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28 Jun, 2019
We can’t remember the last time we scrolled through social media without there being some kind of message about the environment. We don’t mean targeted ads, we mean contacts posting, sharing, tweeting and Facebooking photos or stats relating to the Earth and our over utilisation of its resources.
From Sark Lighthouse now using no more power than a single 100-watt lightbulb, to an electric hearse at the National Funeral Exhibition, many of our contacts seem suddenly keen to share eco products, services or facts, and it’s not just business people who are interested in all things green. At home, our children have talked about videos they’ve seen of plastic waste in oceans and, should they manage to put anything in the bin, chances are they’ll instinctively pop it in the right one when they do so.
Perhaps it’s the Attenborough Effect reported by the Metro in April following a study of over 3,000 consumers*, half of whom said they had reduced the amount of disposable plastic in the last year, but it seems that even the most unlikely of organisations have been taking steps in the last few years to reduce their environmental impact. Even McDonald’s, the biggest toy distributor in the World thanks to those included in Happy Meals, is taking drastic and well-publicised measures to reduce its plastic usage. It recently announced that changes to its packaging for McFlurry icecreams and salads will save 485 tonnes of plastic each year in the UK alone. Boots the Chemist has also been making headlines after announcing its rather retro innovation of replacing plastic bags with paper ones, where possible.
Most hearteningly, we’re seeing businesses that were founded on purely eco principles flourish. Zero waste shops are springing up in High Streets. The Wool Packaging Company, whose Woolcool eco packaging is a popular choice in the food and pharma markets, has grown from strength to strength. Transcend Packaging, whose founders spotted a gap in the market to supply paper straws to the UK, took orders from over 1,300 McDonald’s outlets before their machines had even arrived. It seems that the tide is turning and a nation of consumers are becoming more savvy about their impact on the environment. Even Glastonbury, almost as famed for its fields of abandoned tents and litter as for its headline acts, has banned single use plastic bottles this year in a move designed to remove a staggering 1 million bottles from its waste (which, incidentally, costs over £700k to remove).
Was ISO 14001 ahead of its time?
We believe so. Released in the year the European ban on British beef was announced due to Mad Cow fears and the first GM foods went on sale in British supermarkets, ISO 14001 has been the internationally recognisable benchmark for environmentally sound operations since 1996.
In the early years, many of our ISO 140001 clients only operated that standard, using it as a stand-alone testament to their green credentials, but, in recent years, we’ve seen more and more businesses choose to add it to their ISO 9001 management system. These businesses have always been quietly green but have all come to recognise the benefits of being more vocal about their environmentally friendly practices.
Why add ISO 14001?
Richard Tresise of Cavendish Joinery, suppliers of doors and windows to the trade, explains, “Our customers look for three things… quality assurance, environmental assurance and Health & Safety assurance. To be considered, we have to meet the customers’ requirements across all three areas.” The sentiment is shared by others, many of our clients indicate that their potential customers are more interested in the provenance of goods and the integrity of their supply chain than ever before.
Do you want to maximise your green appeal?
Find out how to make ISO 14001 one of your firm’s USPs.
Download free posters from the Carbon Trust website to encourage your colleagues to reduce energy usage.
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