Accolade winners

Environment Business runs down the list of the top organisations and firms which were recognised for their sustainable practices at this year's Liveable Cities Awards

The Liveable Cities Awards set out to reward businesses and other organisations which have made a real contribution to the UK's journey towards a more sustainable society. Winners in categories ranging from Sustainable and Ethical Investment and Asset Management, to Access to Goods and Services for Disadvantaged Communities, are chosen by the sponsoring guilds of the City of London, and an overall winner is chosen by a panel including ex-environment minister John Gummer MP, Ram Gidoomal, chair of the London Sustainability Exchange and Environment Business editor Rob Bell.

The awards, open to the city's financial community and to businesses and organisations across the UK, were established by the corporation to promote and recognise the best in sustainable business practices. Overall winner the London Borough of Enfield demonstrated these principles perfectly, not only through its work to promote sustainable building in the borough, but also through its work to disseminate best practice throughout the country.

The announcement marked the first time a public sector organisation has taken the overall title, with the borough receiving the honour as a result of its outstanding entry in the Built Environment category. It had faced stiff competition with more than 80 entries from companies and organisations as diverse as BAA, UBS, Barclays Bank, The Royal Mail, Sainsbury's, Quaker Social Action, The Carbon Disclosure Project and Standard Charter.

Environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, who hosted the awards, says: "Enfield should be congratulated for its holistic approach to managing the physical environment; not least for its work in establishing the principles underpinning new construction in the borough, but also for putting in place the processes needed to ensure the standards to which it aspires are delivered."

Outstanding achievement

This year's award also saw the first presentation of the Environment Business Outstanding Achievement Award, which went to Beacon Press, winner of the Resource Conservation category. Beacon has long been recognised as a leading UK business in the environmental management field, demonstrating a long-standing commitment to addressing and managing the environmental impact of the print industry.

The company's first-class record in controlled resource usage and waste minimisation was noted as a "shining example of how integration of sustainable development into a core business model can directly benefit a firm's profitability".

Environmental management

Investment bank UBS won in the Environmental Management category, with Barclays Bank being highly commended. Both entries demonstate the increasing focus on the environment demonstrated by the financial sector, driven by an increasing awareness of its impacts, and the realisation of the very real financial costs of environmental depredation, especially in regard to climate change.

Richard Mason says: "We were delighted to receive this award. The key to our success has been an integrated approach to environmental management across a number of functions with wide-ranging support from all staff. Sustainable development is and will be a central part of the way we do business."

UBS has an ISO 14001 certification for the EMS covering its banking business globally, and is the first bank to obtain certification on this scale. The company is actively focusing on environmental market opportunities and considering environmental risk in its processes, especially lending and investment banking. Having recognised energy as a major impact, the company publishes details of its carbon footprint and in London buys 100% Climate Change Levy-exempt energy (from either renewable or high quality CHP). UBS has also put programmes in place to encourage recycling of paper, toner cartridges, cans, plastic and bottles, and electronic equipment is either reused or donated to schools or charities.

Biodiversity action

The HM Prison Service conquered the Biodiversity category, having implemented a Biodiversity Action Plan across its estate. At Holloway Prison work is being carried out on internal gardens to encourage a wide range of invertibrate species, with the aim of building the bird population. Staff and prisoners are working together on a monitoring plan to measure results. Other projects are in full swing throughout the country, and it is hoped the involvement of prisoners will have positive rehabilitation impacts.

Sustainable transport

Cory Environmental, the long established waste management company which transports municipal waste using London's canal system and the River Thames won the Traffic Reduction and Transport Management category.

The company's chief executive David Riddle says: "River transport has huge environmental benefits, keeping 100,000 heavy goods vehicle movements a year off London's already congested roads. This means reduction in pollution, noise, congestion and vibration, as well as the economic benefits of considerable fuel and congestion charge savings."

Air quality and climate change

Design and print company Seacourt came out on top in the Air Quality category. The company describes itself as "committed to the prevention of pollution and reducing the impact of our printing activities on the environment".

Seacourt is one of only two printing firms worldwide to have gone "carbon neutral". The company has also almost completely eliminated the use of water and volatile organic compounds Highly commended was the Carbon Disclosure Project, which has worked tirelessly with businesses across the world to raise awareness of the reality of climate change, and to encourage companies to provide investors with information on their carbon dioxide emissions.

Taking the awards forward

The Liveable Cities Awards winners demonstrate that business and the public and charity sectors have a real role to play in changing the UK's environment for the better, and the awards will continue to go from strength to strength.

This is clear from the fact the scheme has this year received accreditation from the Royal Society of Arts. Only RSA accredited schemes can provide entrants for consideration in the European Environment Awards (see http://accred.environmentawards.net).

As Environment Business editor Rob Bell says: "The entries to these awards demonstrate the breadth of concrete action on environmental and sustainability issues that is taking place in organisations across the UK every day. This isn't about paying lip service to environmental goals, it is proof that real commitment leads to real benefits, both for our environment and in competitive and finanical performance terms for business."


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