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Green Business Network

Interfoam uses GBN support to manage impacts and save money

Resource Efficiency Savings of £40000 through GBN REAP Scheme

ISO 14001 registration through Beds County Council sponsored GBN Seminars




Kempston-based Interfoam supplies the office and domestic furniture, aircraft, medical, automotive, and truck and bus seating industries with moulded flexible polyurethane (PU) foam seating components, is a long-standing GBN member, and has taken full advantage of the free advice and training on offer to help achieve its environmental successes. These culminated in the company achieving ISO 14001 registration for its environmental management system in May 2007.

“We want to thank GBN for providing training and seminars which have been an enormous help to us in achieving this recognition. Also, the BETI training programme gave us useful background and knowledge.” Dave Blatchford, quality and environmental manager at Interfoam

While the company does not supply directly to local authorities and government, its customers often do. The major reason for achieving ISO 14001 was because Interfoam recognized that registration to the Standard is increasingly becoming a necessity when tendering for larger contracts and it wanted to boost its own customers’ confidence. “In fact,” Dave says, “our environmental management systems are a bit ahead of some of the people we supply.

Apart from the ability to tender for contracts, the company has now started to see major benefits from implementing the environmental management system. The business’s classification under IPPC (Pollution Prevention Control) Part B has now gone down from high to medium, which means it pays less for its licence and is only subject to once yearly visits rather than six monthly.

Interfoam receives ISO 14001 certificationIn addition, the environmental management system demands that the company monitors and reduces its environmental impacts. This means that all raw materials, utilities, waste and transport are assessed and reduced wherever possible. The obvious advantage of this is that it saves the company money. Dave says: “Registration helps us to control our costs – we’re more aware of what we’re spending and where. Managing growth and reducing its impact is now our main priority.”

And over the past year, Interfoam has used its management system, together with help provided by GBN under the Resource Efficiency Action Programme (REAP) and other free business support, to make some significant reductions and changes to its operations. The company has achieved:

Overall, this has made in excess of £40,000 year on year savings for the company, and this, combined with additional control and monitoring of resources under its ISO 14001 system, is likely to become of paramount importance over the coming months. With an uncertain economic climate, efficient and well-run companies are most likely to thrive and survive. Dave Blatchford believes Interfoam is now well positioned to weather any economic storms. He says: “It’s all going to come down to strong companies and weak companies. We’re much stronger now and would anticipate taking business from those that aren’t strong enough to compete.”