Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

More carbon reduction topics

More carbon reduction related guidance in alphabetical order

Additional resources

   

Reduce your impact on the environment by reducing your carbon emissions.

What you must do

Check if ESOS or the CRC Energy Efficiency Schemes apply to you

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) is designed to promote energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in the UK. It started in April 2010.

The scheme will affect you if your business' electricity is metered by at least one half hourly meter and you buy on the half hour market. Your electricity supplier can tell you if you buy electricity on the half hour market.

You are responsible for checking if the scheme applies to you. To check you can email CRC help.

See our guidance on the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme 

Find out about ESOS

Trade your emissions

Some businesses are required to reduce carbon dioxide emissions under the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). You may need a greenhouse gas permit and to report on your carbon dioxide emissions.

See our guidance on the emissions trading in:

EU Emissions trading

Good practice

Reduce your climate change levy

The climate change levy is a tax on using non-renewable energy. If the climate change levy applies to your business you will already be paying it as part of your energy bills. You can reduce the amount that you pay by reducing the amount of non-renewable energy that you use.

For more detailed guidance, and to find out if you qualify for an exemption or discount, see our guidance on the climate change levy in:

Cutting your carbon emissions

Improve your energy efficiency

You can save money and help the environment by taking steps to reduce your energy use.

See our guidance on energy use and efficiency.

Use renewable energy

You can reduce your carbon emissions by using energy from renewable sources.

Buy your energy using:

  • green tariffs where the provider buys the same amount of energy you use from a renewable source such as a wind farm
  • green funds where the provider invests money into researching or setting up renewable energy projects.

Make sure you know how your electricity supplier will check the green tariff or fund and how this will be displayed on your bill.

Look for a tariff certified under the Green Energy Certification Scheme. The scheme electricity tariffs have been independently checked, and meet the energy regulator Ofgem's Green Energy Supply Guidelines.

Green Energy Supply

Find out if there are any local community renewable energy schemes in your area that you could participate in.

In Scotland, the Energy Saving Trust has developed the Green Network for Businesses. This tool allows you to search by postcode for green businesses in your area. All these businesses have installed energy saving or energy generating technologies .

Once you identify the business that has installed the green technology you are interested in, contact them to organise a visit.

EST: Green Network for Business

Generate your own electricity, from wind or solar energy for example. You could get a loan from the Carbon Trust to help with the capital costs of installing small-scale renewable energy generators.

Take a short course to learn more about renewable technologies. The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) runs a number of how-to courses for people who want to generate their own electricity.

You can use the NetRegs e-learning tools to get a good overview of key issues. These tools are free to use and cover the essential points of each topic. They might be useful as a refresher course, or to make sure that staff  have a good understanding of their environmental responsibilities.

  • Preventing pollution – a general guide
  • Duty of care
  • Sinks, drains and sewers
  • WEEE
  • Generating renewable energy

All are available at: NetRegs e-learning tools

Watch our short videos:

How to manage transport impacts from your business

How to reduce carbon emissions from your business

Good practice in an office

How to manage oil on site

How to prepare an emergency response for your business

How to harvest rainwater for your business

Further information on reducing carbon emissions

Carbon Trust: Tools
Carbon Trust Standard
GOV.UK: Adapting to climate change 

Environmental tax breaks and obligations

Resource Efficient Scotland has produced a series of free, online training modules for SMEs. The training will help develop the skills and knowledge needed to put in place effective resource efficiency measures in your business. They deal with energy, waste and water efficiency. You can work through them at your own speed, choosing the modules that are relevant to your business.

Resource Efficient Scotland: Green Champions Training

The main purpose of Eco-schools is to develop environmental awareness and action among young people, making sustainability issues a central part of the school curriculum. This includes making links with the wider community and activities involving pupils, staff and parents. Eco-schools can promote an understanding of the issues surrounding sustainable development to a wide audience.

If your school registers with the Eco-schools programme you will need to develop practical steps to reduce the environmental impact of your school through pupil involvement in a range of activities.

Schools which are successful in following a programme will be rewarded with the Green Flag, which is a recognised and respected eco-label for environmental education and performance. For further information see the Eco-schools website.

