Environmental costs for small companies may be higher than you think

Source: Cardiff University, 22 March 2002

Companies with less than ten employees may be losing money and opportunities as a result of lack of knowledge of environmentally-friendly work practices, suggest researchers at Cardiff University.

Investment in environmental training is unlikely to be a priority for many small companies, yet this small detail alone could help to reduce environmental liabilities and costs, and improve operational efficiency.

Experts at the Universitys Centre for Research in the Built Environment (CRiBE), aim to redress local companies attitudes to environmental training by offering free training – which is custom-made to suit an individuals learning pace.
"Small companies may not be able to aspire to, or afford, the training budgets that larger companies have," said Professor Phil Jones, Director of the Centre. "Yet training is important for any company wishing to develop itself and its workforce. Environmental training is particularly relevant as environmental neglect can lead to excess costs and even prosecution. Your staff may be costing you more than you think."

The training courses available to small companies have been devised by the University in collaboration with Cardiff-based consultants Mandix and WSP Environmental, and are funded by the European Social Fund.

"The added bonus for staff is that credits gained from these courses are recognised by the National Open College Network, and can therefore contribute to gaining qualifications such as GCSEs or A-Levels", said Professor Jones. "In addition, participating companies will obtain a full review of environmental risks on their site, a tailor-made environmental improvement programme, which will be designed with cost savings in mind and help in creating an environmental policy."

All agencies involved in the project are well placed to offer experts to microbusinesses – businesses with less than ten employees. In the course of an earlier environmental management project, the University Centre, Mandix and WSP Environmental helped several small and medium size businesses to implement informal Environmental Management Systems. Mandix and WSP Environmental are also expert service providers in environmental training and Continuing Professional Development.