M&S was awarded the coveted – and needless to say biodegradable – crown, at a ceremony in Grosvenor House in London, which recognized 15 companies for their pioneering environmental efforts.
The retailer launched its £200m Plan A in January 2007, with the aim of becoming carbon neutral by 2012. It also covers everything from energy saving to fair trade and animal welfare.
But M&S wasn’t the only company rewarded for eco innovation. Take Stagecoach, winner of the transport award for its bio-bus project – which encourages passengers to bring their used cooking oil to convert into bio-diesel, in exchange for discount vouchers.
This sounds to us like something out of Back to the Future II, where Doc Brown figures out how to power his Delorean DMC-12 forward in time machine on regular household waste, rather than plutonium. Stagecoach may not be shooting through time, but it’s ahead of the game: the bio-buses generated an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions, a saving of 2,450 tonnes of carbon dioxide since the launch.
Other prizes included the Eco-friendly Product award, which went to The Wool Packaging Company, for its Woolcool alternative to polystyrene packaging; and the Green Champions award, claimed by consultant WSP Environment & Energy, for a scheme that rewards employees for monitoring their own environmental impact.
The Green Business Awards are run by MT in association with ENDS, and sponsored by RPS Group, the consultancy. It’s reassuring to see dedication to such innovation given the pressure on environmental budgets thanks to the current cuts.
Of course, such activity does make economic sense. ‘It’s showing ways towards a sustainable future for society as a whole,’ said Nick Rowcliffe, editor in chief of ENDS. ‘But they are also safeguarding their own current financial performance and laying the foundations for future growth.’ And, of course, leading us towards trash-powered time travel. Maybe.
See www.greenbusinessawards.com for more information.