A recent independent review of Invest NI’s Sustainable Productivity Programme has confirmed that the programme is delivering a wide range of benefits to local businesses. Over two years, 2012–2014, the programme supported 1,242 businesses in Northern Ireland and resulted in:
The programme helps businesses to achieve cost savings through energy, water, waste and raw material efficiencies, and to improve competitiveness, productivity and sustainability.
It has four key areas:
1. An Energy Efficiency Loan Fund, which provides interest-free loans of between £3,000 and £400,000 to businesses to support the installation of more energy efficient equipment. Loans have been used for air conditioning, heating, insulation, heat recovery and lighting systems. There have also been projects involving industrial process technologies such as materials handling equipment, process controls and refrigeration. The fund is managed by the Carbon Trust.
2. Industrial Symbiosis support generates opportunities for the exchange of materials, energy, water and/or by-products, or the shared use of assets, logistics and expertise. It’s part funded by ERDF and delivered by International Synergies Ltd. Read about the programme in our blog Resource Efficiency and the Circular Economy.
3. Project Management Support is delivered by our Technical Advisors. These advisors provide free impartial advice and information to businesses with an annual resource spend of more than £30,000. External consultants are used to undertake Resource Efficiency Audits and Technical Consultancy Projects. The Resource Efficiency Audits carried out in 2012–2014 identified an average of over £100,000 of cost savings per business. In the same period 472 Technical Consultancy Projects were carried out which anticipate generating cost savings of nearly £26m.
4. A Resource Efficiency Capital Grant of up to £40,000 has been available to help businesses buy and install new equipment to reduce water or material costs. In the 2012–2014 period nearly £1.8m in grants was committed to 52 projects. It is anticipated that this grant will be available again in 2015/16.
Our Sustainable Development team has also produced best practice guides to help companies become more efficient, save money and consider new technologies. You can download the best practice guides here:
If you want to find out about how the Sustainable Productivity Programme can help your business, contact us on 0800 181 4422.