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South East organisations join forces to cut costs during the downturn

9 February 2009
Low carbon group
SEEDA's Pam Alexander and Oona Muirhead join representatives from the Low Carbon Regional Leadership Group at the 2009 RES Partners Conference.

"Cutting carbon and materials costs will free up our resources to help our customers in the downturn. In this respect we are no different to businesses, who can also help balance their books by cutting carbon costs", said the Low Carbon Regional Leadership Group for the South East. The group, initiated by SEEDA, is made up of thirteen regional public & third sector organisations, as well as the regional board of the CBI.

There is a need for the public sector to achieve maximum efficiency during these difficult economic times, and SEEDA has committed to a £3 million cut in administration costs and overheads, a 15% saving, over the next three years. The Low Carbon Regional Leadership Group will serve to ensure examples of best practice will be quickly spread between the thirteen operational member groups, and thus provide successful examples of cost-cutting green schemes to businesses throughout the South East, increasing profit margins at a crucial time.

As well as these vital efficiency savings to the public purse, the initiatives acted on by the group will contribute to a crucial drop in carbon emissions that will help to build a sustainable, low-carbon future for the South East.

Through the Regional Leadership Group, public bodies and regional business leaders will be able to share knowledge and experience of projects that lower both costs and carbon emissions, and thus ensure that the most successful initiatives are rolled out across the region.

Oona Muirhead CBE, SEEDA’s Executive Director for Skills and Sustainable Prosperity, said: "Right now we want to be focusing as much of our resources as possible on helping businesses through the downturn to emerge stronger for the recovery. Cutting overheads through green programmes is a simple and effective way to free up funds to do this, and combines with our commitment to lowering carbon emissions. We’re delighted that thirteen organisations within the South East, public, private and third sector, have similar priorities, and are willing to work together to ensure that the South East gets the best possible results."

Malcolm Hyde, Director of CBI South East, added: "Business is willing to do what it takes to help tackle climate change and our members understand there are cost savings to be had from cutting energy use, making efficiencies and thereby reducing emissions. Further ideas for achieving this are always welcome and this South East initiative should set a good example to all."

Initiatives already proposed include:

  • office sharing between Government agencies,
  • joint procurement initiatives, saving money by securing contracts as a group rather than individually,
  • reducing the amount of ‘business miles’ by using video conferencing facilities instead of relying on private transport to travel to meetings, or encouraging teleworking from home through Work Wise initiatives.

Additional information

  • The 13 organisations involved in the Low Carbon Regional Leadership Group are: SEEDA; Environment Agency; GOSE; CBI South East; Learning & Skills Council; English Heritage; Natural England; Forestry Commission; NHS South Coast; NHS South Central; Groundwork SE; Higher Education SE; RAISE.
  • SEEDA’s commitment to lower administration costs from £23.2m to £20.3 million and to lower carbon emissions by 30% can be found in the SEEDA Corporate Plan 2008-11, and applies to the three financial years from 2008/9 to 2010/11.
  • Work Wise is a not-for-profit initiative aiming to promote greener, smarter working practices. Visit the website for more information.

For media enquiries, please contact:

James Fulker, Press Officer
Tel: 01483 470 155

Martin Bolton, SEEDA Head of Environmental Development
Tel: 01483 500 791

For more information please contact our press office

Tel: 01483 470155