Thursday, 9 July 2015

The business of going green in BS4

Bristol South needs sustainable development and has for years been neglected compared to other parts of Bristol. It was most welcome therefore to see investment projects such as Filwood Green Business Park open for business this May. What the city and country needs is very many more developments like this and even better ones - boosting local economies, creating jobs and going green. Sadly we still have a cuts focussed government, not an investment, rebuilding, sustainable development focussed one as yesterday's Budget clearly shows.

What is sustainable (or green) business though? And why is it so important? Business is about commercial organisations buying and selling. Sustainable (or green) business means the whole commercial organisation and everything it does is socially and ecologically responsible. This has been expanded on and explained in a number of ways (see here).

Descriptions offered are not always complete and objective due to vested interests however, so if you hear a business, or an individual for that matter, talking up their sustainability or green credentials test what they say. Check that they are including and explaining where they stand on these six criteria:  efficiency replacing waste; renewability and not resource squandering; living within environmental limits instead of pollution; socio-economic goals geared to wellbeing for all not more and more money for a few; this generation and those to come, the world over, getting their dues; and local community empowerment.

Truly sustainable (green) businesses should be able to demonstrate that they are: meeting local workforce needs; offering satisfying fairly paid work; using local goods and services; supporting learning and explaining sustainability; reducing inequalities and meeting basic needs; offering car free access for all; preventing poor health; reducing pollution and climate change; using energy, water and materials efficiently; protecting plants and wildlife; working healthily and safely; supporting local distinctiveness; partners in enabling peoples physical, psychological and social development; partners in involving people in decision making.

Filwood Green Business Park measures up well against a range of these criteria. Its design meets the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) Outstanding standard. It was Highly Commended at the BREEAM Awards last year, as the highest scoring industrial building in the South of England. The process used for planning the park was recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute as an example of Planning Excellence in their 2013 Awards and ideas from local people, such as a green roof, were incorporated. Complete sustainability performance will emerge over time as the business park goes into operation.

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