Advantage West Midlands chief executive Mick Laverty has given a new challenge to business to get green.

It came as he saw first-hand the creative potential and environmental excellence of one of the region's landmark office buildings when he visited the £22 million Portland House UK headquarters of Lafarge Cement in Solihull.

Lafarge Cement is the country's largest cement manufacturer and relocated to the 60,000 sq ft office complex in Bickenhill Lane from Chilton, Oxfordshire.

The company's decision to move to the West Midlands was a key inward investment success.

Around 140 staff work from the site, bringing an estimated inward investment of £5 million into and around the Solihull area each year.

The three-storey building was developed by Birmingham-based Stoford using the latest sustainable construction techniques which contributed towards Portland House receiving the environmental rating "very good" under the Building Research Establishment's BREEAM award scheme which assesses environmental impact and performance.

During a tour of the building, Mr Laverty was shown the cavernous barrel-vaulted concrete ceilings which act as a built-in "air-conditioner".

Lafarge Cement has also developed a green transport plan which includes providing details of public transport to staff, priority parking for car sharers and pedestrian-friendly access to minimise the impact of traffic.

Mr Laverty said: "The West Midlands region of today contains a fantastic diversity in its business, its places and its people - and I am delighted that a world-class company such as Lafarge Cement is part of that success story and making a vital contribution to our economy.

"The region faces - and must play a part in responding to - the global challenge of climate change. All businesses have to consider their impact on the environment."

Lafarge Cement's senior teams for executive, finance, sales, manufacturing, logistics, communications and HR relocated in September last year.

Dr Erdogan Pekena, managing director for Lafarge Cement in the UK, said: "We are already playing our part in such a strategically important economy. Our location in Solihull is the perfect position for an organisation which operates nationwide and internationally, with its fantastic road, rail and air links and the West Midlands' established position as the geographical and industrial hub of the UK.

"From the outset we wanted to ensure our new head office clearly demonstrated the creative potential and environmental performance of our products. This building is a showcase for how concrete can meet the design and environmental challenges of the 21st century."

The region is home to 2,300 foreign-owned enterprises employing around 250,000 people, one in 10 of workforce.