We are proud sponsors of the Sustainable Business Award for 2015

Élan has been selected as a finalist in The Grichan Partnership Business Sustainability Award at this year’s National Business Awards.

Established in 1971, the company remains very much a family owned business and is run by Gordon and Lorna Milton along with daughters Lauren and Lanice.

In 2010 Élan embarked on an ambitious refurbishment plan to create an ultra-modern salon that raised the benchmark for sustainability within the Hairdressing Industry.  The result was that Élan became the UK’s most sustainable salon.

Lauren explains “We did this to transform the way we do business and ensure the every day functionality is  sustainable and delivers measurable environmental benefits.”

She continued, “Over 3 years, we introduced radical measures for the greater protection of our natural resources in which we all live and work. We have introduced over 20 ground-breaking measures that have seen us on target to reduce carbon emissions by 94%, cut waste-to-landfill by 95% and reduce water consumption by 82% and we are the only UK salon with a Carbon Management Plan to monitor our ongoing progress.”

Élan have won numerous national awards and nominations for environmental achievement from eco-friendly biodegradable towels and Fair-trade coffee to flooring, lighting, energy and water conservation, waste reduction and management by using recycled and carbon zero materials and furniture wherever possible.

Élan’s awards have yielded nationwide recognition for environmental innovation and sustainability and include the highly coveted Climate Week Award, a British Chamber of Commerce Award and a National Recycling Award for the UK’s Most Sustainable Business.

In his capacity as MSP for Aberdeenshire East, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond visited Élan Hair Design  in recognition of the business’ recent awards success and its commitment to sustainability.

Mr Salmond said: “The Milton family has overseen a remarkable transformation of Élan Hair Design, as they aspire to become Scotland’s most eco-friendly salon…I was hugely impressed by the work that has been done to vastly reduce the salon’s carbon footprint. Élan is at the cutting-edge of sustainable business practice and an excellent example for other small businesses looking to help the environment, while cutting their energy bills.”

In summary Lauren added “not only have we achieved our environmental aims, we continue to innovate and invest in training and skills to deliver the best hairdressing - it has been a completely addictive ongoing process.”

Find out more about Élan’s Carbon Management  Plan [LINK http://elanhair.co.uk/eco-plan/carbon-management-plan/]

Elan Hair Website

Grichan Partnership Website

National Business Awards Website


Good Energy has been selected as a finalist in The Grichan Partnership Business Sustainability Award at this year’s National Business Awards.

In the run up to the awards ceremony on 10th November we take a brief look at Good Energy and their approach to sustainability.

Good Energy, a UK owned company, based in Chippenham in the South West was founded over 15 years ago  by Juliet Davenport OBE with one clear goal – to make a difference to climate change.

The company was specifically set up in response to climate change, to be a catalyst for transforming the UK’s energy market by giving everyone the opportunity to switch to an energy supplier that is committed to providing 100% renewable electricity.

Good Energy’s ethos is that the energy market doesn’t need to be complex and mysterious and they believe simplicity and transparency should not only be at the heart of how every energy supplier treats its customers, but in the way it does business too.

Good Energy were the first dedicated 100% renewable electricity supplier and matches all of the electricity their customers use over the course of a year with power sourced purely from renewable sources like British sunshine, wind and rain. It currently has more than 55,000 electricity customers, 28,000 gas customers and supports over 93,500 Feed in Tariff (FIT) sites which are homes, businesses and communities generating their own renewable electricity all across the UK.

Commenting on the award nomination, Juliet Davenport, CEO and founder of Good Energy said:  “It’s fantastic to have been shortlisted for this award as it recognizes everyone’s hard work and achievements over the past year.”

“We strongly believe that we have the opportunity to use the footprint of our business as a force for good, promoting best practice and holding ourselves to the high standards that our customers have come to expect from us.”

 “Despite 2014 being a tough year; our mission to tackle climate change remains hugely important to us and we’ve continued to grow as a business, seeing even more consumers opt for renewable electricity. We’ve also invested in new renewable generation projects, continued to deliver industry leading customer service and secured funding for the next phase of our growth strategy.”

It’s a real honour to have been nominated and we’re looking forward to seeing who wins on the night!”

Good Energy Website

Grichan Partnership Website

National Business Awards Website

Think Big with O2’s Sustainability Blueprint

Telefónica UK are another one of the Grichan Partnerships Business Sustainability Award finalists.

O2 is the commercial name of Telefónica UK. O2 became “O2” in 2002, but was purchased by Telefónica SA to become Telefónica UK in 2005. However, to their 22m customers they have always been known as O2.

