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Going Green in Business

With current issues such as climate change, carbon footprints and renewable energy on the agenda for many businesses, environmental law can be seen as a somewhat “in vogue” area.

But environmental law is nothing new, and companies have been bound for hundreds of years with the duty to consider the environment around them and the impact they have upon it.

Environmental law covers a wide range of issues from noise control to CO2 emissions, and whatever your business it is important to comply with the law.

Compliance with environmental law can help you:

  • Avoid the attention of possible prosecution by environmental regulators.
  • Increase your business’s efficiency and productivity.
  • Reduce your operating costs.
  • Increase your business’s chances of securing lucrative contracts from government bodies and large companies who require their business partners to meet certain environmental standards.
  • Boost your reputation in the eyes of the public, customers and staff.
  • Be more likely to obtain funding by showing that your environmental impacts are well managed, enabling your business to expand.

The environmental aspects of some businesses are more obvious than others. For example, companies that are involved in manufacturing goods will need to manage their emissions and use of materials.

If your business is purely office-based, you may struggle to think of where environmental law has an effect on you. But there are, in fact, many environmental factors you will have to consider, including:

  • Air emissions

    from boilers or heating and cooling systems
  • Noise pollution

    from car parks or site maintenance
  • Resource use

    such as energy, water and office supplies, e.g. paper
  • Waste disposal

    such as food waste, paper, office equipment or worn-out fixtures and fittings
  • Water pollution

    from unauthorised discharges, e.g. waste from catering facilities, contaminated run-off from car parks or unsafe storage of cleaning or chemical products

In the UK, the bodies responsible for protecting the environment are the Environment Agency (which covers England and Wales), the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland and local authorities.

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