Building contractors are increasingly finding that their own employees are the best source of environmental information, according to a survey conducted by Hewden, the UK’s largest plant hire business.
Despite the government’s best efforts to set up specialist environmental agencies over the past few years, well over half of those contractors (58%) surveyed are still turning to colleagues and associates to share their knowledge, ahead of all other sources.
Mark Moody, Quality Manager at Hewden, said: “It may seem obvious, but it is easy to forget that the best experts in any business are those that are working right next to you.
“Before you pick up the phone to talk to consultants, take a look around you and devise a system where people can share staff knowledge and experience. This is especially important in large organisations where staff are widely dispersed and rarely meet more than their immediate colleagues on a regular basis.”
As part of its Green Boots campaign, Hewden asked 100 contractors for their views on where they get the best source of environmental information. While the majority said that internal resources were the best source of knowledge, only 9% turned to the Environment Agency and only 3% to the Health & Safety Executive. Another 30% said they relied on other sources, from third parties and independent experts.
The Hewden survey also shows that environmental policies are becoming more and more important to construction businesses. Three-quarters (74%) of respondents said they had an environmental policy in place, although 9% of those admitted that they did not know what the details were.
The main drivers for environmental initiatives, it emerged, come mainly from compliance, with 98% of respondents saying legislation had become more demanding and 76% admitting the extra regulations were necessary and “essential for best practice”. A further 68% said more of their end clients were asking for environmental policies to be put in place, and 42% that local authorities were also putting more pressure on them to adopt a green working code of conduct before being considered for tenders.
The most common environmental measures that people say they have in place, in order of priority, are recycling, energy saving, pollution, dust levels, noise, and light pollution.
Join Hewden’s Green Boot campaign
Hewden has launched its own Green Boots campaign, designed to highlight the ways to recycle, reuse and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. A free copy of the brochure is attached and can also be downloaded at www.hewden.co.uk .
A few simple tips to encourage site managers to start setting targets include;
- Recycle from the top down – as well as recycling materials on site, head offices can play a part by recycling paper and other waste products.
- Reuse waste materials for other applications or projects. By reusing waste materials, waste becomes a substance of value.
- Reduce fuel consumption by implementing a car-share scheme for site staff and don’t run equipment unnecessarily.