Terry Ahearn, CEO of SEPA - One planet system

04 November 2016

“In a world of growing population, urbanisation, inequality, climate change and other systemic challenges, small incremental change is important, but not enough. We need transformational change.

Environment Protection Agencies are increasingly seeking to develop significantly smarter ways of increasing resource efficiency and reducing pollution. The key to doing this is to help businesses increase resource efficiency and pollution reduction in ways that make money. This is the challenge of environmental protection in the 21st Century. We must find ways to prosper within our one planet system.

SEPA as an organisation has a fantastic opportunity to work with many people and organisations (individual citizens, communities, businesses, non-government organisations, local councils, Scottish Government directorates) and can therefore play an important role in positively influencing and driving sustainable economic growth. By working with businesses to reduce environmental impacts through our new statutory purpose and regulatory strategy – “One Planet Prosperity”, we are creating opportunities to deliver multiple benefits including sustainability, health, wellbeing, and prosperity.

Societies that are constantly innovating will best rise to the challenges of living and prospering in a one planet system. New approaches for delivering environmental improvements provide businesses with opportunities to enhance their sustainability and economic performance. This will be essential for success and profitability both now and in the future. Put simply, the only successful businesses in the 21st century will be those with low environmental impact. These are the types of businesses that could win a VIBES award. The VIBES awards play a critical role in recognising and rewarding businesses for going beyond “business as usual” and driving sustainable growth through innovation. They seek out and encourage businesses who have already stepped up to the challenge.”

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