Brief description Helping businesses to achieve cost savings in energy, waste and water.
Region Internal EU borders
Countries United Kingdom / Northern Ireland (UK/NI) – Ireland (IE)
Location UK/NI: Ards Borough Council; Armagh City & District Council; Antrim Borough Council; Banbridge District Council; Craigavon Borough Council; Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council; Down District Council; Newry & Mourne District Council; North Down Borough Council

IE: Cavan County Council; Louth County Council; Meath County Council; Monaghan County Council

Type of project partners Municipalities
Regional government units
Size (total budget including EU grants) Over € 500,000
Main themes Competitiveness, business and SME development, trade and investment
Environmental protection, climate change and risk prevention
Keywords (Types of Activities) Marketing, promotional activities, awareness campaigns
Keywords (Aspects of Good Practice) Genuine cross-border dimension
Genuine cross-border impact
Good dissemination
Good sustainability
Background and Objectives The project engages with businesses across 13 local authority areas in the border regions between Ireland (IE) and Northern Ireland (UK) with the aim of helping them to identify and achieve cost savings in energy, waste and water.
Main activities The project invites businesses to join the STEM project. These must meet criteria such as to be located within the boundaries of one of the 13 participating local authority areas and be an SME with fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than €50 million.

Businesses who sign up to the STEM Project can choose one of two options – Savings or Systems:

  • under the Savings option each business is  assigned a designated Environmental Officer who helps identify cost savings in the areas of energy, waste and water consumption.
  • under the Systems option the process of implementing an Environmental Management Systems (EMS) is project managed by the STEM Team right through to the audit stage. The STEM Project have appointed an independent audit company to audit the system – whether it is ISO 14001, BS8 555, Origin Green and Envirocert – and will also support the financial cost of the audit in the first year.

Regardless of which option a business chooses it will receive up to 5 days site specific support from a dedicated Environmental Officer, as well as access to a range of networking events.

Main results The STEM Project has assisted over 300 local businesses in the cross-border region, greatly exceeding the original estimate of 220,  and collectively saving them €664,000 per annum. Eighty percent of these businesses stated that they were now more competitive as a result of participating in the STEM Project and 35% were now able to access new markets.

The project’s support for the implementation of a quality management system, including the adoption of an environmental management system (EMS), has fostered an environmentally and economically sustainable enterprise culture in the cross-border region. As a result:

  • trade barriers that existed due to lack of such quality systems have now been significantly reduced, and
  • savings have been achieved in monetary terms as well as in environmental costs.
Aspects of good practice This project (STEM II) built on the success of its predecessor (STEM I) which attracted a large number of distinctions and awards in the 2004-2008 period.

The STEM project has demostrated cross-border good practice of an examplary nature being a wholly integrated cross-border operation, and has achieved tangible benefits which are sustainable in the longer term, in both the economic and environmental spheres.

Start and completion dates: November 2011 – March 2015
More information
Partner STEM Project

Southern Group Environmental Health Committee
Old Armagh City Hospital, 39 Abbey Street
Armagh, BT61 7DY, UK

T: +44 28 37 515 810

F: +44 28 37 515 801