HC Deb 19 November 1996 vol 285 cc514-5W
Mr. Martyn Jones

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the ways in which his Department has(a) demonstrated by example and (b)promoted externally, the ability to improve efficiency and competitiveness through environmental auditing; and if he will make a statement. [4532]

Mr. Page

My Department has taken significant steps to improve its own environmental performance. It reduced energy costs by 14.13 per cent. in the five years to March 1996 and is preparing new targets for reducing both energy usage and waste. In keeping with the commitment in the 1990 White Paper "This Common Inheritance", the Department undertook a review of its own environment management capabilities. Work has started on implementing potential improvements identified. Advice has been given to line management to ensure that the environment has been taken into account in policy formulation. Two examples of this in practice will feature in "Case studies of environmental appraisal of policies in Government Departments", scheduled to be published in the new year.

My Department has encouraged UK business to adopt positive environment management, which includes the audit of environmental performance, as a way to deal with the environment as a strategic business issue. To this end, the Department commissioned the United Kingdom Accreditation Service to create an accreditation system to allow accredited certificates to be issued against BS 7750, and latterly, ISO 14001.