Once again there were some outstanding winners selected from a strong field of contenders, and WRAP is proud to be sponsor of the awards, which recognise great commitment and excellence.
This is absolutely not about green tokenism - putting a recycling bin in the corner of the room and posting a notice above it urging staff to ‘go green’. This is about putting sustainability and resource efficiency right at the heart of how you operate as a business to achieve economic as well as environmental benefits - and the progress has been amazing in recent years.
The awards were started 27 years ago in an act of great foresight by Sir Peter Parker, at a time when ‘environment’ was a word rarely heard or seen in a business or on a Board agenda. How different things are today!
Just what can be achieved by engineering your business in this way was brought graphically to life by Sir John Armitt, chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority. In his key note address, he said the body responsible for delivering the Games had been a tough client, demanding performance from its suppliers to achieve the organisation’s ambition of delivering the ‘greenest games ever’ in the modern era. Waste was being avoided or re-used, materials were capable of being re-used or re-processed, and sustainability was at the heart of all they did.
Business has often seen investing in green technology as a cost. Those leading in this field know this is not true if you are truly interested in how best to make your business commercially sustainable in the long term. It delivers bottom-line gains. This is yet more evidence that growth does not need to be at odds with environmental performance - even though, as Sir John rightly pointed out, there will always be a healthy tension between engineering and environmental teams in a business.
If you read one of my blogs a week or so ago, you’ll know I was invited to take part in some run-up-to-Rio+20 discussions on resource efficiency and food waste.
While it was very much a whistle-stop visit, it was nonetheless a fascinating experience. It left me with a lasting impression of the magnitude and complexity of the issues under the spotlight.
While I focused mainly of discussing food waste-related issues, there were also opportunities to share WRAP’s experiences in wider behaviour change. It was obvious from the debates that tackling the issue of food waste has a real part to play in addressing the overall problem of how we feed the growing world population – if we waste less food (at household level and in the supply chain), then we will need to produce less overall in the first place.
I was also pleased to note that various discussions about new business models, decoupling growth from resource use and other areas too, suggested that WRAP is at the forefront in terms of its research, its thinking and its work. This is most encouraging.
I’m very proud that WRAP was asked to talk at Rio+20 - it’s fantastic recognition for all the work we do – not just on food waste, but more broadly. Our focus must be to continue to deliver great leading edge work that will maintain our reputation of being ‘best in class’.