Tuesday, 25 January 2011

In current financial climate, ENWORKS shows that resource efficiency can save your business

Juliet Heller speaks to Samantha Nicholson, Operations Manager of ENWORKS about its successful Online Resource Efficiency Toolkit, which helps businesses across the North West to make cost savings. In the current financial climate, it couldn't be more useful.

ENWORKS won an Ashden Award four years ago for demonstrating that good environmental practice in businesses is profitable. Since then, their business support has gone from strength to strength. The support that ENWORKS provides has helped businesses in the North West save over 669,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, and generated savings of over £120 million a year. Since the Toolkit was launched in 2004, it has supported over 8,700 businesses of all sizes, in the North West and further afield.

The Toolkit is part of ENWORKS' wider resource efficiency programme. Samantha explains:

“We immediately remove a lot of the barriers to businesses that haven’t embarked on the sustainability journey so far. This isn’t a report or manual that sits on a shelf gathering dust, it’s an easy to use electronic tool that allows busy staff to manage large amounts of detailed data across several projects, and it’s continually updated to align with the latest national research on CO2 calculations." 

"The toolkit also helps managers who are facing resistance to adopting environmental measures to build a stronger internal business case. The data provides them with the pros and cons of specific measures, both in a financial and environmental sense.”

There could be a growing demand for this approach in the UK. A recent Carbon Trust survey of finance directors found that big businesses wastes £1.6 billion a year on energy that could be saved through easy measures, such as upgrading heating and lighting, and carrying out staff training in energy saving. The research found that energy efficiency projects could deliver an average return on investment of 48%. The average payback period on large-scale business investments in energy efficiency is only three years, the report says, but many straightforward improvements cost little or nothing at all. Over half of the cost savings, that ENWORKS helps implement, are made at no capital cost. Samantha adds:

“We are working with an amazingly diverse range of businesses including manufacturers, haulage companies, hotels and leisure centres and healthcare organisations, just to give a flavour. We have enough data now to demonstrate clearly that the Toolkit is helping businesses make huge savings and we are happy to share our knowledge and expertise with others, for example through tools such as our ENWORKS In a Box site. We hope more and more businesses will recognise the value and economic sense of increasing their resource efficiency”.

In the current financial climate, the efficient use of resources such as energy, water and materials can make the difference between losing or saving your business.

(pic: Samantha Nicholson with ENWORKS director Todd Holden)

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