Date: 
Monday, March 28, 2011 - 11:43

The chief executive of the Eden Project is calling on businesses in the county to get involved with Green Foundation to help future-proof Cornwall.

Green Foundation is a free programme at Eden open to all Cornish businesses to help them learn about sustainability and get ahead in the low-carbon economy.

Tim Smit hopes that by collaborating on innovative projects, businesses who complete the unique programme will be inspired to transform Cornwall into the green peninsula, through learning how to adapt to the changing business landscape.

He said: “Green Foundation is something which I think is hugely important and years from now I hope will be seen as the seed of a great, great idea that will transform the Cornwall that we all know and love.”

Seventy forward-thinking businessmen and women in Cornwall are about to complete their Green Foundation training at Eden on April 1. Among them are the Screech Owl Sanctuary (St Columb), Plough to Plate (Pensilva, near Liskeard), Chaffins Foodservice (Redruth), Wadebridge Wines, Bored Skate Shack (St Austell), Trevanion House Holidays (Wadebridge) and the Cornish Chilli Company (Redruth).

A unique element to the Green Foundation programme, which is funded by the European Social Fund Convergence programme, is the peer-to-peer business exchange where participants are paired up with another organisation in their group. The aim is to encourage creativity and collaboration between the participants and to help them strengthen the Cornish business community.

Tim added: “My major ambition for the Green Foundation is that maybe in 15 years’ time there would be a group of Cornish business people who are collaborating with each other, sharing best practice and sharing connections - and they will have seen the start of the journey here with us.”

Two businesses currently on the programme are the exchange partners Plough to Plate, a food distribution company, and the catering company Chaffins Foodservice. Sherry Boocock, director of Plough to Plate, said: “Being buddied up with another business has been great. We’ve come away with lots of tips to improve our business, and we also have exciting plans for collaborating with other businesses to fill space on empty delivery vehicles to save fuel, and implement joint buying programmes from suppliers.

“We are going to start having conversations with existing suppliers, as well as asking much tougher questions of our potential new ones, about what they are doing about green issues in their businesses. It's great to feel ahead of the game."

So far, over 100 businesses from a wide range of sectors have completed Green Foundation including toy manufacturing, ICT, the arts, catering, hoteliers, boat repairers, marketing, design, law and accountancy. On April 1, 2011, all of these businesses are coming together at Eden to network and share ideas.

Green Foundation is a free programme open to all Cornish businesses and sole traders. The programme is now at its halfway point and is running until September. Both business-owners and employees can take part by calling Sarah Ross on 01726 818597 or registering online at www.greenfoundation.org.uk