COMPANY PROFILE  Technical director Paul Eagleton benefits to their construction projects.

But it’s the firm’s social enterprise programme which is having the biggest impact.

Launched two years ago, Driving Change emerged from a shortage of young drivers in the waste sector. It is now three quarters of the way towards its target of changing 20 lives for the better by the end of this year.

Today the business achieves a 99% diversion from landfill, with a national brokerage operation that sees it work with a network of partners across the UK, including major construction giant Laing O’Rourke.

“We listen to our customers,” said Paul. “And they like what we do.

“We help give them clarity. For example, it means all of Laing O’Rourke’s recycling figures are in the same format, job by job, region by region, refurbishments, rebuild - everything is the same format.

“Blue-chip contractors want to see they are using a company that’s safe, with good skips, good trucks, good environmental policies and good procedures,” he adds.

“And they need to be able to prove they are using a responsible waste management company.

“Others might be cheaper, but they don’t provide the service and added value

that we offer. Every skip we deal with undergoes a level of scrutiny.”

The time and effort involved in scrutinising each skip, the admin and the regularly updated technology and software all adds up.

But Paul insists such a level of service is vital to meet today’s rising demands from customers for more clarity over their waste and its final destinations.

Meanwhile, the business is meeting other modern demands too, by reviewing its carbon emissions and taking steps to offset its output.

Links to woodland projects see large, tricky-to-handle tree root balls sent to the Woodland Trust in Bolton to become tables, and better quality wood delivered to artisans with the Woodland Trust in Cheshire. There it becomes artworks and furniture which, in turn, can be used by companies like Laing O’Rourke to meet contractual requirements to provide social

“Driving Change has three aims: to help young kids with an apprenticeship, to offer opportunities to certain ex- offenders who really want to rehabilitate and repair their lives, and to provide driving opportunities to the long-term unemployed,” says Paul.

“So if someone comes to the business, commits to us to work, does the hard graft out in all weather, then we’ll put them through their HGV licence, pay the cost and put them in a truck.”

Driving Change has supported ex- offenders, given jobs to long-term unemployed – boosting their self-esteem as well as providing a regular wage - hired three apprentices and helped to contribute around £1m of ‘social value’.

It is meeting clients’ calls for a positive social responsibility and - an unexpected benefit - has attracted people who want to work for a firm that values and invests in its workforce.

As an indication of how important Driving Change has become, the firm has just appointed its first social enterprise director.

The firm’s strong values stem from John, Ted and Neil, Paul adds. “They wouldn’t tell anyone to do something that they would not do themselves. No-one commits themselves more to a business than they do.

“Waste is a risky business,” he adds. “Every piece of kit seems to cost £50,000 or £100,000. You need the right kit and the right machinery.

“There’s a lot of risk and it’s an intense industry. You can’t play at it.

“For the three of them to have dedicated so much time and energy to it and to have succeeded as they have is really incredible.” 39

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