Eco-credentials becoming key for contractors

Proving the use of sustainable practices is becoming an essential part of winning work with many clients, according to Ground Control senior contracts manager Neil Huck.

Clients are increasingly looking for firms that can prove environmental credentials through accreditation, buying policies, energy and waste management.

Achieving ISO 14001 is a good way of demonstrating environmental commitment, said Huck. He added that buying materials locally is also important, along with cutting miles that staff are travelling to jobs. "Be aware of strategically placing staff close to where they are working to cut down on fuel.

"At the moment, if you haven't got an environmental policy you will lose contracts because clients are asking for it. They are putting (environmental policy) into the specification and more clients are specifying that materials come from within a certain radius."

Proper training for staff using pesticides is critical, so is good soil management and processes for dealing with waste products.

Huck added that firms that can deal with waste through recycling and composting would be able to make large cost savings.

In Germany, there is a consortium of landscapers recycling their green waste, which leads to a discount on electricity bills. Huck said: "If you don't go down this (sustainable) route, you will lose out."

Huck debated green waste usage and standards during a European Landscape Contractors Association trip to Athens this week.

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