Firms opt for going green in Derbyshire

A SIGNIFICANT number of Derbyshire firms are adopting green business practices to reduce their costs, expand and create new opportunities – but could be even more effective with some expert advice, according to the results of a new survey.

The research, carried out by Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Nottingham Trent University’s Future Factory, looked to establish how firms are managing their environmental impacts, reducing costs and seizing new business opportunities.

Future Factory is a Nottingham Trent University initiative, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, which enables SMEs from across the East Midlands to improve their sustainability by changing processes or by enhancing their sustainable design. It will use the research to shape its future activities.

When asked if they had an environmental management system in place, more than 45% of Derbyshire businesses said they had. Around 60% of firms use recycled or sustainable materials as a means to reduce costs, while 48% source green products. A further 31% market their green credentials to their customers.

However, only 24% of firms said they collect data on their environmental performance and the same proportion monitor their performance against targets.

Commenting on the results of the survey, George Cowcher, Chief Executive of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Whilst the results of this research show that many businesses recognise the importance of good environmental practice, a large number of them do not monitor their performance in this area or collect any data to see how effective and efficient their processes are.

“Green business practices will play a massive part in the economic future of the country – not only through helping the UK to meet its environmental targets, but also in terms of innovation and the creation and development of new technology.

“More and more local firms are adopting green business models to both save money and become more socially responsible. This will create opportunities to drive the economic growth of tomorrow by stimulating the local economy and supporting local supply chains.

“The Chamber is keen to help its member businesses identify the opportunities that this presents and will use the findings of this survey to help firms understand and manage the risks and implement their own environmental solutions.”

Future Factory Project Manager Debra Easter added: “Businesses are keen to develop new products and services whilst improving their cost efficiencies. Exploiting the growing opportunities and demands for environmentally friendly products and adopting sustainable practices can give businesses an advantage in today’s highly competitive markets and opens up new opportunities to bid for contracts with larger organisations.

“Future Factory works directly with SMEs, providing them with valuable research, consultancy, training, workshops, and other forms of help that they request to assist them in improving their environmental sustainability.

“Its work strengthens businesses’ commercial acumen to the benefit of a more sustainable society and covers all sectors from sustainable sofas to DIY pies, and from sole traders to businesses with up to 250 employees.”

For more information about how Future Factory can help businesses to become more sustainable, visit www.ntu.ac.uk/future_factory, email futurefactory@ntu.ac.uk or call 0115 8488675.