Eco-schools: Scotland

Eco-schools: Northern Ireland

Eco-schools international

Farming is an industry that is very dependent on the weather. Weather can determine when certain activities on the farm take place. Climate change is already altering the patterns of weather we experience with more extreme events becoming more common. The most reliable predictions see these trends continuing.

There are two ways in which you can respond to these changes:

  • Helping to reduce carbon emissions to help prevent damaging climate change in the future
  • Adapting to the changes and planning for future events.

Both strategies offer the opportunity to improve the efficiency of your activities and improve the profitability of your business.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland there are programmes that are investigation how best to reduce resource use while maintaining the quality of the product, and what changes in farming practice will produce the best results now and in the foreseeable future.

Northern Ireland

The Greenhouse Gas Implementation Partnership (GHGIP) is a group chaired by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) with representatives from the agri-food sector and environmental stakeholders.

The GHGIP has been established with the aim of making sure that local food production is undertaken in the carbon efficient manner possible. Measures to reduce carbon emissions are very often associated with cost reductions and increased profitability.

The GHGIP have published a report which provides information on a range of subjects including:

  • Nutrient management
  • Beef and sheep
  • Dairy
  • Arable
  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy

GHGIP Phase I report 2014

Scotland

As a part of the Scottish Government's Climate Change Advisory Activity, the Scottish Rural College (SRUC) has developed information on a range of agricultural topics and has produced accompanying practical guides.

The main topics covered are:

  • Improving farm profitability
  • Carbon footprinting
  • Adapt to climate change
  • Soil and nutrition
  • Case studies

There is a range of practical guides to these topics that can be downloaded from the SRUC website.

SRUC: Farming for a better climate

SRUC: Downloadable guides – Improving farm profitability

Watch our short videos:

How to protect soil and water on a farm

How to reduce costs on a farm

How to store materials on a farm

How to make good use of nutrients on a farm

How to prevent diffuse pollution on a farm

Further information

DAERA - Greenhouse Gas Implementation Partnership

Defra: Climate Change Risk Assessment summary - Agriculture

European Commission - Farming and climate change

Good practice

Greener or more sustainable procurement principles can reduce the environmental impact of the goods you purchase and could reduce your costs.

The main theme of green procurement is to consider the life cycle of products as a whole, not just their purchase price. This includes thinking about the:

  • materials used in manufacture
  • methods of production and embedded energy
  • energy use of the product over its life span
  • eventual disposal costs and environmental impacts
  • potential for re-use or recycling.

You can apply the same principles to a range of goods which are commonly used in the education sector.

Consider using supplies of foodstuff from local suppliers and developing a sustainable food procurement policy.

Further information

General links

GOV.UK: Sustainable public procurement

Forum for the Future: Purchasing for sustainability 

EAUC: Green Directory of sustainable goods and services

Commission of the European Communities: Green Procurement handbook (Adobe PDF - 532KB)

Sustainability Exchange: Higher education environmental performance improvement

Construction and buildings links

The Energy Consortium: Project manager's guide to energy and water efficiency in buildings (Adobe PDF - 6.52MB)

Building Research Establishment: Sustainable construction

Green Consumer Guide: Building products

Sustainable food procurement links

Defra: Best practice in public sector food procurement (Adobe PDF - 364KB)

Fairtrade Foundation: Fairtrade products

The Virtual Salon

Ecohair and beauty have developed their Virtual Salon. You can log on and enter the virtual salon to learn about sustainable hair care in a fun and engaging way. Once finished you can get the Sustainable stylist certificate. Why not get all staff to work through the salon and be eligible for the Sustainable Salon Certificate.

Find out more ands sign up for your free access to the virtual salon.

Ecohair and Beauty: Virtual Salon

Energy use

You can reduce your energy consumption by making some simple changes to everyday tasks. Once these become accepted as the new norm, you will begin to achieve significant cost savings too.

The starting point is to monitor your energy use, checking bills and working out where energy is used in your salon. You can then record the benefits of taking steps to reduce energy consumption.

