Double award win for the UK in European Environment Awards
UK companies Aquamarine Power and Marks & Spencer have both been made winners in this year’s European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE). Aquamarine Power’s Oyster wave energy technology has taken the Product award and Marks and Spencer’s Plan A Sustainability Strategy has taken the Management award. The double prize marks the tenth win in a row for the UK, which has had an award winner in every EBAE since 1994. At a prestigious awards ceremony in Brussels on 24 May 2012, Karl Falkenberg, Director General for Environment, announced the UK’s Marks & Spencer and Aquamarine Power as two of the five winners of this year’s EBAE. The awards were one of the highlights of Green Week 2012, the biggest annual conference on European environment policy.
Taking the Management award for strategic vision and the implementation of systems which enable companies to continuously improve their contribution to sustainable development was Marks & Spencer. As a leading international retailer, Marks & Spencer adopted an ambitious plan to reduce its resource impacts. Its strategy includes 180 commitments relating to green procurement, fair trade, waste management, biodiversity conservation, corporate social responsibility, carbon emissions reduction and energy efficiency.
The awards Jury said: “By successfully integrating the sustainable management of resources into all of its operations and supply chains, M&S has presented an excellent example of sustainable and replicable retail practice.”
Making it two for the UK was Aquamarine Power, taking the Product award for the ‘development of a new product or related service that makes an outstanding contribution to sustainable development’. Based in Scotland, the pioneering wave energy company has developed an innovative hydro-electric near-shore device known as Oyster. The system, which captures wave energy and converts it into clean sustainable electricity, could also potentially be used for reverse osmosis desalination.
The awards Jury said: “Oyster is a radically innovative way of harvesting a substantial natural renewable energy resource. This product could be implemented in coastal areas around the world and may provide low cost off-grid electricity for water desalination.”
Marks & Spencer and Aquamarine Power were selected as EU Finalist’s from a record 156 entrants to EBAE 2012, originating from 24 European Member States and candidate countries. The companies were two of 14 finalists who hailed from Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Slovakia, Finland and the United Kingdom. UK Entrants for Europe are selected from the winners of RSA Accredited award schemes from the past two years.
The EBAE is a benchmark for improvement and plays a vital role in encouraging and celebrating progress on environmental and sustainable development issues worldwide. The consistently high quality of UK entrants and winners demonstrates the UK's commitment to innovation in environmental practice. The EBAE provides these businesses with international recognition.
On receiving the award, Marks & Spencer’s Head of Plan A Delivery Adam Elman said:
"We are delighted to have won the European Business Award for the Environment in the category of Management. This award recognises the hard work of our colleagues across M&S and into the supply base, as well as the engagement of our customers. We are proud to be a winner today and hope we can inspire other businesses to do the same."
Martin McAdam, Chief Executive Officer of Aquamarine Power, said:
“Marine energy has a massive role to play in helping Europe meets its challenging carbon reduction targets. This award recognises the potential that innovative technologies such as Oyster have, not just in moving to a green energy future, but also in providing new growth areas for European economies and new opportunities for coastal communities reliant on declining natural resources.
This award is a great honour for Aquamarine Power and we would like to thank the European Commission, the Commissioner for the Environment and the judging panel for this recognition.
This award is for the brilliant, hard-working and dedicated team at Aquamarine Power and our shareholders, especially ABB, SSE and the Scottish Government, who continue to support the creation of a new marine energy industry.”
Speaking of the EBAE’s Janez Poto?nik European Commissioner for the Environment said: “To prosper in a resource-constrained world, our economies must become more efficient in their use of natural resources. The European Business Awards for the Environment show that this is possible. They reward companies that are making the best possible use of resources throughout their life cycle to create as much economic value and as little environmental impact as possible.”
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