Made in Britain announces winners of its inaugural Impact Awards, recognising sustainability champions in British manufacturing

The inaugural Impact Awards were presented on Thursday afternoon (1 December) by Made in Britain’s board chairman Professor Chris Harrop and by an esteemed panel of expert judges including edie’s own senior reporter Sarah George.

The virtual ceremony was held to recognise the individuals, teams, projects and initiatives proving that British manufacturing businesses including SMEs can lead the way on sustainability.

Commenting on the Awards, Made in Britain’s chief executive John Pearce said:  “During Made in Britain’s tenth year, we are delighted to have launched the Impact Awards to recognise and celebrate the remarkable achievements of British manufacturers. Our community of members is made up of companies that have innovation, creativity and resilience in their DNA, and I’m excited for those who have been picked out for special recognition by our esteemed panel of judges.”

Below are a list of winners in all categories.

Leader of the year

This accolade is awarded to a senior executive who demonstrates leadership in sustainable manufacturing, innovative sustainable initiatives in their business, and acted as a champion for sustainable business more broadly in their sector.

The judges, led by UN Global Compact Network UK’s chief operating officer Caterina Agnoletti, selected Delphis Eco’s chief executive and founder Mark Jankovic as their winner.

Also shortlisted were WCM&A’s managing director Simon Adam and Ideal Manufacturing’s managing director Philip Kalli.

Caterina Agnoletti said: “For this category, we were looking for a CEO or senior executive demonstrating outstanding leadership in sustainable manufacturing by driving forward innovative sustainable initiatives in their business and acting as a champion for sustainable business more broadly in their sector.”

Rising star

The Rising Star award recognises an individual creating new pathways and piloting change, especially through innovative grassroots sustainable initiatives.

Winning this award was Focus SB’s managing director Gary Stevens. Also shortlisted were Essence of Hartland’s owner Joe Brady and Moot’s owner Jules Parker.

Let Me Play’s director of LMP Action Mona Vadher was the lead judge in this category, and said: “This award highlights the individual who shows clear passion and commitment to sustainability in their organisation. The judges looked for examples of how this person has shown initiative and led change from within [and] evidence of them building support for their ideas and gaining traction amongst their co-workers.”

Employee engagement campaign of the year

This award recognises total commitment to employee engagement by supporting and delivering a successful workplace sustainability strategy.

Shortlisted were Moot, Natural Fibre and Applelec. Applelec ultimately took the top award.

Commenting on their entry, Chris Harrop called them “a very worthy winner”. Harrop added: “All three companies on the shortlist have achieved remarkable progress in this area.”

Sustainability team of the year

Open to teams (with a minimum of two people), this award recognises the delivery of clear and tangible progress on their organisation’s sustainability strategy.

Jersey Hemp, Natural Fibre and Fill Refill were shortlisted for this award.

Led by Made in Britain’s green growth programme manager Victoria Page as the lead judge in this category, the judges chose Fill Refill as their winner.

Page said that Fill Refill “demonstrated a whole team approach to sustainability, including all 30 members of the business at every juncture”. She added: “This brand is credited with putting people and planet first and prides itself on being the slowest growing refill brand in the UK – and that’s a very good thing.”

Sustainable packaging project of the year

Judges looked at the ambition and scale of the challenge to package products more sustainably, with a key focus on the circularity of the packaging solution.

Shortlisted in this category were Linian, Packaging Products and PVA Hygiene Ltd.

Led by edie’s Sarah George, the judging panel selected Linian as their winner. Announcing the award, she said: “Well done to all three of these teams – their projects are all examples of creative innovation that eliminates problematic plastics, and they are all projects which have significant and scalable impact.

“It was a close call but we decided to go for the entry that showed the team who were willing to go above and beyond the initial project, using their learnings to inform a broader assessment of how other packaging formats could be made more sustainable.”

Sustainable initiative of the year

This award was designed to be given to a member business for a single initiative that has improved its sustainable practices and performance either within the business, for clients, or both.

Shortlisted in this category were Applelec, Dr Zigs and WhiffAway.

WhiffAway took home the award and lead judge Dominic O’Connor Robinson, chief executive of the Soil Association, said: The winner of this year’s award showed great progress and impact through their innovative design already, but it was the demonstration of the journey that they are on, setting bold future ambitions within an overarching framework that set them apart.”

Innovation of the year

This category proved to be extremely popular and was created to recognise remarkable innovation in the design and delivery of a product or service in the name of improving sustainability-related impacts and outcomes.

On the shortlist were bio-bean, Dr Zigs, Hexigone Intelli-ion and PFF for IMPAC-T.

UN Global Compact Network UK’s associate Emily Auckland, presenting the award to bio-bean, said: “The judges were looking for a manufacturer that demonstrates remarkable innovation in the design and delivery of a product or service. The winner stood out for actively choosing to engage across the industry to see how they could extend the use of their product and help other businesses address the negative impacts of their own products.”

The Made in Britain Impact Award winners were presented with unique glass bowl trophies created by iconic British brand, and Made in Britain member, Dartington Crystal.

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