You can encourage staff to:

  • Switch off lights as they exit rooms or storage areas, (alternatively fit PIR to lights)
  • Switch off equipment immediately when not in use and between treatments, eg straightners. Avoid leaving any equipment on “stand by” mode.
  • Use water at a slightly lower temperature for hair washing or rinsing
  • Reducing blow drying and blow dry efficiently

Eco Hair and Beauty have videos that demonstrate a number of techniques that will reduce energy consumption.

Eco Hair and Beauty: Videos

Eco friendly products

Read our page on Preventing air pollution in the Hair and Beauty sector

Water use

see our page on Reducing water consumption in Hair and Beauty sector

Reducing waste

See our page on Reducing waste in the Hair and Beauty sector

Preventing air pollution

See our page on Air quality in the Hair and Beauty sector

Further information

Any business that wants to reduce its waste should contact:

In Scotland - Resource Efficient Scotland

In Northern Ireland – WRAP Northern Ireland

Eco Hair and Beauty have a wide range of resources and information aimed at helping to make the hair and beauty sector more sustainable and more efficient.

Eco Hair and Beauty – Building sustainability with hair and beauty

Innovative technologies, products, processes or services may improve your business. Some 'green technologies' may also benefit the environment and are supported by the environmental regulators.

However, before you use or develop innovative technologies or products of any type you need to consider their environmental impacts. The impacts of innovation can be unknown and you may need to take steps to comply with the law and protect the environment.

Examples of business and technological innovation include new:

  • uses of waste
  • waste recycling or reprocessing activities
  • waste water treatment methods
  • approaches to cleaning up land contamination or water pollution
  • environmental and clean technologies
  • uses of chemistry and chemicals
  • uses of biotechnology or nanotechnology.

If you are considering developing or using innovative products or processes, you should contact your environmental regulator as early as possible so that they can advise if there is anything you need to do, before you invest any money. You must make sure that you have all the appropriate permits, licences and exemptions in place before you start developing your product or process and trialling activities.

Designing and manufacturing a new product

When designing any new product you should consider the whole product life cycle. This means looking at the product's impact on the environment at each stage of its life, including its design, manufacture, distribution, use and how it will be finally disposed of at the end of its life.

If you make, fill, sell or handle packaging or packaging materials you must comply with packaging regulations.

Packaging

If you plan to manufacture new electrical or electronic equipment or battery powered products, you must comply with certain legislation.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

Restriction of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS)

Batteries

Energy labelling and energy efficient design

Using chemicals

If your activities involve using or manufacturing chemical substances, you must comply with the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation. If you have an unusual use for a substance, you should provide your suppliers with details of how you intend to use the chemical. This will allow them to include this information in their registration under REACH. You can choose not to give your suppliers this information if you feel it will compromise your business. In this case you must carry out your own chemical safety assessment. You must provide this information to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

REACH Regulation - manufacturing, importing, selling and using chemicals

You may also need to meet other requirements, depending on your activity and the type of chemical substances that you are using or manufacturing.

Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and fluorinated gases (F-gases)

Pesticides and biocides

Solvent emissions

Health and Safety Executive (HSE): Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)

HSE: Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures Regulations

Environmental claims

When you market and label your products you must present the environmental aspects of your product accurately.

Defra: Green labels and claims

Environmental and clean technology

Environmental and clean technologies are products or services that reduce the risk of harming the environment, minimise pollution, minimise the amount of materials used or correct environmental damage. You may be able to improve your products or services by switching to alternative clean technologies.

Eco-innovation observatory: A guide to eco-innovation for SMEs

Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology, or nanoscience, involves manipulating atoms and molecules to enhance materials or products, for example to create strong lightweight materials. Nanotechnology may be beneficial for product development, but the risks to the environment also need to be managed.

In Scotland, SEPA is considering classifying unbound carbon nanotube waste as special waste. Carbon nanotubes are used in materials, electronics and optics due to their exceptional strength and properties as conductors of heat.

Field trials and testing your new process or technology

If you have developed a new process or technology you may need approval from your environmental regulator to test or use it. Your environmental regulator will assess innovative technology on an individual basis. Be aware that your environmental regulator cannot endorse particular businesses or products.

