On 24 May 2012, Slovenskéelektrárne, a.s. Slovakia, with the project "Energy for Nature: Saving most precious animal species in Slovak mountains" was awarded the prestigious European Business Award for the Environment (EBAE) 2012 in the new category Business and Biodiversity for its outstanding achievements in halting biodiversity loss and supporting natural ecosystems. The Jury concluded that in addition to supporting Natura 2000 and creating sustainable public-private partnerships, the project has engaged employees and the local community. It is a template for cross-border corporate social responsibility and biodiversity financing. See here.
The other two nominees in this category originate from the UK and France. The British “Cafédirect” is an SME with global outreach and a fair trade record, which developed and implemented adaptation strategies with smallholder tea and coffee farmers. The French entry was the French inland waterways operator, Voies Navigables de France (VNF), which has designed and implemented an innovative ecological engineering approach to restore, maintain and consolidate the country’s embankments. For more information see the EC Newsletter.
The other four winners reflect contributions to sustainable development in: management, product, and process innovation respectively, and international business cooperation. The 2012 winners are: Marks and Spencer (UK) for management; Aquamarine Power (UK) for product; Umicore (Belgium) for process; INENSUS GmbH (Germany) for international business cooperation.
EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Resource efficiency is the key to a competitive, sustainable Europe. These companies show that it is not only possible but desirable to combine a healthy bottom line with environmental protection. They are green growth in action and I applaud them."
The five winners represent large corporations and SMEs, old and new Member States, and sectors from retail to energy to material engineering. Most of the applicants were SMEs. The greatest number of entries (62) was in the newly introduced “business and biodiversity” category, which was created thanks to the effort of the EU Business and Biodiversity Platform. They were selected from a shortlist of 14 candidates from nine European countries and wide-ranging economic sectors. They are companies that successfully combine innovation, competitiveness and outstanding environmental performance.
The jury was made up of 20 experts from European and national authorities, academia, businesses and the green technology sector. A record 156 submissions for the awards were received this year, a 10% increase on 2010.
The winners were announced at an evening ceremony during Green Week. At this large event organized by the European Commission Directorate General for the Environment, the B@B Platform was presented at the stand hosted by the European Landowners' Organization, one of its implementing partners together with IUCN.
More information on the winners, the runners-up, the selection procedure and past EBAE competitions can be found here.
Read more on the Green Week.
Read more on recent news about the B@B platform.