THE Yorkshire Post today launches its third annual Environment Awards, aiming to recognise and celebrate the best of the important environmental work being undertaken across the region.
Businesses, schools, individuals and community groups are all invited to put themselves forward in one of 10 award categories ahead of a glitzy ceremony in May.
Winners last year included then-chief executive of Yorkshire Forward Tom Riordan, and Harrogate tea firm Bettys and Taylors.
Peter Charlton, editor of the Yorkshire Post, said the awards were first established to recognise the work being undertaken to help place Yorkshire at the heart of UK’s low-carbon economy.
He added: “We also wanted to reflect the innovative and sustainable practices being adopted - at almost every level of society - by companies; community groups and individuals. Their combined enthusiasm and commitment is doing much to reduce CO2 emissions and reduce business costs.
“It is important that, as a society and a region, we recognise and reward best practice to keep this a green and pleasant land .”
Some of the region’s leading environmentally-focused businesses are sponsoring awards categories again this year.
A spokesman for Grant Thornton, sponsoring the award for built environment projects over £1m, said: “The environment and sustainability agenda is crucial to our future, and recognising businesses who are finding innovative, environmentally-friendly ways of working completely fits with the Grant Thornton values.”
Yorkshire Water are the sponsors of the community award, and colleague engagement advisor Anne Reed said it was “only right“ to recognise groups helping to protect the environment.
She added: “We believe in practising what we preach. As the second-largest consumer of energy in the region, we’re committed to reducing carbon emissions.”
The countryside award is backed by gas pipe owner Northern Gas Networks and its spokesman John O’Grady said: “Naturally, we take our environmental responsibilities extremely seriously, so it was a natural fit for us to sponsor these Environment Awards.
Lindsey Parnell, chief executive of flooring firm InterfaceFLOR, said he is “proud” to be sponsoring the climate change award.
He added: “Tackling climate change really matters to us. We are continually adapting our business and looking for new ways to help tackle climate change and we applaud other individuals, groups and businesses that are developing innovative solutions.”
Communications agency Logistik is sponsoring the award for smaller built environment projects, and its chief executive Dirk Mischendahl said: “As a company we’ve always been passionate about supporting innovation, especially in our local region - it’s what keeps Yorkshire a strong and thriving hub of creative activity.”
Other key sponsors include supermarket giant Asda - sponsoring the young people’s award - and Science City York, which works to bring investment in science and technology industries to the city.
• Best Environmental Business
This is a best-practice award open to all business sectors, and rewarding exceptional improvements in performance specifically achieved through good environmental management. Applicants must demonstrate a world class track record on environmental and carbon-reduction policy and be able to show a clear commitment to reducing environmental impact as part of a statement of corporate social responsibility.
Innovation, sponsored by Science City York
• This award honours excellence in the development and deployment of new and existing environmental technologies, processes and techniques.
Manufacturer of the best green product
• Firms across the region are working to improve the environment, sitting at the forefront of technological advancements which help reduce carbon levels and make industrial processes greener. This award recognises the manufacturer of the best product in these fields.
Young People’s Award sponsored by Asda
• This award is for the school, college or youth group that does most to promote environmental issues among staff ,students and the community as well as implementing measures to reduce its own environmental impact. The judges will look for an establishment, however large or small, that can demonstrate ecological issues are high on its agenda and that it has put practical measures in place to minimise its carbon footprint through recycling, re-using materials and reducing consumption.
Built Environment: Projects over £1m, sponsored by Grant Thornton UK LLP
• This category recognises developers, clients, architects and other building professionals who break new ground in integrating environmental considerations into built projects costing more than £1m.
Built Environment: Projects under £1m, sponsored by Logistik
• This award recognises similarly ground-breaking projects costing less than £1m.
Countryside Award, sponsored by Northern Gas Networks
• This award recognises work undertaken to preserve and protect the countryside – whether on a large or small scale – and is open to individuals and groups who have put a sustainable initiative into action.
Green Champion, sponsored by Yorkshire Post
• This award is for the individual who does most to promote environmental measures. The winner may be a volunteer or someone who changed the culture of a workplace or community by persuading others to ‘think green’.
Community Award, sponsored by Yorkshire Water
• Groups across the region are working to make their community greener .We want to hear about the best, most creative and idea-led schemes. This category is open to small or large projects.
Climate Change, sponsored by InterfaceFLOR
• This award, to be presented to an individual, group or business, will reflect innovative, imaginative and strategic thinking in tackling or adapting to climate change. The judges are looking for projects and initiatives that have practical merit – either now or in the future. They will also consider books, papers or research works that articulate climate change problems and offer solutions to them.