Over 400 Basque companies are becoming more competitive through eco-efficient actions
Just over a year on from the programme being introduced, 410 Basque companies have already signed up to save raw materials and include the environmental variable in their organisation thanks to the Eco-efficiency Programme in the Basque Company, under the impetus of the Basque Government's Department of the Environment in conjunction with Ihobe. Eco-efficiency is being consolidated in the Basque Country as one of the main business values.
The industrial sector accounts for the bulk of member organisations, with over 50%, as it has a large margin for improvement in areas such as saving material resources. Service companies, engineering and architecture firms account for 37%, while the remaining 13% of members are from other sectors.
This diversity of activities and sectors enriches the Eco-efficiency Programme and is fostering partnership opportunities between companies.
As far as the lines of action of the programme are concerned, the SMEs in action line has increased significantly and now accounts for up to half the members, while the member ratio in the other two lines of action, environmental leadership and clean technologies, is holding steady. This trend is a good sample of the effectiveness of the Programme, both in large corporations and in small and medium-sized companies.
Collaboration with business associations
The Eco-efficiency Programme in the Basque Company has opted to work closely with the different multipliers to bring eco-efficiency and the support services offered by the programme to the greatest number of companies of the Basque Autonomous Community. Partnerships agreements have thus been signed with 15 entities, such as regional development agencies or business associations, which have led to outreach initiatives involving personalised visits to over 500 organisations, most of which were SMEs and micro-SMEs.
These partner entities have provide the channel for 150 companies to sign up to the Eco-efficiency Programme and for the provision of numerous services focused on fostering eco-efficient practices, by enhancing employee skills and by identifying the most important environmental aspects. Another service provided is the support of an expert in the field when implementing plans of action in the company, for the legal compliance of the facilities and optimising resources consumption.
Twelve working groups have also been set up to tackle the specific needs in common environmental aspects, in areas such as legislative compliance, ecodesign, atmospheric emissions, environmental management systems, waste and landfills. This has all led to the participants implementing environmental improvement and adaptation projects.
Throughout 2012, different public calls will be launched for regional development agencies, clusters and/or business and sector associations to submit work projects and joint partner initiatives with the member companies.