This is a critical time for business, caught between economic uncertainty on the one hand and climate crisis on the other. These awards aim to show that the contradications can be bridged, that there are ways through the maze.
We intend to make the Green Business Awards Britain's benchmark of green endeavour, of environmental excellence and of eco-effort by companies in Britain today.
The award categories are organised in broad industry sectors. This means that as far as possible entrants compete with peers. Each winner thus provides a barometer of the most innovative, ambitious and effective green initiatives happening within its industry sector. Since companies can most easily identify with and learn from their peers, it also encourages replication of the best ideas.
This year's Green Business Awards contain a number of lessons. With nearly 130 entrants, the first is that companies up and down the country are tackling the green agenda and want recognition for their efforts - from the smallest to the largest. From heavily regulated polluting industries to sectors whose wake-up call was the 2006 Stern report on climate change, there is a palpable sense of engagement. This is no longer a passing fad.
A second lesson is that it is not mad to be optimistic about the planet's future. Again and again, the entrants to these awards have demonstrated how much can be achieved. If British business maintains the progress now being made and if lessons from the leaders are taken up more widely, surely sustainability can be achieved.
Third, a small number of businesses provide tantalising glimpses of what long-term sustainable business will look like. Not the quick green paint job that fools customers for a little while, nor the easy, cost-saving initiatives where companies start their environmental journey, but a real alignment of economic with social and environmental goals. This really is a new green revolution, and there is no excuse not to go green.
The Green Business Awards were devised by Haymarket's specialist environmental unit, ENDS, publisher of the ENDS Report, and Haymarket's flagship title for business leaders, MT. We are grateful to our expert judging panel (below) for their contribution under the chairmanship of Professor John Chesshire. Thanks, too, to eaga, our principal sponsor, for its support.
John Chesshire (chair), Honorary professor at the Science and Technology Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex
Andreas Arvanitakis, Senior analyst, Point Carbon
Alison Austin, Environmental affairs manager, Sainsbury's Supermarkets
Martin Baxter, Deputy chief executive, Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment
Martin Charter, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Design, University for the Arts
Richard J Martin, Programme manager, Netregs, Environment Agency of England and Wales
Richard Mattison, Managing director, Trucost
Margaret Mogford, Head of climate change, BG Group
Nick Rowcliffe, Editor-in-chief, ENDS
Jonathan Selwyn, Director, UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development
Gareth Stace, Head of environment, Engineering Employers' Federation
Raymond van Ermen, Executive director, European Partners for the Environment
Diana Verde Nieto, Founder and CEO, Clownfish
Adrian Wilkes, Director, Environmental Industries Commission