Along with the additional paperwork that will have to be completed to follow the requirements, plant managers will have to ensure their suppliers minimise the impact their products have on theenvironment. The guidelines aim to provide the public with more information about the impact of plants on the environment impact. They form part of a series of measures by the UK government to cutdown on industrial pollution.
The guidelines, published by the department for the environment, food and rural affairs (Defra), deal with such issues as greenhouse gas emissions, waste and water usage.
"Companies that measure, manage and communicate their environmental performance are inherently well placed," Defrasaid in a statement. "They understand how to improve their processes, seize market opportunities, reduce their costs and comply with regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations."
By being more aware of environmental issues through the reporting framework companies will be able to cut costs in the raw materials and supplies they use, by reducing waste, water and energy useand becoming more efficient in transport, travel, and packaging.
"By reducing environmental impacts, such as waste to landfill, businesses can significantly reduce any associated taxes or levies, or avoid the cost of compliance altogether,"Defra stated. "Responsible management of risks and liabilities can lead to reduced insurance costs."
The agency estimates UK manufacturing could save up to £3bn each year, equivalent to seven per cent of profits by adopting waste disposal techniques that minimise the impact on the environment.
About 140 of the top 250 UK companies currently provide reports on their impact on the environmental.
Early this month Defra consulted with industry on the implementation next year of a directive banning manufacturers and retailers from disposing food of animal origin in the country's landfills.
The EU-wide animal by-products directive went into force for all other EU members at the start of this year, but the UK received a concession allowing its industry to continue the practice until 1January 2006. The UK will ask the European Commission to extend the concession for another year in a bid to give businesses more time to comply.
Currently all raw meat and fish from industrial waste must be burned in the UK. All other animal food waste may go into landfill. The UK received the concession due to its industrial legacy and itsheavy dependence on landfill disposal for waste, Defra spokesperson Susanne Baker told FoodProductionDaily.com. The UK currently burns only eightper cent of its waste, while the rest of the EU burns half their waste. The UK needed the concession to allow it to make a more orderly transition to meet the requirements, she said.