With support from key sustainability stakeholders in Northern Ireland, such as the Carbon Trust, Invest NI, the Waste Resource Action Programme (WRAP) and Business in the Community (BitC), Belfast City Council’s Waste Management and Economic Initiative Services have adopted a ‘one Council’ approach for a number of years by partnering to develop and implement a range of projects and programmes aimed at promoting sustainable development within the Belfast business community. This was further bolstered last year when the DOE Minister, under the banner of ‘Zero Waste’, emphasised that he and the NI Government wanted clearer links to be made between resource efficiency, environmental improvement and wealth creation.
One of the key strands of this inter-service partnership has been the development and roll-out of the Business Improvement through Environmental Solutions (BITES) Programme. This programme was launched in 2007, and is designed to improve the sustainability of a small number of local businesses by facilitating them to introduce environmental management policies, reduce environmental liabilities and enhance their compliance with environmental regulations. ‘BITES’ was developed as an annual assistance programme for local businesses, which allows a select group of 12 businesses to collaborate and review their environmental performance through a business prism in order to develop a holistic approach to their operations. The aim is that, in doing so, they will also raise profits as well as deliver greater resource efficiency and increase their market share and competitiveness.
‘BITES’ focuses upon five key modules consisting of (i) waste (ii) procurement (iii) water (iv) logistics and (v) energy, which businesses consider in a structured manner in order to test how they can improve their sustainability by reviewing their regulatory compliance and increase their competitiveness through new staff trainings and changing behaviours with contractors and suppliers.
The latest ‘BITES’ programme used a three-pronged approach; initially, the participants were provided with a comprehensive audit to identify key environmental issues from which a bespoke action plan was prepared for each business with appropriate mentoring to assist in its implementation. The participants also attended five workshops on the themes listed above to help them frame a number of business-specific issues, such as the development of an environmental management system, introduction of ‘green procurement’, better measurement and monitoring systems for waste and energy. Finally, and in order to provide ‘BITES’ with some context, site visits were organised to local environmental service organisations and a multi-national retailer which provided some examples of environmental best practices in action.
In 2010, the businesses which participated in ‘BITES’ identified £254,000 worth of annual savings whilst also significantly improving the environmental performance of their operations.
|Award category:||going green|
|Sector:||Environment, climate change, agriculture (incl. food safety) and fishery|
|Type of activity:|
|Keywords:||BITES Waste Belfast|
|Short English description:||‘BITES’ focuses upon five key modules consisting of (i) waste (ii) procurement (iii) water (iv) logistics and (v) energy, which businesses consider in a structured manner in order to test how they can improve their sustainability by reviewing their regulatory compliance and increase their competitiveness through new staff trainings and changing behaviours with contractors and suppliers.|
|Organisation:||Belfast City Council|
|Level of government:||local level|
|Size of organisation:||>100|
|Number of people involved:||1-5|
|EU membership:||EU member|