You may not need permission from your environmental regulator to carry out a trial. However, it is an offence to cause pollution and you could be prosecuted.

If you plan to carry out field trials on your product or process you should contact your environmental regulator's local office. If you plan to run trials in two areas you will need to contact both area offices. You should let the area offices know that you are also speaking to another office.

Contact your environmental regulator

If your environmental regulator needs to test the environmental impact of your product or process, you will have to stop using and developing it while they carry out the assessment. To minimise lost time you should:

  • contact your environmental regulator as early as possible
  • be ready to give all the information needed as quickly as possible, eg chemical descriptions of the product and past trials.

You can ask your environmental regulator to sign a confidentiality agreement to ensure neither they, nor others they may involve in the test, use your ideas and information.

Waste controls on your activities

If any of your business activities produce waste, including waste from research or trials, you need to comply with your duty of care.

Your waste responsibilities

If your waste is classed as hazardous/special waste extra requirements will apply.

Hazardous/special waste

If you store, treat or dispose of waste, even as part of research or trials, you may need a permit, licence or exemption from your environmental regulator. You must have the appropriate paperwork in place before you start your activities.

If your activity is considered to pose a low risk to the environment, instead of requiring a permit or a licence you may be covered by a:

  • waste exemption
  • regulatory position statement.

Storing waste

If you store samples of waste for testing or research, a paragraph 38 waste exemption may apply to you. In Scotland you can store up to 10 tonnes of waste samples at the site where they are to be tested. In Northern Ireland there is no limit on the quantity of samples you can store.

Burning waste

If you burn waste, the Waste Incineration Directive (WID) is likely to apply to you. You may need a pollution prevention and control permit.

If you carry out research or burn certain types of waste, you may be excluded from WID. Experimental plants used for research, development and testing to improve the incineration process are excluded from WID if they burn less than 50 tonnes of waste per year. However, even if you are excluded from WID, you may still require a permit, licence or exemption.

Waste incineration

Controlling air pollution

If your activities release air pollutants into the environment, you may be committing an offence. You must get written authorisation from your environmental regulator or local council if your activities are likely to result in releasing emissions to air.

Preventing water pollution

If your activities pollute the water environment you are committing an offence. You must get written consent or authorisation from your environmental regulator before you discharge anything other than clean, uncontaminated water to surface waters or ground waters.

Discharges to water and sewer

Using water

Before you take water directly from surface waters or ground waters, you may need an abstraction licence. This includes taking or diverting water from rivers, streams, canals, lakes, springs, wells, boreholes, coastal waters and estuaries. You will not need an abstraction licence if you only use water from the mains supply.

If you intend to impound (hold back and store) water on or from a watercourse, for example to create a reservoir or build or alter any type of dam, weir or other impounding works, you may need a licence to impound water from your environmental regulator.

Water use and efficiency

Further information on innovation

The main source of funding to help businesses innovate is through the technology strategy board and its knowledge transfer networks.

Technology Strategy Board

Innovation UK: Knowlegde transfer groups

The Eco-innovation Observatory is a European network that collects and analyses eco-innovation information from across Europe and around the world.

Eco-Innovation Observatory: A guide to eco-innovation for SMEs

UK wide

Carbon Trust: Innovations

Contact your environmental regulator

HSE: Nanotechnologies

GOV.UK: Nanotechnology strategy forum

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)

Northern Ireland

Invest Northern Ireland

Queen's University Environmental Science and Technology Research Centre (QUESTOR)

Scotland

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Interface (Scotland) 

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Government: Science, technology and innovation

Hydronation water innovation service 

Waste permits, licences and exemptions

Scotland

Waste management licensing

Pollution prevention control permits

SEPA: Activities exempt from waste management licensing

Northern Ireland

Waste management licensing

Pollution prevention control permits

Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA): Activities exempt from waste management licensing

NIEA: Position statements

Treating waste

If you intend to treat and use certain construction wastes your activity may be covered by either a paragraph 13, 19 or 24 exemption.

If you intend to repair and refurbish waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) your activity may be covered by a paragraph 47 exemption in Scotland, and a paragraph 49 exemption in Northern Ireland.

