The Green Business Initiative is an inter-linked suite of projects, specifically aimed at helping enterprises save money and help to reduce their environmental impacts.
The projects aim to actively help enterprises to become more “resource efficient”. This means that they will use less energy, less water and less raw materials, in turn producing less waste and costing the business less money. It’s a great example of the Green Economy in action and a real win-win situation.
Through guidance, self-help web tools and actual site visit support, the free Green Business Initiative services are helping a wide variety of businesses make real savings.
The Green Business Initiative can also help public sector and not-for-profit organisations in similar fashion.
The Greenbusiness.ie project offers a range of supports to help business identify savings. By registering at www.greenbusiness.ie and using the on-line audit tools, users can start to measure their resource use and identify where savings might be made. They can also request a site visit, where a Greenbusiness Advisor will visit their premises and identify actual "no" and low cost measures that will save businesses real money. The service is entirely free, confidential, and operated by the Clean Technology Centre, on behalf of the EPA.
To date, Greenbusiness.ie has achieved an estimated €10 million of identified savings for participant enterprises. We are always looking for businesses willing to save themselves money and to share a case study telling others how they did it!. Check out www.greenbusiness.ie to find out more.
The Green Hospitality Programme (GHP) is a range of projects specifically aimed at the tourism and hospitality industry. The Green Hospitality Award (GHA) is a certification aimed at the Hotel, Hospitality and Catering Sector, and has already produced efficiency savings worth millions of euro per annum for its members. It is recognised as a premier green accrediation for the sector by VISIT, Expedia and Fáilte Ireland. The programme is run on behalf of the EPA by the Clean Technology Centre (Cork) and Hospitality Solutions Consulting. Find out more at www.ghaward.ie.
The scheme also includes contract caterers, nursing homes and is currently expanding its eco-label to restaurants and other smaller tourism businesses.
Other GHP initiatives include Green Festivals, which looks to provide support to festival organisers to make their events more sustainable. Festivals that have participated include Wexford Festival Opera, Galway Arts Festival, Waterford Tall-Ships and the Rose of Tralee.
The GHP has also prepared a booklet Less Food Waste More Profit (pdf, 2.92MB, 32pages) aimed at commercial caterers, which looks at how businesses can look at preventing their food waste. It is estimated that over €200 million is lost by Irish businesses per annum from throwing away food.
Utilising the capacity and techniques perfected in the Green Hospitality Award and greenbusiness.ie project, the National Waste Prevention Programme is working with healthcare providers to look at water and energy use and waste production, with a special emphasis on food waste. By investigating areas where efficiencies can be made, often through simple "no" and low cost procedures, real savings can be generated for hospitals. For example, better communication between wards and kitchens prevents meals being prepared for patients who have been discharged. Significant potential savings in food costs alone have been identified.
SMILE ("Saving Money through Industrial Linkages and Exchanges") is a project where businesses identify useful by-products from their processes or activities, and are "matched" with businesses seeking those same resources. This can be via an on-line directory or at tri-yearly "speed dating" networking sessions, where businesses meet at facilitated events to identify their resource "wants" and "needs". To date, the project has been operating in Cork, Limerick, Clare and Kerry with help from the Councils and Enterprise Boards in those areas. The project will be launching in Dublin in autumn 2012. See www.smileexchange.ie for details.