An Environmental Academy was launched last night to help companies under pressure from mounting green legislation and customer demands.
The training venture is a sister company to Newcastle-based consultancy The Environment Practice.
The launch at the Castle Keep in Newcastle was attended by more than 100 representatives from businesses, education and regeneration bodies.
Academy managing director Rita Callender said: "At a time when everyone from Richard Branson to David Cameron are proclaiming the importance of issues such as climate change, the Environmental Academy will provide a centre of excellence for environmental training for a wide range of industries. It represents a significant step forward for environmental training in the UK.
"The ever increasing emphasis on all aspects of environmental management has meant that the legislative burden on companies is growing, as are the expectations of customers, employees and the supply chain.
"There is no sign of this reducing and consequently the demand for well qualified and knowledgeable staff will continue to increase. A dedicated training school which is committed to providing high standards in environmental training will help bridge this gap."
Ms Callender said that firms were having to meet environmental checklists to deal with organisations like councils.
"Any company which does not rise to the environmental challenge risks falling by the wayside," she said.
Environmental training could also help companies by cutting costs in areas like waste and energy. Meanwhile, individuals committed to cutting waste at home are lapsing into bad habits as soon as they get to work, says new research from Envirowise.
The survey of the region's office workers found that a third took no action to reduce the amount of resources they use during the working day.
"This is a symptom of our pressurised workplaces where there is often too little time or encouragement for people to take action on waste," said Professor Toby Wall, director of the Institute of Work Psychology.
"North-East employers should consider quickly establishing some simple steps to help employees take more ownership of this issue - perhaps by appointing a champion to lead waste-busting initiatives."