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Minister welcomes survey results on environmental practices

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Environment Minister Edwin Poots today praised the responsible approach local businesses are taking to embracing responsible environmental practices.

The Minister was speaking as he launched the Northern Ireland Environmental Benchmarking Survey Results which evaluates how well organisations are managing their environmental impacts in terms of energy and fuel use, waste minimisation, recycling and environmental legislation compliance.

The survey covers a diverse number of business sectors and sizes including construction, engineering, retail, textiles and clothing. 139 organisations from 15 different sectors took part in the survey, up 9% on 2008 with 23 participants taking part for the first time. The average performance score across the survey has risen from 63% last year to 67% this year. Nine participants achieved the top ‘platinum’ award category for their environmental performance.

The Minister said: “These results are very encouraging and clearly highlight the importance of good environmental practise and the benefits businesses can, and indeed are, achieving through effective management of their environmental impacts.”

More than half of all participants have a formal Environmental Management System (EMS) that is certified to a recognised standard such as 1SO:14001. A total of 98% of all participants have an environmental policy and have set environmental objective targets, clearly illustrating the importance attached to responsible environmental management across all sectors of industry.

The Minister continued: “I am conscious that during a recession maintaining an environmental improvement programme can be a challenge to companies, but there are clear benefits as illustrated here today, for example financial savings through improved energy efficiency.

“I am particularly encouraged that an impressive 29% of participants have taken steps to install their own renewable generation capacity from sources such as biomass, wind and solar. This highlights that Northern Ireland’s businesses are actively responding to the threats of climate change and the associated impacts.”

Notes to editors:

1. View the Northern Ireland Environmental Management Survey Results .link to external website

2. The Northern Ireland Environmental Management Survey is a joint initiative between NIEA and ARENA Network.

3. This is the 11th year of this survey which is unique in Northern Ireland.

4. This year two new sectors, Contact Centres and Mining and Quarrying have been included.

5.All media enquiries should be directed to the DOE Press Office on 028 9054 0003. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.