Disposing of waste

If you intend to spread waste onto land to restore or improve the land, you may be covered by an exemption. There are exemptions covering certain waste types and certain land types. These include paragraphs 9, 10 and 11 in Northern Ireland, and paragraphs 7, 8 and 9 in Scotland.

Knowledge Transfer Network: Chemistry innovation

Knowledge Transfer Network: Electronics

Knowledge Transfer Network: Health technologies

Knowledge Transfer Network: Modern built environment

NetRegs does not provide detailed guidance on planning issues. If you intend to renovate, alter, demolish or do any work on a building which might be listed then you should contact the planning department of your local council.

Find your local council

Information on listed buildings, including repair grants, is available from the following sources:

NIEA

Historic Scotland

Running a business, whatever the size or type of your business, costs money and can impact on the environment. But you can take practical steps to manage your environmental performance and save money.

Good practice

Use an environmental management system

Your business can reduce its environmental impact by using an environmental management system (EMS). An EMS helps you to identify your impacts and then manage your activities, for example the energy or water you use or the waste you produce. This can help you to improve your environmental performance.

Your EMS should be appropriate to the type and size of your office activities.

For more information about how an EMS can help your office see our EMS guidance.

Environmental management systems and environmental reports

You can use the Environmental management toolkit to help manage your environmental impacts.

Northern Ireland environmental management toolkit

Scotland environmental management toolkit

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has produced a Sustainable Manufacturing Toolkit for use by businesses in the manufacturing sector.

OECD: Sustainable manufacturing toolkit

Report on your environmental performance

Your business can benefit from improving, and reporting on, its environmental performance. For example reporting will:

  • give you information about your current performance, and whether you are complying with legislation
  • identify where you could improve your activities and use resources more efficiently saving you money
  • involve your staff and help increase their environmental awareness
  • demonstrate your commitment to improving your environmental performance to your staff, customers and the public.

You should focus on how you manage your key environmental impacts, for example energy use and waste and document the progress you are making to minimise your impact.

To find out how you can measure and report on your business' environmental performance see:

Defra: Guidance on environmental reporting
Global Reporting Initiative: Small, Smart and Sustainable

Manage your purchases

You will buy a variety of goods and services as an office business, from paper to computers to catering and cleaning services.

You can reduce the environmental impact of the goods and services you purchase and could reduce your costs by following green or sustainable procurement principles.

Consider the environmental impacts during the full life cycle of a product or service when buying, including:

  • what raw materials are used to manufacture the product or provide the service
  • how the product is produced and the energy used
  • how the product or service will perform in use, eg will it use energy, water, produce waste
  • how much it will cost to dispose of the product and the environmental impacts of disposal
  • the potential for reuse or recycling the product
  • the environmental performance of your suppliers.

Before buying any goods, consider first whether the product or service needs to be bought at all.

Buying sustainable goods

Communicate with your staff

Encourage all your office staff to work together to improve your environmental performance. The day-to-day actions of your staff can significantly reduce your environmental impact. Ask someone to volunteer at your office as the environmental champion.

Engage with senior management to gain their support for environmental policies.

Raise awareness among staff about your policies and update them regularly on your progress and what you've achieved.

You can use the NetRegs e-learning tools to get a good overview of key issues. These tools are free to use and cover the essential points of each topic. They might be useful as a refresher course, or to make sure that staff  have a good understanding of their environmental responsibilities.

  • Preventing pollution – a general guide
  • Duty of care
  • Sinks, drains and sewers
  • WEEE
  • Generating renewable energy

All are available at: NetRegs e-learning tools

Customers now expect detailed information about the goods and services they buy.

You must label some products with environmental information. It is a good idea to provide additional information, for example about recycling options, to encourage your customers to consider the environment.

Customers may expect your staff to be able to answer questions, offer help and provide reliable information. This goes beyond your legal obligations, but providing environmental information about your products can help strengthen your reputation and could win you business.

What you must do

Provide information about electrical equipment

If you sell electrical or electronic equipment, you must provide information to your customers about its environmental impacts and how to dispose of it.

If you sell household electrical equipment, you must label products clearly with their energy efficiency ratings. For more information see our guidance on energy labelling.

