Business in the Community Ireland gave a talk about the benefits of “Promoting Sustainability to your Customers” at a breakfast seminar in The Irish National Heritage Park, Wexford on Thursday 25th September. Many SMEs are already involved in responsible and sustainable business practices; however, SMEs often don’t connect these activities to business benefits. Communicating sustainability to customers can help SMEs stand out from their competition. Promoting good practices on a company website is one good place to start. It can also be done through direct messaging in Business-to-consumer type businesses (e.g. on packaging or marketing materials), or through the tendering process in business-to-business type companies. One great way of doing this is through Sustainability Reporting.
Phil Walker, of Econcertive talked hard facts and figures – about the savings that can be made by going greener. There are many no-cost or low-cost opportunities that can be availed of. His message of the day was that “standing still is going backwards”. If companies are not getting to grips with environmental management, they are prone to increasing energy, water and waste costs. Phil also runs EcoMerit, which is an environmental management award that has been designed for SMEs. Certification to EcoMerit has also been shown to be an advantage when applying for funding, such as SEAI.
The venue for the day, The Irish National Heritage Park, is a good example of how a smaller organisation can gain great benefits from sustainability. The manager, Maura Bell talked about how they have adopted the ‘Leave No Trace’ policy a few years ago and they continue to strive to help the environment in any way they can. They are in the process of greening their facilities, including plans for rainwater harvesting. The solar PV array situated at the car park is a great visual message to all their visitors about their commitment to sustainability.
The event was hosted by The Green Innovation and Future Technologies (GIFT) Interreg project, which aims to up-skill SME businesses and help to grow a sustainable Green Economy. The event was in collaboration with the Southern Region Waste Management Office is one in a series of events being run in the region as part of the SRWMO project under the national GreenEnterprise programme.
If you are an SME from the Waterford or Wexford region, there is free support available to a limited number of companies. Contact Margaret Murphy at the Southern Region Waste Management Office firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also availability for support across other areas of the Southern Region.
If you are an SME, and are interested in our forthcoming service, or would like to keep in touch with our progress, or think that you would like to be profiled as a responsible and sustainable SME, email Sinéad on email@example.com