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Businesses take steps to look after the environment

18 February 2020

Councillors with Hopwood Hall college staff.

A new scheme has been launched in the borough of Rochdale to encourage businesses to look after the environment.

Rochdale Borough Council’s new eco-business scheme has already seen 50 businesses take a pledge to lower their carbon footprint.

The eco-business pledge contains a number of suggested changes businesses can make including reducing waste, using eco-friendly products and reducing the use of electrical equipment.

The council has recently set up a group to generate ideas around climate change, ensuring that the council continues to deliver its emergency motion to be carbon neutral by 2038. The group includes the borough’s Member of Youth Parliament, local residents, and the voluntary sector.

"Being eco-friendly is at the forefront of everyone's minds"

Springhill Hospice has signed up to the scheme and has made a number of commitments at the hospice and across their nine retail sites. The charity will be taking an eco-approach to their events reducing single-use plastic, encouraging people to bring their own bottles and offering a refill station, and changing to eco-friendly wooden medals.

An environmental working group, led by head gardener Nick Dent, has been set up to look at what changes the teams within the hospice can make. The produce grown in hospice gardens is already used in their kitchen but they are excited to see what else they can do as part of their commitment to the scheme.

Emily Kennedy, head of income generation and marketing at Springhill Hospice, said “We’re delighted to support the scheme. Being eco-friendly is at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment and whilst we already have a good approach we’re committed to bettering this and joining with others in the borough to create a more sustainable future”.

"Hopwood Hall College is offering free online courses in environmental sustainability"

Hopwood Hall College has also signed up to the scheme as the environment is increasingly a priority for students and staff. Their waste management system sees the majority of waste being turned into fuel or being recycled. Over the last 12 months alone the waste management has generated enough energy to power an office printer for 13 years, a fridge freezer for 19 years, 52 televisions for a year and drive 14,000 miles in a family electric car.

To help raise awareness of the importance of taking care of the environment the college is offering free online courses to residents in environmental sustainability as well as an award in preventing plastic pollution. These short online courses are open to anyone over 19 and no formal qualifications are required to complete the courses.

Julia Heap, principal and CEO at Hopwood Hall, said: “Sustainability is one of the college’s core values and so this scheme really resonates with our college community. We are continually working to create a sustainable, eco-friendly environment so pledging to reduce our carbon footprint makes great sense.”

"As a council, we have an ambitious target to be carbon neutral by 2038"

The borough’s eco-business scheme is open to businesses regardless of size or type of organisation.

Councillor Tom Besford has worked with public protection on the scheme and is delighted with the response from businesses: “We all need to take steps to look after the environment and, as a council, we have an ambitious target to be carbon neutral by 2038. It’s really promising to see how keen businesses are to sign up to the scheme and I can’t wait to see what changes are made as a result.” 

Once signed up online, a business will receive a copy of their pledge and an eco-friendly sign to display at their business to show people they’re part of the scheme and the council’s website hosts a list of businesses who have signed up.