Green Teams initiative could save billions for Scottish businesses

Scottish businesses could save almost £3 billion a year by cutting waste and introducing simple resource efficiency measures to reduce the amount of energy, water and raw materials they use.

Longer-term measures could save more than £5.8 billion a year by 2050.

Green Teams can play a vital role in delivering these benefits – by engaging and encouraging staff, exemplifying good practice and changing behaviours.

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Through its ‘Engaging Scotland’ award, the VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards – recognise the vital role of employee-led Green Teams in improving environmental performance.

Devro has installed beehives at its two sites to aid biodiversity

“The people in your business directly influence how much resources you consume and waste, so they are the key to unlocking environmental efficiencies,” says VIBES chair Gillian Bruce.

“That might be by encouraging colleagues to turn off lights and equipment when not in use, separating waste streams – or devising new ideas for resource efficiency.”

Previous winners of the VIBES Engaging Scotland award include Lanarkshire-based collagen casing manufacturer Devro, which specialises in supplying sausage skins to the food industry.

Its Green Team, set up in 2017 with 20 volunteers from across the business,focuses on three areas: biodiversity on site; capturing innovation and ideas from the entire workforce – and designing an environmental management and audit system.

“An idea that came from our Green Team was to send our collagen protein waste for composting, and that reduced our landfill waste by 80 per cent,” explains David Lock, Hygiene and Facilities contracts manager for Devro (Scotland).

“The team are also looking at different energy saving initiatives, and we’ve installed beehives at our two sites, which helps the biodiversity of both areas.”

Other VIBES Engaging Scotland winners include Scottish environmental charity Changeworks, whose Green Team has delivered improvements including a 200% increase in electric vehicle charge points and a ‘Walk to Work’ challenge.

Edinburgh Leisure, which manages sport and leisure services for City of Edinburgh Council, also won the award for Green Team initiatives including the implementation of the Green Team initiatives including the implementation of the Green Plan to tackle environmental impact across 30 sites, resulting in increased engagement and carbon reduction.

Water retailer Wave sponsors the VIBES Engaging Scotland award and helps businesses reduce water consumption, lower their bills and improve their environmental impact through its Active Water Management service.

“We aim to try and understand exactly how much water our customers use and to find ways to help them reduce their consumption and save money,” explains Tony March, director of Public Sector Customers at Wave. “Water and energy use is generally a significant operational cost and reducing these can directly benefit the bottom line, saving vital resources in a cash constrained environment.”