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WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com INDUSTRYWATCH Pushing harder for sustainable growth Companies must become more sustainable as part of their business model to increase growth, says Jodie Wiltshire, communications manager at the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council... What we take - we cannot often give back. This is a true enough statement as many of the world’s natural resources are being depleted. After reading Tony Juniper’s book: What has Nature ever done for us? - it is apparent that we cannot continue to abuse nature’s generosity. According to a McKinsey survey, more companies are now integrating sustainability principles into their businesses and they are doing so by pursuing goals that go far beyond earlier concern for reputation management. For example, saving energy, developing green products, and retaining and motivating employees, all of which, help companies capture value through growth and return on capital. This subject is very much close to The Prince of Wales's heart and for many years he has spoken out on how we must not take nature for granted as it is the very source of our prosperity. SUSTAINABLE PROFIT The Business & Sustainability Programme (BSP) is a forum, established in 1994 by The Prince of Wales and the University of Cambridge. It provides a strategic forum for senior decision makers and key executives to explore innovative, high-impact yet pragmatic approaches to reconciling profitability and sustainability. Over its 18 year history, the Programme has established a reputation as the leading international, cross-industry and cross-sector, forum for sustainable business. According to its marketing blurb, BSP seminars address the successful management of change. The primary audience of the seminars, which are delivered in four major cities, comprises corporate senior leaders and individuals from civil society and non-governmental organisations who interact closely with businesses. Through understanding global trends and finding strategic, practical ways to integrate social and environmental solutions into decision-making processes, delegates, led by faculty composed of practitioners and academics, discuss how to ensure sustainability in their businesses while remaining profitable. Larger companies are indeed seeing the bigger picture in that they have to incorporate sustainability into their business models. For example, Marks and Spencer has a Plan A which was launched in January 2007. This started by setting out 100 commitments which was extended to 180 to achieve by 2015. Its aim was to become the world’s most sustainable employer. Plan A enables it to work with its suppliers and customers to help combat climate change, reduce The EUA is leading by example in its commitment to go green with a vegetable patch in the office car park waste and use sustainable raw materials. It believes that Plan A is the right thing to do and the only way to do business. There is no Plan B. The three major global challenges that Marks and Spencer felt needed to be addressed was the increasing pressure on the planet’s finite resources, rising social inequality and the need for more sustainable lifestyles in the developed world. From Plan A, Marks and Spencer has reinvested £185 million in net profits back into its business over the last five years. From the opening of eco stores, more fairtrade products, clothes exchange, carrier bag charge, carbon neutral chocolate to a launch of a marine conservation programme, its investment in sustainability is paying off. Marks and Spencer know that the larger impacts on the environment and society come through the products it sells and how they are used. This is very much the same for heating manufacturers who are developing even better green technologies as we speak. Energy efficiency is an important subject at the moment with the launch of the government’s Green Deal and we are all striving to make people’s homes more energy efficient to help lower rising energy costs. Marks and Spencer is also trying to help by supplying 38,000 smart meters for employees to measure their energy use. It has also saved 800,000 of carbon dioxide across stores, offices, warehouses and its delivery fleet. It has managed to send zero waste to landfill and 84% of its wood is sourced sustainably. So what are we doing? For any of you that do not know, the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council is a division of Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA). EUA has already swapped all of its products for members and staff to Fairtrade and has become one of the first organisations in the region to become an accredited Living Wage Employer. The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually, based on the cost of living in the UK. An independent study of the business benefits of implementing a Living Wage policy in London found that more than 80% of employers believe that the Living Wage had enhanced the quality of the work of their staff, while absenteeism had fallen by approximately 25%. 66% of employers reported a significant impact on recruitment and retention within their organisation. 70% of employers felt that the Living Wage had increased consumer awareness of their organisation’s commitment to be an ethical employer. COMMITTED TO GOING GREEN EUA adds to its commitment to go green by creating a vegetable patch in the office car park. Mike Foster, chief executive, believes as a local employer the organisation has a responsibility to not only provide pleasant working surroundings for the staff but also to do its bit for the green environment. The vegetable patch has been created in the car park to grow seasonal produce, which the staff can take home when it is ready to harvest - a small donation buys seeds for the following season. The patch also helps attract wildlife to the offices and next year the plan includes exploring companion planting and to include an insect hotel. The vegetable patch is the latest step in EUA’s plans to go green, all consumables purchased by the company is Fairtrade, recycling bins are located in all offices and work will begin shortly on reviewing printed materials. It is important in an age that endlessly consumes that we show a more responsible face and make use of materials that are sustainable and help to make the planet a better one. As Mr Juniper states in his book; saving the planet is all about economics and the loss of natural diversity will actually cut business growth - not expand it. 12 APRIL 2013 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY


HPM April 2013
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