Project of the Week: ENWORKS helps small companies save scarce resources and become more competitive in North West England
ENWORKS is a network of local organisations that provides a single source of professional environmental advice and support for businesses right across the urban and rural landscape of North West of England. This EU co-funded project won the RegioStars Award 2013 in the category Sustainable Growth.
ENWORKS aims to improve the competitiveness and productivity of North West Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) by reducing their exposure to environmental risks and improving their resource efficiency. Furthermore, they set out to improve the region’s skills and knowledge on environmental management and to demonstrate that environmental practice is profitable.
ENWORKS, which benefited from EUR 7 380 000 EU-financing, offers support across a wide range of issues, from managing environmental risk through to the rewards of reducing energy, water and material usage, and improving waste management. It addresses the broad spectrum of issues that face business today, including: eco-design, process efficiency, sustainable procurement, carbon foot-printing and climate change adaptation.
Every business has free access to the ENWORKS Online Resource Efficiency Toolkit, a custom-built software which helps managers to understand, prioritise,track and assess their improvements and savings. ENWORKS also organises training and networking events, and provides regular e-bulletins and online resources, including business case studies, to assist with knowledge and skills transfer into SMEs.
Through the last two EU-supported programmes, ENWORKS has helped North West SMEs to identify￡79 million of annual cost savings through resource efficiency, ￡13 million of which have been implemented so far. These improvements have saved over 47 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, 413 000 m3 of water and 9 300 tonnes of materials to date. In addition, the environmental improvements have created or safeguarded over 960 jobs, and over ￡113 million of sales.
Samantha Nicholson, ENWORKS Programmes Director, states about the project:
‘Our hands-on, one-to-one support has helped nearly 4 000 SMEs in the last few years alone to reduce their consumption of energy, fuel, water and materials, and where necessary, substitute resources with alternatives that have lower environmental impacts. The savings we achieve through simple, low-cost or no-cost efficiency measures go straight onto a business’s bottom line, and we then encourage them to re-invest by making further improvements, that will bring even greater, long-term savings.’