For more information about what you have to do, see our guidance for equipment distributors and retailers

Provide information about chemicals you sell

  • If you sell a chemical that is supplied with a safety data sheet (SDS) you must pass this information on to your customers. The SDS contains information about the chemical, including details of how to store, use and dispose of it safely.
  • If you receive a chemical without an SDS, contact your supplier to find out whether or not they have to provide one. They may have to under the REACH Regulation.
  • You must make sure that your products carry any relevant hazard warning labels.

For more detailed information see our guidance on chemical labelling and information.

Tell customers about any take-back schemes you offer

You must provide a free take-back service for your customers if you sell:

  • electrical and electronic equipment
  • more than 32kg of portable batteries.

For more information see our guidance on:

Selling batteries

Equipment distributors and retailers

Good practice

Provide information about the source of your goods

Customers are becoming more interested in the source of goods, and this information will help customers identify you as an environmentally aware business. Customers may wish to know:

  • product's country of origin
  • how the product was transported
  • who made or grew the product.

Stock seasonal and local products

  • Sell fresh, seasonal and local produce to support local farmers, growers and traders.
  • This also helps you to ensure your goods have a smaller carbon footprint than the same goods bought from further afield.
  • The Red Tractor scheme assures that the food production chain meets food safety, animal welfare and environmental standards.

Red Tractor scheme - Assured food standards

Take part in local initiatives

  • Take part in community initiatives, such as local reusable bag schemes. Agree with other local shop owners that you are going to start charging for carrier bags.
  • Participating in local schemes helps to build a strong community spirit. It can also save you money, help save resources and reduce packaging waste.
  • Explain to your customers why you are participating in any schemes. This will encourage them to support you and the local community.

Offer a local delivery scheme

  • Offer free delivery to customers living nearby. This can help to build your customer base and improve your reputation.
  • Alternatively, you could hire out bicycle trailers so people can take bulky shopping home on the back of their bicycles and return the trailers later.
  • This will also encourage customers to come by bike.

Understand the labels on your products

  • Many products now carry 'green' labels. These may show information about a product's carbon footprint, if it is organic, or recycling options available for consumers.
  • Some labels certify that the product meets a particular environmental standard. For example, furniture, paper or tissues may carry the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo, telling consumers that the product has come from well-managed forests.
  • You may want to consider sourcing products with these labels. It is a good idea for you to be familiar with these labels, even if your products don't carry them, as your customers may ask about them.
  • Defra's guidance on certified green labels can help consumers understand what they mean.

GOV.UK: Environmental claims and labels: A guide for businesses 

Sell organic

  • If you want to sell organic goods, there are certain standards that they should meet. Customers may look out for 'Organic Certification' with the code for the certification body.

GOV.UK: Organic standards and certification 

Provide recycling information

  • If you rebrand products, or sell own-brand goods, you could include recycling information on the packaging.
  • The On-Pack Recycling Label scheme offers easy-to-understand recycling symbols, and helps increase recycling rates in the UK. It costs £700 to sign up to the scheme, but there are reduced rates for small businesses and charities.

On-Pack Recycling Label scheme

Further information

World Fair Trade Organisation

Fairtrade Foundation

British Association for Fair Trade shops

Running a retail or wholesale outlet, whatever its size, costs money and can impact on the environment. But you can take practical steps to manage your environmental performance and save money.

Managing your environmental performance can help you to improve your reputation and win new business. It can help you communicate to your customers and staff that you comply with legislation and that you care about your impact on the environment.

Good practice

Use an environmental management system

Your business can reduce its environmental impact by using an environmental management system (EMS). An EMS helps you to identify your business' impacts and then manage your activities, for example the waste you produce or the energy or water you use. This can help you to improve your environmental performance and ultimately save money.

For more information about how an EMS can help your retail or wholesale business see our guidance on environmental management systems.

Report on your environmental performance

Your business can benefit from improving, and reporting on, its environmental performance. For example reporting will:

  • give you information about your current performance, and whether you are complying with legislation
  • identify where you could improve your activities and use resources more efficiently saving you money
  • involve your staff and help increase their environmental awareness
  • demonstrate your commitment to improving your environmental performance to your staff, customers and the public.

You should focus on how you manage your key environmental impacts, for example waste management and energy use. Document the progress you are making. This will help you motivate staff.

To find out how you can measure and report on your business' environmental performance see:

What is an environmental report?

Defra: Guidance on environmental reporting
Global Reporting Initiative: Small, Smart and Sustainable

The NIEA and SEPA have also developed a toolkit that will help you comply with your Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) permit or waste management licence and manage your environmental performance.

NIEA management toolkit

SEPA management toolkit

Manage your supply chain

You can reduce the environmental impact of your business by considering how you source your goods.

When you are choosing products to sell, consider:

  • where the product comes from - in general, the further something has travelled, the larger the environmental impact it will have
  • what raw materials are used to manufacture the product
  • how the product has been made, and the energy that has gone into making it
  • how the product will be used - for example you could choose a wind-up torch rather than a battery-powered one
  • the packaging that a product comes in - is the packaging necessary?
  • how long the product will last, and how it will be disposed of
  • the potential for reusing or recycling the product when it reaches the end of its useful lifetime
  • the environmental performance of your suppliers.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) produces guidance for retailers on how to manage their supply chain.

Zero Waste Scotland: Help for the retail sector

Wrap Northern Ireland: Reducing food waste through supply chain management (Adobe pdf 2.4 MB)

Communicate with your staff

Encourage your staff to work together to improve your environmental performance. The day-to-day actions of your staff can reduce your environmental impact significantly. You could ask a member of staff in your business to be an environmental champion - you may want to have a champion in each store if you are part of a group, or at your warehouse too.

Engage with senior management to gain their support for environmental policies.

Raise awareness among staff about your policies and update them regularly on your progress and what you've achieved.

You can use the NetRegs e-learning tools to get a good overview of key issues. These tools are free to use and cover the essential points of each topic. They might be useful as a refresher course, or to make sure that staff  have a good understanding of their environmental responsibilities.

  • Preventing pollution – a general guide
  • Duty of care
  • Sinks, drains and sewers
  • WEEE
  • Generating renewable energy

All are available at: NetRegs e-learning tools

Your road transport business, whatever its size, costs money and can impact on the environment. But you can take practical steps to manage your environmental performance and save money.

Managing your environmental performance can help you to enhance your reputation and win new business. You can tell your customers and staff that you comply with legislation and that you care about your impact on the environment.

Good practice

Use an environmental management system

Your business can use an environmental management system (EMS) to reduce its environmental impact. An EMS helps you to identify your business' impact on the environment and then manage your activities to reduce your impact, for example by reducing the energy or water you use or the waste you produce. This can help you to improve your environmental performance.

Your EMS should be appropriate to the type and size of your activities.

For more information about how an EMS can help your business, see our EMS guidance.

What is an environmental management system?

Report on your environmental performance

Your business can benefit from improving its environmental performance and reporting on this to both staff and your customers.

Reporting will:

  • give you information about your current performance, and whether you are complying with legislation
  • identify where you could improve your activities and use resources more efficiently, saving you money
  • involve your staff and help increase their environmental awareness
  • help you compare your performance with similar businesses or industry standards
  • demonstrate to your staff, customers and the public your commitment to improving your environmental performance.

You should focus on how you manage your key environmental impacts, for example your vehicle carbon emissions, using fuel and oils safely and waste management. Document the progress you are making. This will help you involve and motivate your staff.

To find out how you can measure and report on your business' environmental performance see:

What is an environmental report?

GOV.UK: Guidance on environmental reporting

Global Reporting Initiative: Small, Smart and Sustainable

The NIEA and SEPA have also developed a toolkit that will help you comply with your Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) permit or waste management licence and manage your environmental performance.

Northern Ireland environmental management toolkit

Scotland environmental management toolkit

Manage your purchases

The goods and services you buy, such as parts and components to service and maintain your vehicles, office supplies, and cleaning and utility services, all have an environmental impact.

You can reduce the environmental impact of the goods and services you buy and could reduce your costs by following green or sustainable procurement principles.

