Maria Gray from the Marketplace Sustainability team reflects on this year’s Big Ticks, highly commended and winning companies in the Sustainable Products and Services Award.
Rising and volatile costs of raw materials, biodiversity threats, and climate change are some of the most challenging and complex issues impacting on business operations and across the value chain. Yet UK businesses could save £25 billion* each year through no or low cost resource efficiency measures, smarter usage of raw materials and minimising waste.
Not enough businesses are realising the opportunities to be had in adopting environmentally sustainable approaches to the way they run their business and develop their products and services. Only through collaboration across value chains will businesses be able to go beyond cost savings to really drive down their reliance on depleting natural resources. It’s about building on resource efficiency measures to working with suppliers, customers and others in the value chain to innovate products and services that are much less resource intensive and therefore resilient to natural resource depletion and sustainable in the long term.
BITC introduced the Sustainable Products and Services Award this year to recognise businesses that are embedding environmental sustainability into core products and services. It proved to be a popular category with 25 companies entering, demonstrating the scale of the opportunities to be taken advantage of and the number of companies embracing these.
Leading businesses, across the country, understand the opportunities to be had from embedding environmental sustainability across their core products and services and so are seeing the business benefits as a result. By working collaboratively with their suppliers, clients, wider industry and others, they are not only driving down their costs through resource efficiencies but innovating their products and services to drive much wider impacts for the business, its value chain and the environment.
Only the examples demonstrating significant and wide scale impact receive the prestigious Big Tick accolade and 2014 awarded 15 such examples.
Our Big Tick companies, spanning a wide range of sizes and sectors, are seeing business benefits over and above short term financial returns such as improvement in public and stakeholder perception, access to new markets and a more resilient supply chain. All our Big Ticks should be extremely proud of their continued achievements.
Lakes Free Range Eggs, our overall category winner for 2014, has a simple product but has demonstrated a holistic approach to positive environmental impact, animal welfare and local society benefits leading to continued commercial success. Highly Commended company CFH Docmail has innovated to transform the traditional postal service, slashing its dependency on natural resources and demonstrating that challenging business as usual paves the way for long term commercial success.
All of our Big Ticks are examples to other businesses on the viability of sustainability. From sustainable eggs and postal services, product sustainability assessments (Boots UK) to innovative re-manufacturing of waste (Veolia), each example shows a strategic approach to embedding environmental sustainability.
By closing the loop on their core products and services our Big Tick companies are more efficient businesses that are more resilient to depleting natural resources.
Read the case studies online today to be inspired as to how your business can thrive in a future world of competing demand for depleting natural resources.
For information about what BITC can do to support your business on this issue please contact me at Maria.Gray@bitc.org.uk.