Act is about promoting environmental activities to stakeholders and provides a compelling marketing message. Measuring the benefits of recent changes, identifying cost and carbon savings gives meaningful material for great promotional messages. With all business processes, measuring, auditing and ongoing improvement is essential to maintain or grow your market presence which in turn leads to greater sales opportunities and a deeper understanding of the integrity of the organisation.Even if you are not currently required to embrace the CRC, customers will require reports on carbon emissions for their onward reporting. It will soon be critical to show the impact your business is having on the environment, your carbon emissions will be scrutinized and it won't be long before the companies who legally have to report will be smaller enterprises.More information from Peter WognumTel: 01268 758423 Mob: 07710 121101 Email: Web: