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One third of big businesses in the UK are failing to make proper plans for their environmental impact, according to the British Standards Institute (BSI).

The BSI surveyed 100 budget holders in FTSE 250 companies. It says the vast majority of businesses recognise the importance of the decade-old environmental standard ISO 14001, (94 per cent of those surveyed said they thought the standard would improve their environmental performance).

However, almost one in three had yet to put in place a formal plan for minimising their emissions and maximising energy efficiency. Of those that had, the BSI said Rolls-Royce, George Wimpey, and Smiths Group were worthy of special note.

Going green is an increasingly good PR move, if nothing else (witness Mr Branson and his alternative energy research spin-off). The BSI says most businesses now understand this. More than half believe a decent environmental plan improves corporate image.

But the research also found that a minority (one in 10) also sees a commitment to the environment as something that could improve their bottom line.

BSI director Mike Lowe says he is encouraged by the findings. "It is encouraging to see that companies recognise the social and business benefits of going green but we have clearly got some way to go. None of us can afford to wait another 10 years when advice and guidance based on years of business experience is readily available to use now." ®

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