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Construction businesses must fight red tape to enjoy environmental benefits

Construction businesses should fight the red tape holding them back from implementing proper environmental plans – if they are to enjoy the benefits of "going green".

That’s the opinion of environmental expert Simon de Grey from leading training and environmental company Pivotal Performance.

He was responding to a new green survey which revealed 4 in 5 businesses say environmental issues are a high priority, but don’t have time to work on them.

58 per cent don’t have a green policy, and half of businesses surveyed put concerns over updating staff training and skills ahead of green concerns.

"Businesses are missing out on all the benefits of having and executing a proper environmental plan," said Simon.

"A well planned and executed environmental management system can bring reduced costs and increased levels of business. There are virtually no downsides to setting one up, other than the need to commit to your business going green and spend some time taking action."

The research was carried out by the University of Middlesex for the Forum of Private Business (FPB) and the UK200Group.

Simon has identified five reasons for businesses to set up an environmental management system (EMS) and go green:

1. Better understanding of business processes: To truly make your business green you need to know exactly what it does and how it does it. This means reviewing all business functions and processes. "Clients often find they are doing things they didn’t know about and which are not necessary," said Simon.

2. Reduced costs: An EMS typically finds smart ways to reduce energy consumption and wastage, which ultimately means lower bills.

3. Easier to attract and retain staff: Employees who are passionate about recycling and being green at home are more likely to be attracted to a business that fits with their way of thinking.

4. Competitive advantage: Because so few businesses commit to being green and actually do it, there is a huge marketing advantage to being able to demonstrate genuine green credentials. Simon added: "When all other factors are equal, being green can give your business a distinct competitive edge."

5. Less expensive than being forced to do it: Legislation will change and so will business practices in the decades to come. Changing business practices before the laws demands it is smart and cost effective.

Simon de Grey is a highly qualified environmental consultant, and a professional member of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment.

Pivotal Performance is one of the UK’s leading health and safety training and environmental companies.

It has a unique way of training people called PPTplus, which teaches delegates how to win commitment from others, not just compliance.

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