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Green Business Barbados 2010 in Review

Green Business Barbados

Green Business Barbados

In April 2010 the first green business programme in the Caribbean, Green Business Barbados, was launched by the Future Centre Trust (FCT) in partnership with the Ministry of the Environment and the British High Commission (BHC). The creation of the programme came in response to a grass roots “bottom up” call from FCT members who saw a need within the business community that was not being fulfilled and a “top down” government initiative to facilitate the creation of the green economy right here in Barbados.

Business all over the world is changing to include green business strategy within their business plans. Not only does this offer a competitive edge for products and services but it also offers a sleek way to reduce overall operations costs, upgrade your marketing plan and boost employee productivity. In addition to these benefits investing in sustainability is cutting edge and helps to rewrite the competitive rules in the markets to encourage business to invest in more sustainable practices and encourage the development of the green economy. Examples of this include developing green jobs within a slowing economy and protecting the environment by reducing overall CO2 emissions associated with operations. Investments for the future could include energy saving technology, efficient lighting and electrical systems, reducing waste stream by recycling and implementing various waste reduction measures, reducing chemical use, curbing water use and wastage, and educating employees on things they can do at work and at home to become a good steward to the earth.

In 2010 several businesses stepped out of the box to explore how they could improve their operations through the Green Business Barbados programme. The British High Commission got things going with their 8,000 gallon capacity rain water harvesting system at the High Commissioner’s Residence at BenMar used to irrigate the grounds. Among other things they also updated their recycling system within their office, removed all plastic and Styrofoam cups and mugs and replaced them with reusable options and switched to an e-invite system to reduce paper use within the office. The BHC also signed onto the 10:10 Carbon Initiative to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% in 2010 by putting energy reduction measures into place and measuring energy usage in order to benchmark use through the use of a carbon calculator programme managed by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Rain Water Harvesting System

The second green business for the year came from our offshore sector in an attempt to improve their social and environmental corporate responsibility and identity. Shell Western Supply & Trading and its Green Team Coordinator Lyn-Marie Sealy successfully implemented an internal recycling system that soon became so popular within the office they had to upgrade to a larger system shortly thereafter. Shell West also put several measures in place to reduce energy and paper use within the office and encouraged employees to employ these measures at home by giving reusable shopping bags as Christmas gifts to all employees.

The Nation Publishing Co. was the first large organisation with over 200 employees to invest in a new Go Green Initiative. Through the Nation Newspaper and other media, The Nation has been able to reach out to the Barbadian community through their green ‘Habitat’ section in the newspaper and internal publication and to their employees during their green month. The Nation will also be the first large scale commercial entity to upgrade to a full systems recycling programme to improve the recoverability of waste materials such as paper, cardboard, newspapers, plastics, glass, metals and e-waste. Through the process of the programme, a partnership was forged between Susan Ryan, the Marketing and Sales Manager for Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre (SBRC) at the Vaucluse Transfer Station in St. Thomas, and Frank Griffith, Operations Manager at the Nation Publishing, to put in place a recycling system to recycle newspapers and newsprint starting within the office, and in the long term, branching out to the wider Barbadian community. In addition to these large scale initiatives the Nation was also keen to include renewable energy investment and energy independence in their long term Green Action Plan goals and objectives.

Next up for the award was Verdun House a local non-profit organization focused on rehabilitating males within our community with substance abuse addictions.  Verdun was very keen to have a green Strategy and Action Plan for their organization that reflected their commitment to sustainable operations including investment in renewable energy. In addition the office was able to put into place many measures to reduce overall energy use and paper consumption as well as update their recycling system adding e-waste and cardboard to their recoverable waste streams. Verdun, however, was already ahead of the game before the programme was initiated proven by their investment in rain water harvesting systems and the use of biofuels within their company vehicles. During the programme training was provided to the clients and employees that encouraged them not only how to lead more sustainable lives at work and at home, but also how to invest in their future by giving them ideas on how they could provide products and services to the green economy. Some implementation of permaculture and organic farming techniques also occur in the onsite garden and farm where all organic waste is composted and used to enrich the soil.

Studio Blue Architects was the first small business and architectural firm to invest in the programme. Their practise has been for many years, focused on green building options and thir investment in the Green Business Barbados programme provided them with an opportunity to fully transfer that interest to their operations and practise. Studio Blue expanded their recycling programme to include glass and plastics and forged a relationship with their office neighbours to set up a recycling system to be used by all offices within their complex. Finally, through the programme Studio Blue was able to switch its cleaning products from non –biodegradable, chemical based cleaners to biodegradable and organic based cleaning products that are not just better for the environment, but also for health and wellness.

Harris Paints, still in their final stages of re-assessment and training, implemented a progressive initiative to reduce waste by initiating a Troweltex pail return programme. This plan was part of a much larger call to reduce waste within their plant and to work with recycling companies to recycle and/or reuse much of their outputs. During the programme Harris Paints also upgraded their water system to improve efficiency and installed a rain water harvesting system for use within the plant. Harris Paints also launched an internal Greening Initiative to educate employees and customers on measures they could put in place to reduce their carbon footprint by designing and posting signage about the programme and its benefits.

Some organisations still working to achieve the standards include Rostrevor Hotel in the Gap, which was the first Intimate Hotel to request the programme for their site, and Royal Bank of Canada International Wealth Management. Robyn Gollop-Knight, Rostrevor’s Manager, was looking for an affordable way to go green that would supply her with the product and service information that was needed to implement a recycling programme, water and energy conservation programme and pollution reduction initiative. Royal Bank of Canada International Wealth Management is looking for innovative green ways to highlight their lobby and will be working with their landlord toward implementing certain measures within the building to improve on energy, water efficiency and indoor air quality.

Invest in the future of your business in 2011 and upgrade to a cutting edge sustainability strategy and action plan that will help to propel your business into the future and focus on helping you improve all the facets of your business most important to your organisation. Invest in the environment, culture and future of your country today. For more information about the Green Business Barbados Programme visit our website at www.futurecentretrust.org or email us at lani@futurecentretrust.org .



Category/ies:Barbados News.
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