Consider the environmental impacts during the full life cycle of a product or service when buying, including:

  • what raw materials are used to manufacture the product or provide the service
  • how the product is produced and the energy used
  • how the product or service will perform in use, eg will it use energy or water or produce waste
  • how much it will cost to dispose of the product and the environmental impacts of disposal
  • the potential for reuse or recycling the product
  • the environmental performance of your suppliers.

Before buying any goods, consider first whether the product or service needs to be bought at all.

Buying sustainable goods and services

Communicate with your staff

Encourage all your staff to work together to improve your environmental performance. The day-to-day actions of your staff can reduce your environmental impact significantly. Ask someone to volunteer at your site as the environmental champion.

Engage with senior management to gain their support for environmental policies.

Raise awareness among staff about your policies and update them regularly on your progress and what you've achieved.

You can use the NetRegs e-learning tools to get a good overview of key issues. These tools are free to use and cover the essential points of each topic. They might be useful as a refresher course, or to make sure that staff  have a good understanding of their environmental responsibilities.

  • Preventing pollution – a general guide
  • Duty of care
  • Sinks, drains and sewers
  • WEEE
  • Generating renewable energy

All are available at: NetRegs e-learning tools

Further information on managing environmental performance of road transport businesses

Both the Fleet Best Practice and the Van Best Practice programmes offer free advice and information on how road transport businesses should manage their vehicle fleets.

Transport Scotland: Freight Best Practice Programme

DfT :SAFED for Van drivers

  The Energy Saving Trust has produced a smart phone app that can save you money and track your fuel use. You can find out about the app at:

Energy saving Trust: FuelGood

NetRegs - Promoting environmental compliance and good practice

This calculator is designed for Scottish users – however similar savings can be achieved by businesses in Northern Ireland.

In Northern Ireland you should contact:

Invest in Northern Ireland: Manage energy and waste

Support is also available from:

WRAP Northern Ireland for waste reduction and procurement

The Carbon Trust NI for energy savings

The Consumer Council for water savings

Whats new on NetRegs

  • December NetRegs Updates

    Did you miss December's NetRegs Update? You can view them here <Scotland Update> <Northern Ireland Update> or visit the updates archive pages on this website.

  • LIFE SMART Waste project news

    The latest LIFE SMART Waste e-newsletter has been published to highlight the project’s progress towards demonstrating innovative ways of understanding, tackling and reducing waste-related crime in Europe. <Read more>

  • SEPA unveils new waste to resources framework

    A new framework for tackling waste has been unveiled by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), focussing on how SEPA will support a circular economy in Scotland.
    One Planet Prosperity – A Waste to Resources Framework

  • Waste – Duty of Care Roles and Responsibilities

    The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.

    https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/waste-duty-care-responsibilities

  • Please let us know your thoughts on our new website

    What do you think about our new and improved website. We want your feedback on what you like, what you don’t like and ways we can continue to improve the website. Follow the link to complete the very short survey: NetRegs website – User feedback

  • NEW guidance on Environmental Management Systems

    We have recently updated and improved our guidance on Environmental Management Systems (EMS). You can find the guidance via the Environmental Topics tab or alternatively select the following link Environmental Management Systems (EMS).

  • Consultation on proposed changes to the packaging recycling business targets

    See NI Future legislation or Scotland Future legislation for details of the Consultation

  • NetRegs SMEnvironment survey 2016

    NetRegs has carried out a survey of environmental awareness among SMEs. There are separate reports for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  • NIEA Guidance - Greenfield Excavated Matrials in Construction

    NIEA and the CEF have developed a Regulatory Position to promote Sustainable re-use of natural excavated material from Greenfield sites.

    NIEA: Guidance on the Regulation of Greenfield Excavated Materials in Construction and Development

  • New GPP 2 Above Ground Oil Storage

    The replacements for the PPGs are being developed. Now available GPP 2 Above Ground Oil Storage

  • SEPA Consultation on an Intergated Authorisation Framework

    SEPA is asking for your views on the proposals for integrated authorisations.

    Consultation documents

  • GPP 24 Stables, Kennels and Catteries

    NEW GPP 24 now available: Stables, Kennels and Catteries

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Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms