The Business Commitment to the Environment (BCE) Environmental Leadership Awards are the longest running, and one of the most prestigious, environmental awards in the UK. They represent all that is innovative and cutting edge in environmental sustainability in the context of modern business practices. They are awarded only to those businesses that can actually demonstrate that they are making a real difference to their impact on the environment without affecting their ability to make a profit and develop the business for the future.
At the BCE Awards ceremony held on the 8 June 2010 at The Lincoln Centre in London, 15 companies were honoured for their environmental excellence, innovation and leadership. They join a list of over 200 organisations that have been recognised by BCE since 1975 for their commitment to the environment. BP was one of the first winners of a BCE award in 1975 and it was appropriate that Iain Conn, Chief Executive, Refining and Marketing, BP plc presented the awards to the 2010 winners.
A registered charity and founded by Sir Peter Parker in 1975, the BCE Awards are sponsored by businesses for business, and are given to companies that the judges recognise as meeting the commercial demands of the present, without compromising the environment for future generations.
Since 1975, winners have included organisations as diverse as British Petroleum (1975), Thorpe Park (1984), Marks & Spencer (1996) and Renewable Energy Systems (2004).
Quantum4 entered the Awards for the first time this year following the development and successful implementation of its Ecosmart Fixture Design system. In recent years, the growing importance of environmental issues has dovetailed with, and augmented, Quantum4’s ‘value-engineering’ approach to fixture design and client demand has led to the development of new ‘Ecosmart’ tools and services, which help retailers and brand owners develop fixtures that save resources and money, and reduce/eliminate waste.
Kingfisher is the third largest home improvement retailer worldwide with more than 830 stores in Europe and Asia and annual sales of more than £10.5 billion. The company received the top accolade in recognition of its pioneering leadership role since the early 1990s in ensuring that its wood products come from well-managed, sustainable sources.
In particular, the judges praised Kingfisher’s UK operating companies B&Q and ScrewFix for their instrumental role in encouraging the UK timber industry to move towards Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, a lead now being followed by all Kingfisher overseas operations.
Accepting the award at a ceremony on 8 June in London, the Kingfisher Group Chief Executive, Ian Cheshire, said: “At Kingfisher, we believe that working on environmental sustainability is simply part and parcel of being a leading business. Through our 'Future Homes' strategy, we are committed to helping our customers make their homes more efficient at lower cost, whilst ensuring the sustainability our own business and supply chains.
“I am absolutely delighted that we have been nominated for a Business Commitment to the Environment (BCE) Environmental Leadership Award, as this recognition gives us the confidence we are heading in the right direction,” he added.
Another top award, the SME Premier Award, went to Market Harborough-based Quantum4, which provides a store fittings design service to large retailers, including display fixtures, merchandising systems, service counters and furniture, and point of sale units.
The judging panel said that the company’s novel environmental evaluation tool, Ecosmart, which uses an automatic scoring system to compare the relative environmental credentials of alternative designs, was potentially of huge benefit in minimising the waste generated during constant rounds of store refreshes.
Accepting the award, Quantum4’s Managing Director, Bill Jones, said: “A growing concern that our industry was designing and producing tomorrow’s waste today led us to investigate and then develop our Ecosmart solutions to prevent this from happening.
“Quantum4’s aim is to continue to develop, lead and partner others inside and outside the industry to help improve the use of materials, processes and practices in terms of the impact the store fixtures industry has on the environment,” he added.
Other top awards also went to Diageo, Welsh Water and Glebe Cottage
Quantum4’s Ecosmart Grading is a simple, practical scoring system created specifically for retail fixtures and focused on recycling and waste minimization criteria; critically it takes account of both materials and construction.
We created the original system in 2006 and have developed it over the subsequent years, with support and advice from various specialist organisations including the University of Bath, WRAP and NISP. The system is flexible in terms of the criteria which can be utilised and the relative weightings applied, so that it can be customised to an individual client’s specific requirements.
When analysing equipment in a store, we first establish relevant fixture ‘families’ using 80/20 principles, then then break down the equipment into its primary and secondary components.
For each Sub-component, data on its Material, Finish, Weight and Quantity is generated using Quantum4’s specialised software systems. The individual Ecosmart Material Grade was then added, together with an analysis of whether or not the sub-component could be separated into its raw materials (ie De-constructed).
The Best High Street Retailer was the toughest category to judge this year with Orange, Phones 4u and Carphone Warehouse all impressing the judges, leaving little to choose between them.
But it was Orange that emerged ahead of the other two to claim the prize this year. One judge said: ‘Orange is trying to be more innovative than anyone else in terms of store concepts. Orange got across a range of things from the high end to the low end.’
The judges felt that Orange gave the most rounded presentation and showed more than anyone else how its retail ambitions related to the company’s wider goals for staff and customer engagement, increased connections and growth in its PAYM segment. One judge said: ‘Orange has had holistically a bigger improvement this year than any of its rivals. What it’s driven through is fantastic. It’s very clear, very clean and very straightforward; the brand really jumps out.
‘Its retail experience is the most focused. You don’t get confused with all the messages and it has done some good stuff at the back end too, which customers don’t see. Manufacturers have more confidence that they will have clarity and cut through.’
The judges were impressed that changes made in stores had demonstrably translated into a 10% rise in footfall year on year, while new connections reached 2.6 million, ahead of a target of 2.5 million.
In addition, Apple, the most demanding product supplier of them all, congratulated Orange on having the best iPhone launch it had seen anywhere.
Finally, the judges said that Orange has also been more ambitious than most of its rivals in not just refreshing its own stores and increasing the number of them, but in trying new formats. It rolled out 21 stores within HMV, it has two stores within Asda superstores and one multimedia store in Milton Keynes, and it is trialling franchise stores.
Quantum 4 is the preferred design partner for both Orange and The Car Phone Warehouse where we have worked on developing the above stores.
Quantum 4 won the SME premier award at the BCE Awards ceremony held on the 8th June 2010 after entering the Awards for the first time this year following the development and successful implementation of its Ecosmart Fixture Design system.... more
WRAP's halving waste to landfill initiative helps UK businesses and individuals reduce waste & develop more sustainable practices... more.
... our experience of improving the Sustainability of store fixtures shows that major cost savings can be achieved hand-in-hand with ‘Eco-smart’ improvements to fixture design... more.