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17.08.05
Environmental Business Training

A major initiative to encourage businesses to save money and increase sales by becoming more environmentally aware is about to begin in Cornwall. It is estimated that in three years EnVision Cornwall will create more than 70 jobs and generate almost £4 million of extra sales for 300 businesses. EnVision Cornwall aims to increase productivity and competitiveness of businesses by supporting them in tackling resource inefficiencies and becoming accredited in environmental management. Training and advice will be given on subjects including energy, waste and water management.

The cost of delivering EnVision Cornwall, which is led by the Environment Agency, is £1,342,225. Of that cost just over £671,000 has been approved from the Objective One European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and just over £208,000 will come from the South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA). The remainder of the investment will come from the Environment Agency, the businesses and the voluntary sector.

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, said: "This scheme will help hundreds of Cornwall's businesses to increase their profits by becoming more environmentally efficient. Looking after the environment now and for the future is of critical importance and EnVision Cornwall will go a great way towards doing this while also increasing the competitiveness of the individual businesses."

EnVision Cornwall will cover three key aspects for businesses:

Bottom line efficiency savings – allowing money to be freed for development and growth. This will increase competitiveness and sustainability through improved environmental management and reduced expenditure on resource use and disposal.
Staff culture change – adopting a smarter way of thinking about the business, environmental and social resources and seeing the benefit of installing better technologies.
Highlighting and researching new business opportunities, for example the eco-products market, which has an estimated value of £3 billion from tourism to manufacturing, recycling to construction.

Partners who will help with advice and training include Community Energy Plus, ReZolve Kernow, Cornwall Business School, Global Action Plan (GAP) and Groundwork. Ian Smith, managing director of Community Energy Plus, said: "A mentor will be sent to each business and a baseline audit, reading meters and so on, will be carried out. The particular business needs will then be agreed and support given, whether it be training or more detailed auditing. In some cases we will also look at renewable energy solutions. This scheme could dramatically change the way businesses operate as regards the environment and will show them how to increase their profits in a forward thinking, responsible way."

Claire Gibson, South West RDA head of planning, transport and the environment, said: "EnVision Cornwall is a great project that provides businesses with a mentor to help them navigate all the environmental legislation and advice that currently exists. A project that helps companies to look after the environment and remain competitive at the same time is a winning combination for Cornwall, whose stunning environment makes a significant contribution to the region's economy."

EnVision Cornwall will have close links to the regional Business Link network, which will act as a gateway and broker companies to the project and guide them to the right solutions for their wider business issues. Guidance on applying for environmental business grants, tax relief and the effects of changing legislation is also available, as is advice on how companies can market their new environmental credentials and tap into the growing eco-products market, estimated to be worth £30 billion in the UK.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: "Business activities impact on the environment, although many don't realise how much. Projects like this help businesses to improve their environmental performance by addressing activities that can have a negative effect. There are many benefits these days for businesses who act responsibly toward the environment – EnVision will help companies realise these benefits. A similar project has run in Devon and parts of Somerset and Bristol since 2002. This has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 12,500 tonnes, equivalent to the annual use of 2000 households, and saved 18,500 tonnes of waste from landfill equivalent to 2,600 dustbin lorry loads. The project has also saved 15,000m3 of water, equivalent to 1.6million toilet flushes and 15Gwhs of energy equivalent to 650 household's annual energy consumption."

It is hoped that following the support the businesses will also work together to share resources, skills and training. Any businesses interested in taking advantage of the scheme should contact EnVision on 0845 456 9350.

For further information please contact Clare Morgan of the Objective One Partnership Office on 01872 223439 or 07973 813647 or email: cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in EnVision Cornwall through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Editor's notes:

Mark Hodgson
EnVision PR
Tel: 01392 383033
email: mark.hodgson@swenvision.org.uk

Rachel Price
RDA Corporate Communications Adviser
Tel: 01392 229548
email: rachel.price@southwestrda.org.uk

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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