Scots firms spend £75m on going greener

SCOTTISH businesses contributed almost 13 million man hours, worth an estimated £75.3 million, towards improving their environmental footprint last year, according to new figures.

A typical Scottish business spent on average 84 man hours implementing green initiatives last year as more and more companies recognise the financial benefits of investing in their green credentials.

The new figures from Zero Waste Scotland also reveal that one in ten firms dedicated over 200 hours last year – or at least four hours every week – specifically carrying out tasks that will help the environment.

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Scottish businesses saved 222m in 2008, with Zero Waste Scotland claiming that those who used its programme were likely to save up to four times as much as non-users.

Zero Waste Scotland was created by the Scottish Government to support delivery of its Zero Waste Plan. It provides support and advice to Scottish businesses and integrates the former programmes Envirowise, WRAP Scotland and NISP amongst others.

Research shows that the majority of time was spent recycling materials with 56 per cent of businesses committing to recycling more last year while 43 per cent of firms in Scotland found it easiest to reduce electricity consumption.

Reducing waste to landfill and saving water were also key measures taken by firms.

Iain Gulland, director of Zero Waste Scotland, said: "Scotland faces challenging environmental targets. The number of businesses committed to reducing their environmental impact and the amount of time they spend implementing those changes needs to increase in 2010.

"The business community is beginning to acknowledge the financial benefits of going green and this recognition will spur more Scottish businesses to take the environmental challenge seriously."

Mid-sized businesses appear to be contributing most to reducing their environmental impact.

Firms with a turnover between 2m and 10m invested on average 97 man hours on green initiatives in 2009 – 33 per cent more than small firms and 7 per cent more than firms with sales over 10m a year.

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Gulland added: "Getting employees onside is a key part of the process and perhaps mid-sized businesses are in the best position to achieve that."