In this week’s Q&A, Kehlan talks with James Hogan from Green Business about getting businesses to think green and how to take them up on the free service.
James, what is Green Business?
Green Business is a free service for businesses. We work with all sorts of businesses, not just SMEs, across a wide range of sectors. We bring a fresh set of eyes into companies and look at how they are using electricity, water, generating waste and try and identify how they can become more efficient. We’re backed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Green Business is funded under the National Waste Prevention programme. The programme itself is about identifying ways to prevent waste within a system. So, we work with businesses to cut their environmental impact.
Some companies would say that investing in green products for their business can cost big money?
We don’t go into places saying they have to spend money here or there. In actual fact, most of the time it’s just about thinking sensibly about what is being used in your business. Becoming more efficient with your resources is good business practice — how can you cut your energy bills, by being more efficient about how you use that energy in the workplace. Does a piece of machinery need to be turned on all night or how much water is being wasted through your toilet system? We’re not about telling people to buy all new equipment. Often it’s just simple solutions to help cut waste and cut the cost. There has to be a cost benefit to the business.
Have we seen businesses sacrifice green/ the environment during the recession?
I don’t think that is necessarily true. I’ve always believed that resource efficiency is just good business. You know, we can say that if a company can invest in making their water systems, for example, and make it more efficient and get the saving within a year then it’s worth it. Electricity, water and other costs will only get more expensive in the next few years. There has been a misconception that the two are very different things. However, they are both one and the same. Businesses know that, too. In recent years, we’ve seen a number of industries work on their green footprint. Many pubs and bars now will have timed water systems or waterless urinals. Businesses have been made aware, in recent years, of just what they are spending on business. If they become more aware of where their costs lie, they can begin to make changes which can firstly save money and secondly save the environmental impact of their business.
How do businesses get involved?
It’s a free service backed by the EPA. There really is no reason why people should hesitate in contacting us. If people go to our website on greenbusiness.ie they will be able to read Irish case studies of companies who have used the service. That’s important to see how other companies have used our service.
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