Just as it is impossible to ignore the current economic pressure that businesses are under, it is also impossible to ignore the increasing pressures on the environment. As a result, climate change and resource efficiency - along with profitability - are now key considerations for businesses.
Although these issues present challenges to businesses, they also provide opportunities. The 2009 Green Business Awards celebrate the tenacity, ambition and innovation of UK businesses in achieving environmental sustainability through good business practices.
The Environment Agency has been a fellow-traveller on this journey, working with businesses to enable them to operate in a way that protects their environment and remains profitable. Our principal aims are to protect and improve the environment, and to promote sustainable development. We cannot achieve these aims without working with businesses. The Green Business Awards are an opportunity for us to recognise organisations leading by example in protecting the environment.
As a large organisation, we are also aware of the need to manage our own environmental impacts. We have a clear focus on our internal environment management and have both ISO14001 and EMAS accreditation.
We are proud to sponsor three of the 2009 Green Business Awards under the category of Environmental Management. These awards recognise the work of businesses in achieving excellence in policies and practices that reduce their impact on the environment and demonstrate the effective use of waste as a resource.
Good environmental practices in many circumstances provide benefits of increased efficiency, reduced costs and enhanced reputation. Overall, greener business is better business.
This year's winners and all of the organisations short-listed for an award have demonstrated that good green credentials make business sense. I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of those organisations shortlisted for an award for their contribution to protecting the environment and demonstrating that good environmental practice makes business sense.
We want to recognise and reward businesses that perform well with regard to their environmental practices. We're particularly keen to acknowledge businesses that voluntarily go beyond just complying with legislation. These organisations inspire and lead others to adopt green business practices.
We're working to ensure that all businesses receive the right advice to deliver the best results for the environment and for their profits. By learning more about your experiences, the Environment Agency can discover new ways in which excellent environmental standards can be achieved. We can then use this in our future work to help others.
If you have anything you'd like to discuss with us, please get in touch. You can contact us through our website, or call our National Customer Contact Centre on 08708 506 506.
Dr Paul Leinster, chief executive of the Environment Agency
Environment Agency website: www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business