Recession Leaves Legacy of Resource Efficiency as East Midlands Businesses Undergo Major 'Thrift Shift'

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The recession could leave a legacy of improved resource efficiency in the East Midlands as businesses adopt an increasingly 'thrifty' mindset - that's according to a new report published today by sustainability experts Envirowise.


The Envirowise Business Thrift Shift Report, which encompasses responses from more than 500 UK companies, reveals that more than two thirds (71%) of respondents in the East Midlands have developed a more detailed knowledge of their spending and resource use as a result of the recession. This includes everything from investment in raw materials, transport and energy, to staffing, equipment and professional services.

Reduction of spend on raw materials and consumables was a key area of cut back for 44% of the region's companies, with a large number also minimising their water, energy and transport use. And this 'thrift shift' is set to continue, with 97% of respondents expecting to be more careful about how they use their resources once recovery comes.

Richard Thompson, Envirowise Regional Manager for the East Midlands, said: "Businesses in the East Midlands have been facing some serious challenges as a result of the recession and this is perhaps reflected in the number of survey respondents reducing staff costs during this period (64%). However, it is also clear that for many companies this period of economic difficulty has stimulated a more resource conscious mindset, galvanising environment al commitments that had perhaps been lower down the business agenda.

"We know from experience that resource efficiency goes hand-in-hand with profitability, so it is encouraging to see better management of raw materials, energy and water forming an important component of the business response to recession in the region.

"Such an approach does not only lead to financial savings; it can also equip businesses to face increasing levels of environmental legislation and provides an important competitive advantage as customers become more environmentally conscious. These companies are not only more likely to survive the recession in the short-term, but are also better placed to thrive when the economy begins to recover."

Nationally, almost three-quarters of the 500 businesses surveyed (73%) had developed a more detailed knowledge of their spending and resource use as a result of the recession. The Envirowise Business Thrift Shift Report is available at

Businesses can access free guidance and practical advice on resource efficiency by visiting or calling the Envirowise advice line on 0800 585794.

Issued on behalf of Envirowise by Trimedia. For further media information please contact Rod Dennis or Davinia Livock on 0117 929 2311 or email [email protected] / [email protected]

Notes to editors

About Envirowise:
Envirowise is a Government-funded programme dedicated to putting the sustainable use of resources at the heart of UK business practice. Since 1994 Envirowise has helped UK businesses save over £1bn by enabling them to significantly reduce their environmental footprints. Envirowise offers businesses of all sizes and sectors a wide range of free, independent and practical advice designed to genuinely improve their processes, profitability and competitiveness. Services include:

  •     The Envirowise Advice Line on 0800 585 794
  •     An encyclopaedic website ( of valuable and relevant    information
  •     Over 200 events each year, from Product Design Workshops to major exhibitions

About the Envirowise Business Thrift Shift Report:
This report presents the findings of Envirowise research aimed at understanding the extent to which business attitudes to resource efficiency have altered as a result of the economic climate, as well as identifying areas where lasting - and more welcome - changes have been made.

Led by Continental Research, the business omnibus survey was conducted during September 2009. Participants included Managing Directors and Finance Directors from companies across England, Scotland and Wales, with more than 300 small businesses (with a turnover of £50k to £1 million) and 200 medium to large businesses (with a turnover of more than £1 million) being surveyed. The research also encompassed a wide variety of sectors and industries, including wholesale, hotel and catering, business services, retail, manufacturing, construction, transport, agriculture and mining.

In addition, Envirowise has spoken to a wide range of businesses and industry commentators to seek individual opinions on the Envirowise Business Thrift Shift - many of which have been included in the report, which is available to download at

RESOURCES: resource efficiency, environmental impact, environment, environmental management , sustainabilitys,waste management, sustainable, green business environmental policy and water consumption.


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