In 2009 they were challenged by their CEO Ronan Dunne to become the most sustainable company in their sector. Using an independent consultancy Forum for the Future, they came up with the Think Big Blueprint in 2012 - their ambitious 3 year sustainability strategy that encompasses three overarching goals (for people, for customers, and for the planet). These are backed by 40 commitments, with every directorate of the company taking ownership of a few.

Bill Eyres, Head of Sustainability for O2 explained: ‘With O2 continuing to grow and succeed, it was important to us to ensure this wasn’t at the cost of our sustainable credentials. However, with sustainability being owned by the whole company, and with such strong emphasis on it’s importance, the business continues to be a sustainability leader while remaining commercially competitive.’

As part of their Think Big Blueprint, they were the first digital communications company to develop a sustainability rating for their handsets and devices. The Eco rating system set the lead in point-of-sale sustainability grading and has now spread throughout the industry. Their Charger out the Box initiative also saw them become the first mobile provider to take unnecessary charger plugs out of handset boxes, lessening the excessive amount of unused chargers that are sat in draws and boxes throughout the UK. In addition, their O2 Recycle project is now Europe’s largest MVNO recycling scheme, out-performing competitors 2-for-1.

O2 encourage their head office employees to work flexibly; improving work/life balance, increasing working efficiency, and saving unnecessary carbon emissions from travelling. Their youth projects, through Go Think Big and Think Big Youth, encourage and allow young people to get involved in sustainability, through leading schemes in their local communities.

On top of the obvious energy and cost savings of running more efficient networks, O2 believe that their sustainability credentials add to their brand image, and have a retail impact on customer loyalty and attractiveness to new customers. They have also seen a benefit to their employees recently calculating that for every £1 invested in sustainability, they are receiving a £1.40 back in terms of employee engagement value.

Bill said: ‘We have been on an amazing journey since 2009 and without a doubt, having sustainability at the core of our business has seen a positive impact on our financial performance.

He added: ‘The Think Big Blueprint has been essential in getting us where we are today, and Think Big is not just a programme name anymore – it’s a state of mind, and we’ve worked hard to embed this philosophy across the business, for the benefit of people and planet.’

Find out more about Telefónica UK (O2) Think Big sustainability programme at

O2 think big website

Grichan Partnership Website

National Business Awards Website

Hadlow College has been selected as a finalist in The Grichan Partnership Business Sustainability Award at this year’s National Business Awards.

In the run up to the awards ceremony on 10th November we take a brief look at Hadlow College and their approach to business sustainability.

Hadlow heads up the Hadlow Group that includes West Kent College, Ashford College. Betteshanger Sustainable Park, Hadlow Community Pre-School, Hadlow Rural Community School and Produced in Kent (the latter in partnership with Kent County Council).

It is unusual for a college to be nominated – let alone short-listed – for a National Business Award. The education sector is generally perceived as largely dependent on government funding – thus links with business are often tenuous.  Led by Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, the group director of finance and resources, Hadlow most definitely does regard itself as a business – albeit with education the central core and most important element.  And aligned to this is recognition that, to be successful - especially significant with roots in the public sector - every element of the business model must be sustainable.

Today Hadlow is one of the UK’s most successful colleges but, look back a few years to 2003, and the picture was very different. Then the college was failing, threatened with closure or at best merger. Hadlow was – is – a specialist land-based college providing education and training in horticulture, agriculture and associated industries.  Loss of specialist training would impact very seriously in a county where farming and food production play a central role in economic and social terms. It was recognising that sustainability – in its many forms - is the essential bedrock that allowed Hadlow to transform from dismal failure to eminent success. Mark Lumsdon-Taylor and team understood that short term gain was not the answer and they developed a business model based on achieving long-term (sustainable) economic success.

The strategies they adopted can be measured in relation to the growth achieved in a remarkably short time.  Losses of £500,000 have been converted to a £2.1 million pound profit, an initial turnover of £3 million now standing at over £52 million and aligned to this; staff have increased from 75 to over 1,300. This is a remarkable achievement for a public sector institution, especially when considered in line with on-going cuts to National Funding.

It was recognition that total reliance on public sector funding was far from sustainable that led to the development of the financial model that is increasingly used as a blueprint by others in the education sector. Based on deriving income in three equal segments from higher education, further education and commercial activities, the structure has the inbuilt flexibility that safeguards the impact of downturns and adverse changes.

Hadlow believes that - to be sustainable - sustainability must embrace all stakeholders and partners in ways that produce the best results for all involved.  The college understands that ‘sustainable’ does not mean standing still and marking time! - Sustainable practices - in all spheres - must evolve according to changing and developing needs; it is understanding this that ensures Hadlow’s policies work.

