Sustainability Leader Winner: Dale Vince, Ecotricity

A real driving force for change, green visionary Dale Vince is creating waves with his business acumen that looks to put sustainability at the heart of everything to deliver a better society for all.

From living in an ex-military vehicle using a windmill for power to heading up the UK’s leading green energy company Ecotricity, Dale Vince’s journey is both an admirable and inspiring one. The fundamental driver for Vince is his ‘Green Britain’ vision – the belief that we can all live more sustainable lives and that ethical business should be the norm.

Creating such a reality is no simple task, which is why Vince’s vision spans the making and selling of sustainable energy, through to transport and food. His creative thinking and ability to communicate with people at all levels is enabling his company to make big changes to the environment. Today Ecotricity is responsible for founding the UK’s green electricity market. It now powers over 63,000 homes and businesses from its fleet of 53 windmills and invests more per capita in building new sources of green energy than any other UK energy company.

Ecotricity operates a unique business model in which 75p of every £1 spent by customers is put back into generating new sources of green energy – turning ‘bills into mills’. Vince is on a mission to change the way that energy is produced and sold in the UK, and is determined to pave the way for British energy independence, harnessing power from the sun, the wind and sea.

In 2011, the company unveiled Britain’s first sun park. Located at Fen Farm in Lincolnshire, it was the first energy park in the world to combine the energy of both the wind and the sun into one. This hybrid park is a pioneering step forward in renewable energy production. The same year it also launched an “electric highway” – the world’s first nationwide motorway charging network for electric cars – and introduced the second round of its ecobonds, enabling people to invest in green energy.

Ecotricity then became involved with seamills, using the power of the sea, in 2012. This Searaser innovation is capable of generating low cost energy on demand with the possibility to produce electricity cheaper than any other wave-power technology, or indeed all existing sources of electricity – including gas, coal and nuclear. And it’s carbon free.

Since being involved with Ecotricity, Vince has added football to his portfolio by investing in the Conference League club, Forest Green Rovers (FGR), which aims to be the world’s first truly sustainable football club. Work has begun to achieve the ISO 14000 environmental standard and subsequent EMAS qualification, the gold standard in environmental performance.

The club’s pitch has now been taken ‘off-mains’ by collecting the water from under it to recycle back. Soon rainwater will be collected from the stadium rooftops and a borehole sunk to reach the local spring water. This means the pitch will be irrigated by a mixture of rain, drain and spring water – making it independent from mains water.

Solar panels have also been installed at the stadium and will eventually produce as much as 25% of the club’s electricity. Ultimately Vince aims to create a super functional green football club that defies gravity and conventional thinking, which can be replicated across clubs and sports facilities in Britain.

JUDGES’ COMMENTS: Dale has a great track record for achieving entrepreneurial success through practical sustainability, with some maverick flair providing extra inspiration en route

Dan Epstein, Useful Simple Trust
Deirdré Lingenfelder, Anglo American
John F Brock, Coca-Cola Enterprises
Mohammed Saddiq, Wessex Water (GENeco)

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Energy Efficiency: Sainsbury’s

Waste Management: Food & Drink: Sainsbury’s

Sustainability Reporting: Coca Cola Enterprises

Renewable Energy: Northumbrian Water Group

Best Environmental Consultancy: Arup

Sustainability Practitioner: Kirsten Henson, KLH Sustainability

Water Management: ABP Food Group

Sustainable Transport: London 2012

Sustainable Building: P+HS Architects

Carbon Management: The Co-operative Group

Stakeholder Engagement: Sony Europe

Waste & Resource Management: Nextek

Sustainability Communications: The Co-operative Group

IEMA Graduate Award: Lorna Philbin

Sustainability Leader: Dale Vince, Ecotricity


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