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North West companies win Queen’s Award for Sustainability

Two firms in the region are among just 31 nationwide to win this year’s Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development, the most prestigious environmental business accolade for UK companies.


Two firms in the region are among just 31 nationwide to win this year’s Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development, the most prestigious environmental business accolade for UK companies.

The annual Queen’s Awards for Enterprise celebrates outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the areas of innovation, international trade, promoting opportunity through social mobility, and sustainable development.

Winners have to pass a robust assessment process judged by senior officials in Whitehall and experts from across industry, academia and the third sector, before being recommended to the Queen by the Prime Minister.

Circular thinking

The 2022 winners of the Sustainable Development Award include the Used Kitchen Exchange in Widnes, a digital marketplace for pre-owned and pre-installed kitchens, appliances and fitted furniture.
Founded in 2015, the company is normalising reuse in a notoriously wasteful sector where landfilling complete kitchens is commonplace.

Writing on LinkedIn, founder Helen Lord said: “To receive national recognition for the implementation of circular thinking within our industry is absolutely mind blowing and is a testament to the passion and commitment of our amazing team as well as the tremendous support we have received from our industry partners and the government.

“Working in partnership with manufacturers and retailers, we have established a robust, verifiable re-commerce model, extending the lifespan of [kitchen, bathroom and bedroom] products through circular thinking.”

Upholding sustainability

The Manchester-headquartered Co-op Group was also recognised with the Sustainable Development Award for its evidence of embedding sustainability into its governance and business processes. This includes achieving operational carbon neutral status for all of its stores and funeralcare homes, introducing an instore recycling scheme to make own-brand food and drink packaging more easily recyclable, and launching a climate ten-point plan.

“Sustainability, climate action and reducing our business impacts are embedded into the heart of what we do at Co-op and there’s never been a more important time to uphold those values as we collectively address the climate crisis,” explained Co-op CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq.

“We acknowledge there is much progress still to be achieved and we know we can’t do it alone. Co-operating together with our partners, suppliers, farmers and fellow UK businesses will make a lasting positive change to our planet.”

Previous winners

The Co-op and Used Kitchen Exchange join a growing list of North West companies to be recognised for sustainable development. In 2021, Rochdale manufacturer Crystal Doors (pictured) was handed the award for its efforts to deliver meaningful climate action and sharing its learning with others. Manchester-based school uniform supplier David Luke was recognised a year earlier for its eco-uniform range of garments made from recycled plastic bottles.

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