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Finalists 2012

An independent panel of 20 Jury members from across Europe met in Copenhagen from 14 to 16 March 2012 to assess and evaluate the record 156 entries from 24 EU and candidate countries submitted for this year's edition of the awards. The Jury consists of representatives from industry, non-governmental organisations, academia and public authorities. All Jury members are experts in environmental matters.

The 2012 Business Awards were open to companies from all EU Member States and candidate countries. Companies had to succeed in national award schemes before being nominated by national award bodies for the European Business Awards. The finalists for the European Business Awards chosen are:

The Management Award
Portugal Portugal
Company: Águas do Douro e Paiva, S.A.
Project: An integrated and sustainable management model for drinking water utilities.

Águas do Douro e Paiva has developed an integrated management system based on the principles of product quality, the prevention of environmental impacts and compensation of CO2 emissions. This business model can be replicated by other utility companies around the world. Highlights include:

  • The company is a regional water supplier which is involved in the design, construction and management of water catchment, treatment and distribution;
  • The company has paid particular attention to customer satisfaction as well as the motivation and involvement of employees by implementing an ambitious communication and community building strategy;
  • It has made major improvements to its infrastructure.
France France
Company: SNCF
Project: The implementation of sustainable procurement creates value: a global value for business, the environment, society and suppliers

The Jury selected this company for its initiative in implementing a new procurement procedure which integrates sustainability into its purchasing systems. Highlights include:

  • The programme takes cost and quality into account as well as the CSR criteria, and incorporates these considerations into technical specifications and calls for tenders.
  • The company's purchasing staff has evolved from simple buyers to business partners who have a broader understanding of the company's requirements and their external suppliers.
  • The whole procurement organisation and processes are aligned around this new vision.
The Product Award
Austria Austria
Company: Ochsner Wärmepumpen GmbH, Austria
Project: New generation of air-source heatpumps
Justification: This project is an important innovation to enhance heat pumps for use in the built environment. The performance of the product has been verified by an independent Swiss institution. Given its high replication potential, especially for refurbishment and retrofit applications, this product could have an enormous impact on energy efficiency
Germany Germany
Company: LichtBlick AG
Project: Generating "swarm power" with intelligently controlled at home power plants

An excellent example of a smart cleantech application, this is a proven solution for decentralised electric power supply by micro-cogeneration plants with a high replication potential. This product can play an important role in balancing grid capacity and local heat demand. The Jury highlighted:

  • It is a combination of ICT features with innovative product functions;
  • The company has shown strong persistence in developing the concept and organising partnerships.
The Process Award
Germany Germany
Company: Freudenberg Sealing Technologies (FST), Germany
Project: Narrow Strip Forming Laser Technology (SUL): A process technology innovation to manufacture metal rings for dynamic seals.
Justification: The Jury recognised this project as an innovative method of metal forming to manufacture radial shaft seals which reduces material use and waste. The Jury highlighted that it also works without any punch oil, so that no post-cleaning is required and other chemicals (solvents, surfactants) are saved.
Spain Spain
Company: Sener Ingeniería y Sistemas
Project: Development of an energy-saving and economical polymer processing method for manufacturing thick-walled plastic articles in a continuous production process

The Jury selected this project as the company's use of salt as a high temperature storage medium, rather than for instance oil, is innovative and increases storage time. Highlights include:

  • The company is addressing the need for energy storage in combination with renewable electricity generation;
  • The process uses concentrated solar power to melt a salt mixture at high temperatures. The stored energy can be used to generate steam/ electricity at once, or can be kept for electricity generation at a later stage;
  • A large-scale installation is already operational in Spain and can be replicated.
The International Business Cooperation Award
Finland Finland
Company: GreenStream Network plc
Company: Expanding Climate Knowledge in China: A Co-Operative Business Approach

This is a proven partnership between the Finnish company GreenStream and the Chinese Juno Capital Group concerning the Chinese renewable energy sector. It provides access to the green business market in China, thus stimulating more sustainable energy generation in the country. The Jury highlighted:

  • The creation of sixty projects in China, which could collectively reduce CO2 emissions by 50 million tons per year;
  • This project has the potential to be replicated within emerging economies, especially in countries with growing energy demands.
The Business & Biodiversity Award
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Company: Cafédirect, United Kingdom
Company: Adaptation for Smallholders to Climate Change (AdapCC)
Justification: Cafédirect's innovative financing mechanism gives locals the opportunity to benefit from tradable CO2 quotas. As an SME with global outreach and a fair trade record, the organisation has overseen agroforestry management, particularly in the area of ecosystem services for water sustainability. The AdapCC project involves the financing of re-afforestation at high altitudes with multiple benefits for biodiversity.
France France
Company: Voies Navigables de France,
Project: Restoring the French waterways embankments in an ecological engineering approach.

This project, which incorporates commendable methods for sustainable river basin management, encourages the development of green waterways. The Jury highlighted:

  • The implementation of sound ecosystem practices;
  • The development and promotion of green waterway infrastructure to support biodiversity;
  • The exclusion and reduction of invasive alien species.