Brussels, 3 June 2008
Four Companies have won the 2008 European Business Awards for the Environment. The winners were announced this evening by European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas at an awards ceremony during the annual Green Week conference in Brussels. The awards recognise "the Best of the Best" businesses that have won awards at national level.
Commissioner Dimas said: "Eco-innovation is the only way in which we can ensure our well-being in the long term and remain competitive. These enterprises have developed pioneering solutions that set an example to their peers and also strengthen their bottom line. I congratulate them on their ingenuity and their achievements."
Given in four categories, the European Business Awards for the Environment recognise European businesses that make a particular contribution to sustainable development by combining innovation, economic viability and environmental concern. Out of 125 companies that applied for the awards, the jury had selected 11 finalists.
The results are as follows:
Management Award (for strategic vision and management systems which enable companies continuously to improve their contribution to sustainable development)
The Co-operative Group Ltd (UK)
The Co-operative Group won the prize for its approach to sustainable development. Its Social Goals Strategy identifies the environment as a primary issue. The group identifies and measures key environmental, social and ethical impacts annually.
Terr'Avenir is an association of farmers dedicated to reducing their environmental impact. To date it includes 103 farms covering an area of 25,000 ha. Each has its own environmental management plan and the farms cooperate to compare environmental performance.
Triip, now part of Ecoprint, was the first Estonian print company to implement integrated environmental and quality management.
Product Award (for the development of a new product or service that makes an outstanding contribution to sustainable development)
ertex-solar GmbH (Austria)
The company produces high quality photovoltaic products for producing electricity from the sun. The photovoltaic cells use a special safety glass technology whose advantages include widespread application in buildings without the need for special design features.
JCDecaux SA (France)
The company was nominated for its 'Cyclocity' self-service urban bicycle rental service, now in use in several countries. The service in Paris saw rentals averaging over 80,000 a day during its first six months.
Red Eléctrica de España
The company, which manages Spain's power transmission grid, was nominated for developing its Renewable Energies Control Centre. The centre aims to maximise the integration of renewable energies into the power grid while guaranteeing the grid's safety.
Process Award (for the development and application of a new production technology that makes an outstanding contribution to sustainable development)
CHOREN GmbH (Germany)
The company was selected for developing a process that produces high-purity biofuel from biomass. The second-generation biofuel, which does not use plants intended for food, is low in pollutants, almost CO2 neutral and compatible with current and future diesel engine technology.
Bayer AG (Germany)
Bayer was nominated for developing a technology that cuts the amount of electricity required to produce chlorine from hydrochloric acid by 30%. The technology is already in use at a plant in Germany and will be used in a major new plant under construction in China.
DHV BV (Netherlands)
DHV was nominated for its innovative process for treating waste water. Compared with conventional technologies, the advantages of the process include a 30-50% cut in energy consumption and significantly lower investment and operating costs.
International Cooperation Award (for the sharing of knowledge and technology in international cross-sector partnerships which contribute to sustainable growth in developing countries)
KIT (Royal Tropical Institute) Holding/Mali BioCarburant SA (Netherlands)
The winning project involves the production in Mali of sustainable biodiesel from jatropha nuts, a drought-resistant non-food crop that can be grown on non-agricultural land. The fuel, produced and sold by a joint venture company set up by KIT, supplements farmers' incomes, thus reducing poverty.
Windkraft Simonsfeld GmbH (Austria)
The company was nominated for its EL SOL project in Bolivia which is teaching people how to build their own water heating systems using solar energy. The technology is relatively simple, can be produced locally and has the potential to be widely replicated.
More information about the European Business Awards for the Environment can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/awards