Environmental leaders lauded at edie awards
Green thinker Jonathon Porritt was dubbed environmental personality of the year, high street names such as Coca-Cola and Mitsubishi were on the roll of honour for their environmental projects, while leading consultants that advise government and industry picked up a raft of awards.
Now in their second year, edie's Awards for Environmental Excellence evolved out of our long-running annual survey of consultants and their customers.
We wanted some recognition for those who are pushing the envelope when it comes to making practical improvements to the environment and the way we do business.
While eco campaigners and activists might command the lion's share of the headlines these are the people who are shaping the green agenda to earn their daily bread and coming up with real solutions to tangible problems.
Introducing the awards, Mr McGowan said he was "full of admiration" for those who had made the shortlist.
"It is a wonderful pleasure to be in this room with so many top environmental brains," he said.
Jonathon Porritt, founder director of Forum for the Future and chairman of the government-backed UK Sustainable Development Commission, became the second individual to receive an edie award for raising public awareness of environmental issues, after Al Gore picked up the award last year following the release of his climate change movie An Inconvenient Truth.
"Following in Al Gore's footsteps, in receiving this award, is obviously a great honour," said Porritt.
"And all the more timely given just how important it's going to be to keep green issues right at the top of the agenda in such difficult economic conditions.
"That's certainly going to be my principal challenge over the next few months."
The UK's leading environmental consultants received awards recognising their commanding position in specialised sectors.
Arup picked up an award for being the consultants' consultancy, proving to be the employer those working in the industry would most like to work for.
It was a great night for ERM which managed to scoop five of the seven best consultancy in their sector awards.
The top accolade went to Atkins, however, which was voted best environmental consultancy overall, as well as picking up the prize for offering the best advice on water & wastewater.
Awards were also made for projects that showed how good business can be good for the environment.
These included an initiative from Coca-Cola which used the popularity of league football to promote recycling, Mitsubishi's ambitious reinvention of building heating and cooling systems which will save over 3 million tonnes of carbon by 2016.
The project awards were judged by a panel of environmental experts including:
A full list of winners is available here
Sam Bond and Kate Martin