On Wednesday afternoon I headed across to Jurys Inn in central Glasgow armed with two pop up banner stands and a bunch of Waste Aware Business leaflets. I also had in my pocket a memory stick which held a brand new presentation for the campaign.
The purpose of the trip was to speak and host a stand at an environmental event for SMEs in the Glasgow area organised by Going Green which I was asked to attend by the event organiser, Julie Griffin.
I must admit I hadn’t heard of Going Green prior to the invitation so I didn’t quite know what to expect. However the list of speakers, including Sharon McLeish (the Finance Manager of the Jury’s Inn hotels) and Alan Parnell (a representative from SEPA/Netregs) and the fact the event was sponsored by CIWM and Business Gateway, suggested it was likely to be worthwhile.
I was third to speak and covered the usual topics of “who we are” and “what we do” but also ventured into some generic “top tips” for businesses with their waste. These included the following:
- Evaluate current situation. Measure waste arisings in your business.
- Look for easy reductions. E.g. double sided printing.
- Ask for advice from direct support organisations. E.g. BEP, Envirowise.
- Consider recycling. Use the WAB directory. If already recycling, compare costs.
- Remember it’s an ongoing process.
- All staff should be aware of drive to reduce waste.
- Internal communication is key for businesses to achieve their goals.
- Promote your successes. Tell customers how well you’re doing.
It’s difficult to give meaningful advice of this type to businesses when you don’t know which sector they operate in so I tried to give general points which would be relevant to almost any business. I also talked around the bullet points to help bring across the finer details.
Anyway, as I was presenting to the audience of about 40 people I noticed that a large proportion of them were much younger than I would have expected. Many were also dressed quite trendily compared your average business person. So, at the exhibition after the presentations (with the aforementioned banner stands) I couldn’t help but ask the people facilitating why this was. The response surprised me: much of the audience was made up of Event Management students from a local college as, so it turned out, were the organisers of the event. In fact the whole thing was a project set up as part of an HND course in Event Management!
I must admit I had a small inkling that the event might have been organised by a relatively new events team, judging by their website which only detailed this one event. However the venue, the speakers and the overall organisation was really of a very high standard and they are to be commended for their work. Ok, it would have been nice to have more SME representatives in the audience but there were still quite a few and more importantly the students who listened patiently to the three of us may well have taken away hints and tips for their future working lives. So it was a valuable experience all round.
I should also add that the presentation by Sharon McLeish showed that she and her colleagues have made great strides towards making Jurys Inn in Glasgow environmentally friendly. I found this information about their water reduction online which details some of their achievements. However they have also looked at energy and waste as part of an ongoing drive to reduce their footprint. The level of detail in Sharon’s presentation showing real figures for how much they have addressed all aspects of their work really shows the extent of their work.
A final note relates to Alan’s presentation which covered an important sideline of the work carried out by SEPA: Netregs. The Netregs website, which has recently been revamped, covers a wide range of legal and regulatory advice for businesses of all sizes in all sectors. Like WAB, it is focussed mainly on smaller businesses who might need a bit more assistance when it comes to knowing what their obligations are. Also, they link to our directory from their homepage, for which we are very grateful.