Local, regional, national and global firms have secured River-Friendly Business status through an initiative which is helping companies work together to tackle water pollution.

Trent Rivers Trust’s River-Friendly Business accreditation scheme is backed by the Environment Agency and Severn Trent and was launched in 2018. It awards businesses based within the Trent catchment Bronze, Silver and Gold status for helping to improve their local water environment. The overriding message is, “Only rain down the drain.”

This year some 10 companies which together employ more than 2,000 staff within former coalfield areas in parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire have officially become River-Friendly Businesses.

Representatives from the firms will accept their accolade – and a River-Friendly Business plaque – at a ceremony today at The Post Mill Centre in South Normanton, Derbyshire. The event will also be attended by representatives of the Environment Agency, local councils, and by community groups and volunteers who have been taking part in TRT’s wider The River Starts Here initiative.

The River-Friendly Businesses include the first firms to secure Gold status – chemicals giant BASF plc Alfreton, internationally famous confectioner Ferrero and explosives specialist EPC-UK – along with companies of all shapes and sizes, from world-leading skin care and hand hygiene firm SC Johnson Ltd to Shepherd Hydraulics & Pneumatics Ltd, a small local firm which has become a market leader within its industry.

Julie Wozniczka, who runs the River-Friendly Business scheme and is Senior Project Manager at TRT, said:

“One of the most exciting and satisfying aspects of River-Friendly Business is the way in which it has quickly nurtured a business-led network in which companies support each other to prevent water pollution, for example by hosting visits to share learning and practical steps they can implement.

“It’s also vital that businesses of all sizes take part and so we’re delighted that we now have companies taking part that range in size from nine staff to more than 1,000. Together they are not only making a real difference to the local environment but are inspiring others to get involved.”

To become a River-Friendly Business, participants follow 6 steps – from ensuring water drains that lead to brooks are clearly marked to storing oils and chemicals in bunds to contain spills. Bronze award winners make staff aware of the campaign and identify steps they can take; Silver winners carry out actions; and Gold winners embed a river-friendly ethos in their business and support other organisations.

Chloe Palmer, Chief Executive of Trent Rivers Trust, said:

“At Gold level, not only are pollution prevention systems truly embedded, but businesses take the message out to other businesses and display signs promoting the scheme and celebrating their involvement in it. Together with TRT they have helped to build a culture which attracts and welcomes other businesses to look after their local watercourses. All three Gold winners have also promoted the scheme internationally through their own business communications.”

As well as ensuring they have robust systems and procedures in place to prevent pollution, businesses have been raising awareness among their staff about the impact of water pollution on local watercourses. Staff have also taken part in training and volunteering activities designed to help trace sources of pollution and improve the quality of water in local brooks that lead into the Rivers Amber, Derwent and Erewash.

Zara Turtle, Senior Biodiversity Coordinator, at Severn Trent, said: “At Severn Trent water quality is at the core of our business, so being able to partner Trent Rivers Trust in spreading these important messages of ‘only rain down the drain’ and how to look after your local water course is really beneficial to us – helping to reduce treatment costs and therefore keep customer’s bills down. We are really pleased to see the River-Friendly Business awards grow from its successful launch last year. It’s obviously capturing the heart and imagination of the businesses involved, and inspiring to see them start to support each other to improve the environment they work in.”

Nick Maybury, Site Manager at Gold winner BASF plc Alfreton, said: “One of the greatest threats to our environment is the belief that someone else will fix or save it. Our award shows BASF Alfreton is both committed to embedding a river friendly ethos in our company and to encourage other local businesses to do the same. BASF Alfreton is very proud to receive this prestigious award as we try and protect and improve our local environment for us and others to enjoy.”

Chris Barlow, Operations Manager at Gold winner EPC-UK, said: “The gold award represents EPC-UK’s ever increasing commitment to improving our site and the surrounding environment.”

Rebecca Dilks, Environment and Energy Manager at Gold winner Ferrero’s Alfreton base, said: “Working with the Trent Rivers Trust has not only given us a real drive, focus and motivation to improve our local environment for both people and wildlife alike, but it has also been a real pleasure to build new and lasting relationships with Julie Wozniczka and with other like-minded local businesses. The award is really a fantastic bonus giving us external recognition of all of the hard work that has gone into delivering some great results on site.”

The River-Friendly Businesses are:

River-Friendly Business – Gold

  • BASF plc Alfreton
  • EPC-UK
  • Ferrero

River-Friendly Business – Silver & Bronze

  • A-Chem
  • Diversey UK Production Ltd
  • SC Johnson Professional
  • Solenis UK Ltd

River-Friendly Business – Bronze

  • The Denby Pottery Company Ltd
  • Kuehne + Nagel
  • Shepherd Hydraulics & Pneumatics Ltd

The River-Friendly Business accreditation scheme was launched in 2018. It forms part of The River Starts Here initiative, which is bringing communities, businesses and other organisations together to make brooks leading into the Rivers Amber, Derwent and Erewash cleaner, more enjoyable and richer in wildlife.

The area covered by the River-Friendly Business scheme includes Alfreton, South Normanton, Huthwaite, Hilcote, Ripley, Denby, Belper, Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Heanor.