Eight London-based SMEs received the first-ever ‘Green Business Innovator’ Awards on Thursday 10 June, when Middlesex University and its partner organisations held an event to celebrate the work of EcoVate, an environmental advisory group led by Middlesex University specialists. The Awards recognised innovation and good environmental practice by manufacturers, service providers and micro-businesses of 5-10 employees. An Award was also presented for the best new eco-initiative, where a business has introduced significant environmental or technological changes to its processes.
Award winners were selected from over 30 entries. Grosvenor Contracts, a cleaning and maintenance company, gained the Green Service Provider Award - Grosvenor’s low temperature cleaning methods using ozone have helped it achieve energy and water savings of almost 80%. Joinery and premises firm Raphael Contracting gained the ‘Lean Manufacturing’ Award – by using wood waste for energy, the firm reduced their fuel requirement by 77%. Conference venue The Window, winner of the ‘Best Eco-Initiative’ Award, introduced a new organic kitchen waste plan, which resulted in 70% less waste being sent to landfill. Independent jeweller Zinfinity received the Award for ‘Best Eco-Micro Business’, for increasing use of recycled and unwanted materials in their designs and for their policy of using local and green suppliers.
Runners-up at the Awards included Laundry Republic, print supplier CLOC, and manufacturers Solar Empower.
Mark Godley, Director of Grosvenor Contracts, said: “It’s great to be recognised for our environmental initiatives with this Award. The challenge to businesses is often to make sure that green issues are also in their commercial interests - Middlesex’s experts worked with us on carbon neutral initiatives, guiding us through the process, which was fantastic”.
Ankit Kapasi, of Middlesex University, said: “We’re delighted to see such interest in the Awards and we’d like to congratulate all the entrants for their hard work. Small businesses sometimes lack the time and expertise to focus on environmental initiatives. By making use of EcoVate expertise, they can gain specialist advice, and introduce the kind of business changes we have heard about tonight, which can lead to significant cost savings and improved business efficiency”.
Middlesex initiated and now manages the EcoVate partnership. The six EcoVate partner organisations offer support to London-based SMEs, guiding them towards good environmental practice and helping them to reduce their organisation’s environmental impacts. As lead partner of EcoVate, Middlesex provides specialist consultancy for EcoVate clients, leads on overall project marketing and promotion and also manages project administration such as proposal allocation, finance and reporting to funders.
In the past 18 months, Middlesex University specialists and other EcoVate partners have worked with over 100 London-based SMEs, providing them with between two to five days free environmental advice. EcoVate consultants have helped businesses to achieve cost reductions, resource efficiency, introduce green procurement and also ensure they comply with changes in legislation.
Improved green performance can bring commercial benefits for SMEs too. Many public sector organisations, including the London 2012 Olympics, look for good ‘green’ credentials in their suppliers and the ‘Green Business Certificate of Recognition’ which EcoVate clients receive is regarded as evidence of good practice. EcoVate partners include Enterprise Enfield, London Borough of Camden (Sustainability Team), North East London Energy Efficiency Advice Centre, and London Energy Efficiency for the Future.
The EcoVate partnership is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (EDRF). The project will run until December 2011. For more details, go to www.mdx.ac.uk/ecovate.