Published Monday 9th November 2020

Dan Howells, our waste management specialist, challenges himself to answer the question that many may be thinking…

As a cost consultant at ERA as well as an eco-enthusiast, the challenges that this question poses to business leaders and finance departments (in particular) does not elude me.

In recent years, I have provided this publication with the latest developing policy outcomes from the ‘environment lobby agenda’. My hope was that the urge to get ahead of this evolving green landscape, may spur some green-minded business leaders into action.

However, given the events of the past few months, I wonder how important ‘being green’ is to our clients. The current challenges that we face now – are not the same as previously. Cash is king and focusing on a business’s core activity is paramount, some may argue. Can businesses afford to do anything that could be seen as not in line with those objectives?

How we answer these questions depends on our understanding of what it means to be green. At ERA we believe it means to be sustainable. The definition of sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs as defined by the United Nations in 1987.

Linked to this is the principle of the circular economy. That using materials efficiently, preventing waste and streamlining processes actually makes good commercial sense.

Let’s apply these thoughts to our businesses.

  • How can we make the right decisions now, in order to secure our business for future generations?
  • What changes or initiatives can we undertake that will ensure long-term operational benefits?
  • Do we waste; water, energy, our raw materials, our purchased products?
  • Do we waste money? So I put to you that being green is simply being efficient – it makes good business sense.

At this point, I hear some further objections – “I don’t have time and it will cost too much and I don’t have the resources at the moment”.

A recent study for Harvard Business Review found that there is often a tension between ‘short-term profit and long-term value’. And in fact, more than half of 1000 CEOs when questioned said “they face a key trade-off in the pressure to operate under extreme cost-consciousness while seeking to invest in longer-term strategic objectives.”

Excuse me for the bare faced sales plug here, but at ERA we remove this tension. The brilliance of our model is that our experts analyse where improvements can be made and deliver them at zero cost. The client gets long term benefit (aka they become more sustainable) and our short-term fees come from the long-term savings (improvements) that are delivered.

As HMRC’s famous catchphrase goes – tax doesn’t need to be taxing. Being green doesn’t need to cost the earth. It is doing business better. Reducing costs and saving the planet – we are doing this for our clients today.

About the Author: Daniel Howells, through his experience in the waste management contracting field, Daniel has a wealth of knowledge regarding the industry. Daniel has previously worked with the Chartered Institute of Waste Management Head Office in Northampton, helping CIWM’s clients to become more sustainable and manage their waste and resources more effectively.

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