The North East Business Awards look to reward firms that are really making a difference.
And that’s certainly the case for the Low Carbon, Environment and Corporate Responsibility Award.
This honour recognises outstanding achievement in how companies behave towards the environment, the local community, their people and the supply chain.
Overall North East winner was Elddis Transport (Consett), who also took the Durham and Wearside title. Taking the 2013 Tyneside and Northumberland title was Quorum Business Park, Newcastle, and the winner of the Teesside title was J&B Recycling of Hartlepool.
Supporting the category for 2013 are Middlesbrough College, Sunderland University and Port of Sunderland. The University of Sunderland said: “We are an innovative, forward-thinking university that has gone a considerable way to achieving our vision to become recognised as one of a new generation of great civic universities.
“Two key achievements bringing us closer to our vision include our employer engagement strategy, delivering a combination of schemes with businesses across the region from provision of academic research, expertise and student/graduate support to tailored academic training and leadership programmes.
“Secondly, we have been recognised as central to Sunderland City Council’s Economic Masterplan, placing the University ‘at the heart of the city’s economic development’.
“This is acknowledgment of our drive to deliver a new software industry in Sunderland, our automotive engineering research and our involvement in the advancement of a low carbon economy.
“We embrace environmental responsibility and sustainable development principles, to make a positive contribution to urban regeneration and to ensure that any adverse environmental impact of our activities is minimised.
“Our carbon reduction work to date has earned it the Carbon Trust Standard in 2009 and we were recently voted as having the UK’s Greenest Student Accommodation.
“Sunderland was one of the first universities in the region to sign up to the Higher Education Carbon Management Programme, as well as being one of the UK’s first Fairtrade universities and among the first to produce a Corporate Social Responsibility charter.
“Recent initiatives at the university have included free cycle hire, a free hybrid electric bus service on-Campus, and the phasing out of the University’s fleet of diesel vehicles, to be replaced by Nissan Leaf electric vehicles.”
Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive of Middlesbrough College, added, said: “The Low Carbon, Environmental and Corporate Responsibility Award acknowledges the significant efforts made to achieve a successful, sustainable low carbon economy for the region, and Middlesbrough College is delighted to be involved.
“It’s hugely important that we recognise the outstanding achievements of those companies who show exemplary behaviour towards the environment, the local community, their people and the supply chain.
“Middlesbrough College delivers training programmes for employers across a range of sectors. We also work with them to identify the workforce they will need in the coming years which is why we teach our students skills and practices that will help them and their future employers deliver a sustainable low carbon economy. “We are also investing £1.5m on an eco-house and community garden to promote sustainable low carbon living. The jewel in the crown is our planned £12m STEM Centre of Excellence (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) which will provide training in the latest advanced manufacturing processes, engineering disciplines, digital, warehousing and logistics.
“It’s projects such as this that allows the college to enrol more full-time students, retrain those seeking work, increase the number of apprenticeships and traineeships we offer and build on the already strong relationships we have with employers across the region.”
Matthew Hunt, port director, Port of Sunderland, added: “The Port of Sunderland, owned by Sunderland City Council, plays an important role in supporting the city’s vision to become the national hub of a low carbon economy and is privileged to sponsor the Low Carbon, Environment and Corporate Responsibility Award in the North East Business Awards.
Alongside a wide range of traditional port activities, an increasing focus is being applied to offshore wind and other renewable energy markets. Sunderland is ideally positioned to play a key role in offshore wind farm developments and has a growing reputation as a destination for offshore renewable energy and subsea engineering businesses, especially so given its central North Sea location.