Chemical Giant Cleans Up; WASTE MANAGEMENT: Arena Network Environmental Awards

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Byline: SION BARRY

CHEMICAL giant Dow Corning was last night named Wales's most environmentally-friendly business.

The American-owned company's plant at Barry was named the overall winner of the prestigious Arena Network Environmental Awards 2001 at a ceremony at Cardiff International Arena.

The awards, presented by television celebrity Bill Oddie, showcased the most outstanding examples of Welsh companies putting the environment at the centre of their operations.

Environment Minister Sue Essex praised the winners in the seven categories.

And she pledged to help the drive to push the performance of Welsh companies into the top league in the UK and in Europe.

Ms Essex said, "Companies in Wales are making excellent progress substantiated by market research, and I believe a key factor has been the development of targeted support delivered at a local level by Welsh service providers such as Arena Network and UK-wide programmes such as Envirowise.

"Wales must continue to work to develop the reputation of being a clean, green place to do business. The National Assembly for Wales is committed to sustainable development, and our aim is to continue to support the efforts of business to solve problems and put them at the top in the competitive arena."

One area of concern for Wales is the management of waste.

The Assembly has now issued a draft Wales Waste Strategy for public consultation, encouraging local authorities away from landfill and incineration and towards recycling and composting.

Dow Corning was cited for its outstanding overall approach to global and local environmental responsibility, for reducing its atmospheric emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide by 50pc and for minimising waste.

Its goal is to have zero emissions.

Arena Network chairman Brian Charles said, "Our primary aim is to help boost the Welsh economy by making every business in Wales aware that it can only be competitive in a modern commercial context if it has adopted the best environmental practices. …