The Hub’s Green Growth team, which builds upon the internationally-recognised ENWORKS environmental business service, was shortlisted from hundreds of entries in the Carbon and Energy Management category and was ultimately named runner up at the 2016 awards ceremony in London on 26 May.
Among the judges were prominent academics and industry leaders, deputy chair of the Environment Agency, Emma Howard, and representatives from leading NGOs, including directors from Greenpeace, WWF and Friends of the Earth.
The team was recognised for its success in championing the role SMEs can play in reducing carbon emissions.
By providing unique, on-site support delivered by specialists in resource efficiency and carbon reduction, the team successfully enables SMEs to identify, measure and implement a diverse array of opportunities at every stage of the value chain, including product design, production, facilities, logistics and distribution.
In the last 12 months alone, the team’s advisors have helped 133 SMEs in Greater Manchester to identify 681 separate opportunities that could deliver over 20,000 tonnes of annual CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) savings – that’s enough to fill more than 11,000 hot air balloons.
Over 5,800 tonnes of these CO2e savings have already been achieved, delivering £2.2 million in annual cost savings in the process.
The benefits to businesses go even further; as well as cost savings that go straight to the business’s bottom line, taking action also helps to safeguard and create jobs, improve resilience to environmental risks and win new contracts.
Sam Nicholson, head of low carbon at the Business Growth Hub, said: “We’re delighted to be recognised at the awards alongside household names such as IKEA and Innocent Drinks as one the UK’s most innovative contributors sustainable business.
“SMEs represent 99.9 per cent of UK businesses – and over the years we’ve proved time and again that when given the right support, they can lead on this agenda and play a central role in the transition to a low carbon, sustainable economy whilst growing at the same time.”
Richard Jeffery, director of the Hub, added: “The support we are able to offer to businesses through our Green Growth team is tailored specifically to help them grow by improving sustainability and it’s great to be recognised on a national scale by the Guardian for the vital work we do on this agenda.
“We’d also like to congratulate all the businesses we have worked with to achieve this impact – it’s great to see that so many companies in Greater Manchester recognise the benefits of taking action.”