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Business and the environment

Businesses have a major role to play in helping protect and enhance the environment, in line with wider goals of sustainable development. The move to a sustainable, low carbon and resource efficient future also offers opportunities for creating economic growth and job creation.

Saving money, it’s your business
Small businesses can save money by using their resources more efficiently. Business Link has tips from Defra to help you: from selling waste for other businesses to use as raw materials, to saving on energy for heat and lighting.

Recovery, Growth & the Environment - coverDefra has produced a short booklet, “Recovery, Growth & the Environment” (PDF 2.5MB), which explains the links between protecting the environment, enabling economic recovery, and promoting a strong, growing economy. Action by businesses is vital in the move to a low carbon, resource efficient economy. Businesses can be more environmentally responsible whilst improving their bottom line by:

  • Using resources, such as energy, water and materials, more efficiently;
  • Developing new, cleaner products and technologies, expanding into these new markets and meeting the growing consumer demand for greener products and services; and
  • Improving business resilience and reducing the environmental risks to growth by adapting to the changing climate.

Sound environmental management of processes and products is regarded as a core business issue, that can help promote a company's products and services, and improve its corporate standing. Many UK businesses could also save money and use less by making quite simple changes in the way they use resources like energy and water and how they handle waste.

The UK Sustainable Development Strategy - Securing the future - highlights the need for business' approach to corporate responsibility to extend throughout their supply chains, tackling issues at extraction of raw materials through to engagement with consumers about the products and services they buy and eventually discard.

Government has a key role to play and will work closely with business to encourage sustainable, low carbon and resource efficient patterns of consumption and production by:

  • Encouraging best practice by providing tools, guidance and information to help businesses choose the most sustainable behaviours.
  • Leading by example by establishing policy frameworks and ensuring Government procures sustainable products.
  • Setting standards through EU regulatory frameworks and industry guidance to ensure that minimum requirements are implemented for key product groups.

Page last modified: 11 March 2010
Page published: 27 November 2002