The perception of sustainability is sometimes limited to threats associated with climate change, ability to deliver food security and concerns for depleting resources and loss of biodiversity.  Hadlow, whilst appreciating and embracing the immense importance of these issues, bases its sustainable policies on a broader agenda. The college believes that segmentation fails to address all the issues and thus weakens the whole. Hadlow also recognises that, for policies to produce optimum results, the structure needs to be simple to understand and easy to deliver.  At the same time, the composition must be challenging and the benefits perceptibly worthwhile. Thus the LESS campaign was devised and has been enthusiastically adopted by stakeholders including staff, students, partners and business associates.

The message is simple: use LESS fuel, water and energy whilst creating LESS waste. The economic benefits are easily measured: the environment-related contributions, although obvious, are not so immediately easy to determine.  Mark comments ‘The (LESS) philosophy is led from the senior level of the executive team and cascaded throughout the organisation. Everyone contributes, no-one is excluded’.

One of Hadlow’s most valuable contributions to sustainability - in all its many, many forms - relates to the college’s ability to educate, persuade, assist, enthuse and support its many stakeholders from widely differing backgrounds and interests. The cumulative results, although not quantifiable, undoubtedly enhance stakeholders’ understanding of the issues involved and this in turn leads to involvement.

The college holds regular Sustainability Group meetings involving staff, students and stakeholders from business and community. Progress is reported and problems are discussed. Everyone can come up with new ideas and suggest new strategies; it is this fundamental belief that everyone has a part to play that ensures the success of LESS.  Using local businesses benefits the community, it benefits Produced in Kent (the organisation that promotes Kent-produced food and drink) and it results in an annual saving of £700,000.  Dr Howard Lee, the college’s Sustainability Champion, helped to set up the HadLow Carbon Community involving people in the village and wider community.  In addition, Dr Lee helped to organise the Grower Group whereby Hadlow staff and students join local people to grow vegetables and fruit on land provided by the college.

The college’s ten acre Broadview Gardens are open to the public free of charge 365 days of the year along with Broadview Garden Centre and the award-winning Broadview Tea Room (college commercial enterprises). The gardens encourage community involvement which Hadlow perceives as fundamental to a sustainable future.  Hadlow maintains strong and active links with bodies such as Kent County Agricultural Society, Kent Wildlife Trust, the NFU, CLA, Action for Communities in Rural Kent, et cetera.  The college recognises that, working together objectively, the rural sector can achieve a more sustainable future.

Hadlow College has received numerous accolades and awards in regard to its Sustainability-related policy but – as Mark Lumsdon-Taylor says – ‘We are good – even very good – but we are always looking to be even better.  We never stop trying to improve!’

Hadlow College website

Grichan Partnership Website

National Business Awards Website

Crown Paints’ green team has sustainable approach

Crown Paints’ have been announced as one of the finalists in The Grichan Partnership Business Sustainability Award at this year’s National Business Awards.

Crown Paints’ launched Earthbalance® as part of their ongoing sustainability strategy in 2008 with a target to reduce their Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 10% for 2015 and 25% by 2020.

Rather than applying environmental benefits to niche products, or compromising on the quality of products to achieve green goals, the company has changed the way it does business, particularly in manufacturing.

Mark Lloyd, Crown Paints’ Sustainability Manager, said:  “Earthbalance® involves everyone from directors to the factory floor and we now have 1,250 members of staff acting as ‘green ambassadors’ who are buying in to a more sustainable future."

He added: “Communication and the sharing of ideas have been crucial to developing this culture and the whole business has the opportunity to present innovative ideas that transform the way Crown does business.”

The scale of Earthbalance® unites a number of initiatives, including the award-winning ‘Kick Out The Can’ recycling community scheme, which returned this year.

Sheds, cupboards and garages across the country are thought to hold around 54 million litres of unused paint, so customers were encouraged to recycle any surplus for recycling at their local Crown Decorating Centre.

The campaign has been a huge success. Thousands of containers of returned paint have been reprocessed and donated to community projects across the UK, with the leftover plastic and metal paint containers also sent for recycling.

NIMTECH, a social enterprise providing employment opportunities for the hard to reach and long-term unemployed, has played a key role in Crown’s sustainable journey - providing the business with waste recovery and recycling services across the UK. It has also reprocessed returned paints from the ‘Kick Out The Can’ initiative.

Mark added: “The sheer scale and impact of ‘Kick Out The Can’ – and its wide-ranging implications environmentally, socially and economically - make this a truly innovative initiative with the community at its heart.

