More than 200 cleaning industry leaders gathered for a black-tie Awards dinner on London’s iconic Cutty Sark on 15th March, as the winners of the Sustainability Awards were revealed. The event was the first in a new Awards programme launched by Metsä Tissue in the UK, in partnership with the Cleaning & Support Services Association, which aims to promote sustainability and reward its champions.
Awards attendees enjoyed exclusive access to the Cutty Sark, which boasts three decks: the Dry Hold, ‘Tween Deck’ and Main Deck, before arriving in the sustainably dressed beautiful copper-clad hull for a delicious, and again sustainably prepared meal before moving into the ceremony.
The Event was opened by Esa Kaikkonen, CEO of Metsä Tissue Ltd, who welcomed everyone, expressed appreciation for the entrants and then explained how the Judges said it was almost impossible to separate the winners from their shortlisted competitors, the margins between them were so fine.
Next came Mika Paljakka, Metsä Tissue’s senior vice president for Metsä Tissue, UK & Ireland, who continued the excellence theme. “In the case of the Individual Award, there was nothing that could separate two of the contenders so we took the decision to make them both Joint Winners,” he explained. However, it was not just the shortlisted companies that split the judges; each of the 64 entries received, from 43 different companies, had its own merits and the thought and hard work that had gone into each of the projects was hugely impressive. He said “The judges believed that they were all winners.”
He continued: “Our aim in launching these Awards was to highlight and reward sustainability practices throughout our industry, not only to create a positive impact on the environment, but to raise awareness of the professionalism of our industry, amongst those outside of it. I would encourage all the winners – and indeed all those who made it onto the shortlist – to make ample use of their ‘Winner’ logo or ‘Finalist’ logo on websites, stationery etc. and share their good news with their local press and all the social media channels available to them. As an industry we are achieving great things and we should take advantage of the opportunity these Awards have brought to ‘sing our own praises’, as it were.”
Another winner during the evening was children’s charity UNICEF. Guests were invited to make donations to the charity throughout the evening. “Part of our strategy is to support local charities or children’s/youth charities,” Mika explained. “We chose to raise funds for UNICEF this evening as the organisation – which provides crucial humanitarian and developmental aid to children in more than 192 countries – is particularly stretched at the moment, as it strives to help the thousands of children displaced and/or orphaned by the recent earthquakes. They obviously need as much help as possible, and we are delighted that our guests were so generous with their donations.”
In keeping with the theme of the Awards, guest speaker Charlie Luxton, the architectural designer and TV presenter who puts sustainability at the heart of his work. Charlie shared his thoughts on our need to always consider sustainability and our environment when undertaking any development or refurbishment project.
Mika says “to complete our sustainable approach, Planet Mark, a leading sustainability certification, is ensuring that Metsä Tissue’s UK Sustainability Awards 2023 are carbon neutral in accordance with internationally recognised specification for carbon neutrality published by BSI (PAS2060). In addition to verifying the Award’s carbon neutrality status, we were pleased to welcome Planet Mark’s founder and CEO Steve Malkin on our judging panel.”
And the winners were…
Carbon Reducer Award
(presented by John Doyle, Managing Director of Mayflower Washroom Solutions)
The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Judges commended this project for its “very comprehensive and ambitious” approach, which provided some notable examples of practical changes that are having a positive impact. They said the project achieved “remarkable results” in less than two years regarding measurable carbon reduction. They were also impressed by the leadership’s commitment and the cultural change achieved.
Social Value Impact Award
(presented by Anna Edwards, Head of Sustainability, Bunzl Cleaning & Hygiene Supplies):
Mitie & UCLH. The Judges felt that the joint collaborative project of the two organisations involved was a definite advantage. Extraordinary social outreach and contribution. Diverse actions focusing on social impact.
Greenzone Cleaning & Support Services
Renewable Energy Performer Award
(presented by Paul Ashton, CSSA Chairman and CEO Birkin Cleaning Group):
Lyreco UK & Ireland. “This company is serious about energy transition!” said the Judges, who also felt that this project provided an “excellent example” of a comprehensive renewable strategy, thanks to a well-planned operation with a wide range of activities.
The Hillbrush Company
Wightman & Parrish
Best Sustainability Marketing & Communication Initiative
(presented by Denise Nee, Marketing Manager, Metsä Tissue):
Bunzl Cleaning & Hygiene Solutions. The judges felt that this initiative was an “excellent example of how a company can extend its responsibility to the whole value chain”. In this particular case, Bunzl had adopted a system whereby a visual indicator is attached to products it supplies, to help customers take sustainability into account when decision making. “It has a genuine impact on driving sustainability award decision-making – it is a massive step forward,” they said.
Rubbermaid Commercial Products
Team Sustainability Excellence Award
Mitie & UCLH (presented by Matt Burtinshaw, Managing Director, Lime Supply):
This was a team-wide initiative across stakeholder groups. “It was an excellent example of collaborative target setting that brought remarkable actions and results,” commented the Judges.
BioVate Hygienics Greenzest team
Individual Sustainability Award
For this Award, the Judges were unable to separate the two finalists so felt that the only way forward was to proclaim them Joint Winners. Gary Henstock, Director, Pearroc, presented Citron Hygiene/Aunt Flow Period Products with its Award for Claire Coder and Ross Osborne, Managing Director, Maintenance Supply Company, presented Principle Cleaning Services with its Award for Shannon Berry.
Regarding Citron, the judges said: “Great motivation and fantastic to see next generation involvement. Outstanding role as CEO of purpose-led organisation delivering impactful products and services to market. Impressive project with universality, inclusiveness, and co-operation.”
And regarding Principle Cleaning Services, they said: “Positive influencer for the industry, a wonderful example of a passionate, well-informed and engaging employee who goes above and beyond in her role to drive sustainability in the business and far beyond.”
Greenzone Cleaning & Support Services for Steve Trew and Dan Sadler
Due to high level of interest in this year’s Awards, the next Awards Ceremony is already provisionally booked for 19th March 2025 – like this year, the middle day of The Cleaning Show in London. It is currently just a provisional date because The Cleaning Show itself has only provisionally booked the 18th – 20th March slot with exhibition centre ExCel.
Mika says “This competition has shown us that the cleaning & hygiene industry is striving to embrace sustainability in its practices. We have been incredibly impressed by the projects and initiatives highlighted by the entrants, and we feel strongly that this momentum should be maintained. This is why we have already begun preparations for this next event.”
The location for the next event will likely be OceanDiva – the first carbon neutral venue on the river Thames in the heart of the City and which can accommodate many more attendees.
If you would like to find out more about the Awards or register your interest for attending the next Awards Ceremony in 2025, please do so by visiting: www.2023sustainabilityawards.com