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The Sustainability Accreditation Training Course, recognised by Cambridge University, was led by Lloyds TSB Commercial in the bank’s building at Meridian East Business Park in Leicester.

Lloyds TSB Commercial relationship managers were joined by representatives from Nottingham-based businesses Peopleshare and UHY Hacker Young, Goodman Corporate Finance in Derby, Chattertons Solicitors in Lincolnshire and Robert Whowell and Partners in Leicestershire.

The course looked at the new regulations with which businesses must now comply in relation to sustainability, and helped the SMEs to understand what they are already doing that is sustainable and how they can promote this.

The course covered four key areas – sustainable development, climate change, climate policy and customer application. Training was provided to increase understanding of each topic, allowing the relationship managers and businesses to use and share this knowledge with their customers.

It also highlighted actions businesses can take to improve their sustainability, including switching off unnecessary equipment during the day and out of hours, which can save companies five per cent on energy costs, and introducing virtual meetings with teleconferencing technology to remove the need for travel.

Chris Curtis, business and environment manager for Lloyds TSB Commercial in the East Midlands and Lincolnshire, said:

“We hosted this course because sustainability is an area which many businesses do not have a good understanding of, but which they all need to be actively involved in. A third of SMEs say small changes they have made to become more sustainable have helped with employee engagement, retaining clients and winning new business.

“Many of our customers have contracts that require a sustainability policy, but many don’t understand what is involved in structuring this. Lloyds TSB Commercial has a dedicated sustainability website and trained relationship managers to help SMEs understand this process. We provide guidance on how they can improve their business’ efficiency, a change that allows them to stand out from their competitors.

“Those that attended the course were very positive with their feedback, and found the training engaging and informative. We are now in talks to hold more courses in the local area in 2012.”

Paul Goodman, managing director at Goodman Corporate Finance, said:

“Sustainability was not necessarily a priority for companies a few years ago, but recent legislation changes have meant we have had to take a closer look at what it means for our business.

“Thanks to guidance from Lloyds TSB Commercial our understanding of what sustainability is has really grown, to the extent where we felt confident enough to establish a sustainable division, Business Sustainability Ltd. We now advise businesses how they can be sustainable and the economic and consumer benefits it can bring.

“The course was really beneficial and will go a long way to help both and our clients remain aware of what we need to do to be sustainable.”