A new survey has found that reducing business waste, recycling and making energy efficiency improvements are the most common measures in environmental strategies enforced by manufacturers.
Waste is the main environmental concern for manufacturers with over 90% of respondents having taken some form of action on waste management. Manufacturing body EEFs Environmental Survey 2009 believes this is due to significant cost savings gained from managing waste. Only half the companies questioned have adopted a recycling or reuse system across the whole of the company, preferring to systematically put in environmental systems instead.
Additionally, lean manufacturing featured highly in the survey with three quarters of those surveyed applying it in some part across their processes. It was found that eco-design, which focuses on the environmental impact of a products lifecycle, has more up-take in larger companies (72%) than the smallest companies (34%). This is due to complexities embedded in process engineering and supply chain management.
Lack of available funding to invest in environmental systems is a barrier for many companies, which is especially the case for smaller businesses. The recession has meant that a further 12% of businesses compared to the 2008 survey are finding funding a bigger obstacle. EEF believes that funding is the reason why almost a fifth of smaller companies found no cost benefits to implementing an environmental strategy against 83% of firms which have saved money. It is thought a lack of resources and expertise in smaller businesses is to blame.
EEF head of climate and environment policy Gareth Stace said: Businesses especially SMEs need further support to implement improvement strategies. There is a clear role for Government here in making business aware of easily attainable quick wins as well as those areas that require investment such as eco-design.
If organisations are provided with clear information on the business benefits of adopting environmental measures, they are likely to adopt them without being pressured to do so.