On 27 October, the winners of the European Business Awards for the Environment2016-17 were announced at a ceremony in Tallinn, Estonia. The awards recognise companies in the EU and candidate countries, from all sectors that combine competitiveness with respect for the environment in the following categories: management, product and services, process innovation, business and biodiversity, and international business cooperation. The Awardsare an important part of the Commission's toolbox for the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan adopted in December 2015.
Companies competing for the Business awards for the Environment represent the true agents of change in Europe's transition towards a circular economy. They show that innovation, economic viability and environmental protection can go together. Green solutions can be incorporated in the business model of a company of any size, at any stage, in any sector or country
From micro start-ups through to global brands this year's winners are:
- Ladybird Farm (Hungary), sustainable leisure centre: for management (micro and small business)
- CMS Window Systems (United Kingdom), a leading producer of energy-efficient windows: for management (medium and large business)
- Hydromx International A.S. (Turkey), a company supplying innovative energy solutions: for product and services
- M2i Life Sciences (France), European leader in pesticide-free protection of crops: for process innovations
- HiPP-Werk Georg Hipp OHG (Germany), a baby food manufacturer: for business & biodiversity
- Fairphone BV (Netherlands), the world's first ethical smartphone provider: for international cooperation
The 6 winners were chosen from a list of 24 finalists. In total, 148 companies from 21 European countries competed for the award. They recognise companies which developed smarter products and services by using materials and energy efficiently. This will contribute to a more innovative and sustainable economy.
The environmental goods and services sector has continued to expand, even during the recent economic downturn. Thanks to expanding global markets eco-industries enjoy significant export potential in addition to strong demand from within the EU.
The Management Award (micro and small business)
Ladybird Farm in Hungary won this award for showing that tourism can be profitable and sustainable. Attracting 65,000 visitors a year, Ladybird Farm developed a wide-ranging sustainability concept. The centre covers 80% of its energy needs from sustainable sources through photo-voltaic solar panels and biomass. The Jury was also impressed by their social commitment: they introduced the concept of “Pay by Waste”: visitors can pay a part of their entrance fee by household waste, such as paper.
The Management Award (medium and large business)
This award went to CMS Window Systems in the United Kingdom for developing CMS Innovation Hub – a commercial innovation centre and meeting place for training on energy-efficient, sustainable building products and services. Located in a once derelict warehouse with the lowest G-rating for energy efficiency and facing demolition, the facility became a working model of energy efficiency. It uses “stone wool” insulation, thermally efficient windows and doors, energy-efficient lighting and IT equipment, and a heat recovery climate control system.
The Product and Services Award
This award goes to a company that has developed and applied a new production technology that makes an outstanding contribution to sustainable development. Turkish Hydromx International won the award for their energy-efficient heat transfer fluid for heating and cooling. This innovative solution transfers heat more efficiently than water and reduces energy consumption by up to 35%. It also has a significant replication potential.
The Process Award
M2i Life Sciencesin France won this award for developing a green and efficient solution to protect crops from particular insects and pests by using sexual pheromones. The technology against the pine processionary moth involves placing pheromonal gel into a paintball pellet and firing it into the trees where the moths are found. As a result, the numbers of this pest have been drastically reduced in France.
Business & Biodiversity
HiPP-Werk Georg Hipp OHG won this award for their outstanding achievements in halting biodiversity loss and support to natural ecosystems. During their 20 years of sustainability management, the company incorporated biodiversity into its operations at every level, spanning the entire supply chain.
The International Cooperation Award
This Award goes to a company that actively promotes the sharing of knowledge and technology in international cross-sector partnerships, which contribute to sustainable growth in developing countries. This year's winner is Fairphone, a Dutch social enterprise promoting fairer electronics. As the world's first ethical modular smartphone provider, they source materials that support local economies: conflict-free tin and tantalum in the DRC Congo, and Fairtrade gold from Peru. They are also working to source responsibly mined tungsten.