Environment

Green business: the best of the best

05/11/2014

From sustainable fish and chips in compostable packaging to building insulation made from recycled waste paper – 16 companies from 10 EU and candidate countries have now been shortlisted for one of this year’s European Business Awards for the Environment.

Europe’s businesses have a huge part to play in delivering a cleaner environment and a sustainable future – using their innovative skills to protect the environment while creating jobs and improving competitiveness. The European Commission has been recognising the efforts of companies, big and small, with the European Business Awards for the Environment every two years since 1987.

"The companies shortlisted for the European Business Awards for the Environment showcase real-world experience of the fruits of eco-innovation."

The Awards are for companies whose eco-innovation successfully combines vision, innovation, competitiveness and outstanding environmental performance. To ensure the winners are the best of the best, the jury have selected a shortlist of 16 from 152 submissions, originating from 22 EU Member States and candidate countries. All entries must have been entered in a national award scheme to be eligible to compete at the European level – much like a ‘Champions League’ of eco-innovation.

“The companies shortlisted for the European Business Awards for the Environment have a proven track record in combining business success and respect for the environment,” said European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik. “They showcase real-world experience of the fruits of eco-innovation.”

A green ‘Champions League’

There are five Award categories:

  • Products and services, with three entries shortlisted from 50 entries;
  • Processes, with three finalists from 49 entries;
  • Management, with a shortlist of four narrowed down from 38;
  • International Business Cooperation has a final three selected from 15 submissions; and
  • Business and Biodiversity will go to one of three finalists from 33 entries.

This year features some intriguing entries. In the Management award category, for example, the Bay Fish & Chips shop, near Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, uses sustainable fish, energy-efficient cookers and renewable energy, as well as recycling all food waste and sending waste oil to be up-scaled to biofuel. The shop also uses fully compostable, plant-based packaging supplied by Vegware, a UK nominee for the Product award, which makes a range of disposable plates, cups, trays, cutlery and boxes from renewable or recycled materials that can be further recycled along with food waste.

The Business and Biodiversity shortlist includes entries such as Andromède Océanologie of France, with a smartphone app providing location-based anchoring information to protect seagrass on the Mediterranean sea floor, and Red Eléctrica in Spain which has designed electrical distribution and grounding cables to lower the electrocution risk for birds.

Other nominees in various categories include AusDesign’s UpShirt, a T-shirt produced entirely from production leftovers, and Werro Wool’s recyclable cellulose building insulation made from recycled waste paper, both from Estonia. And in the Netherlands, Interface has been shortlisted for making ‘Net-Works’ carpet tiles from netting recovered from beaches – an economic opportunity for coastal villagers in developing countries.

The 2014-2015 winner in each of the five categories will receive a prize at a ceremony on 1 December at the POLLUTEC exhibition in Lyon, France.

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