“The paint that was brought back to Crown Decorating Centres has now been donated to a wide range of good causes. The recycled paint is transforming community halls, youth and sport centres and green spaces. It’s also being used to create community art.

“It’s a superb scheme that reflects how sustainability can make a real difference in business.

Find out more about Crown Paints’ sustainability programme below:

Crown Paints Sustainability

Grichan Partnership Website

National Business Awards Website

IKEA are one of the finalists in the Sustainable Business category sponsored by The Grichan Partnership at the National Business Awards in November.

IKEA’s 'People & Planet Positive' strategy is at the heart of how they do business, building upon the founding principles of thrift, efficiency, democratic design and accessibility; the strategy has enabled IKEA to be in a strong position to help address the sustainability challenges of the 21st century and allow people to live a more sustainable life at home each day.

"We’re dedicated to helping our customers live a more sustainable life at home with simple solutions, which is why we’re so proud to have recently switched all of our lighting range to LED."

Rather than simply reducing a business' harmful impact, IKEA aims to make a positive difference for customers, co-workers, suppliers and the planet. In 2014 for example, 75% of all lighting products sold in IKEA were LED/compatible with LED bulbs and as a result in September 2015 IKEA switched all their lighting range to affordable LED.

Joanna Yarrow, Head of Sustainability at IKEA UK and Ireland, said: “We’re dedicated to helping our customers live a more sustainable life at home with simple solutions, which is why we’re so proud to have recently switched all of our lighting range to LED. By switching to LED our customers will use up to 85 per cent less energy compared to incandescent light bulbs, which will not only reduce their carbon footprint but also help them combat rising energy prices.

“Cutting down on energy consumption shouldn’t mean cutting down on style, which is why we’ve embraced LED technology and worked hard to make products that are beautiful, sustainable and affordable, so our customers can love LED as much as we do.”

Keen to develop their continuing success in sustainable living, IKEA have appointed over 500 UK co-worker sustainability ambassadors over the past two years, to help contribute to in-store communications and activities for sustainable living with customers. IKEA’s development plan includes regular Ideas Festivals and well as marketing campaigns across sustainable living TV, radio and other media adverts. Furthermore the CEO of IKEA has actively joined New York’s people climate march, as well as presenting in UN discussions calling for governmental action on climate change.

Joanna Yarrow continues: “We’re extremely delighted and honoured that IKEA has been shortlisted in the Grichan Partnerships Sustainable Business Award. It is exciting that our commitment to sustainability has been recognised.”

NEWSFLASH: IKEA becomes the first major retailer to use 100% cotton from more sustainable sources. IKEA has just announced that all the cotton used for IKEA products comes from more sustainable sources, making it the first major retailer to reach this milestone.

Find out more about IKEA’s sustainability policy below:

IKEA Website

Grichan Partnership Website

National Business Awards Website


*Crown Paints honoured with prestigious Lloyds Bank National Business Award*

*Winners across all categories revealed at gala dinner ceremony last night*

* Buzz Aldrin headline speaker of the evening*

Crown Paints, one of the UK’s largest and most successful paint manufacturers, were named the Grichan Partnership Sustainable Business Award winners at the 2015 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards gala dinner ceremony, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane. Focusing on corporate longevity, this award recognises organisations that have embedded business sustainability principles and practices; as well as reaping the benefits in terms of improved commercial performance, competitiveness, customer perception, staff engagement, and prospects for continued financial strength.

With more than 200 years of history within the decorative industry, Crown Paints serve every sector of the decorative coatings market. Having recently launched a sustainable business strategy, Earthbalance, the programme seeks to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 10% for 2015 and 25% by 2020.

Geraldine Huxley, Customer Services Director for Crown Paints said: “We’re very proud to have won the Grichan Partnership Sustainability Business Award. Winning means that we can bring wealth, employment and sustainability to our local community of Darwen, Lancashire.”

Richard Hewitt at The Grichan Partnership, said: “We found that Crown Paints were exceptional in the way that they promoted sustainability throughout their business. They not only showed us how the projects they are involved in are truly transformational, but have inspired us all here on the judging panel. We would like to congratulate them on winning this award.”

Over 1200 business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians and media representatives gathered at the Grosvenor House Hotel for the 14th annual National Business Awards.  The Awards were presented by Sky News’ Ian King and Poppy Trowbridge and welcomed Former Astronaut and second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin as headline speaker.

The Prime Minister opened proceedings at the ceremony with a message for this year’s finalists. He told the audience: “I want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you on behalf of the whole country, for all that you’re doing to create jobs and growth in Britain...tonight we celebrate all that you’re doing, from your leadership in digital and innovation, to the Duke of York’s new award for University Entrepreneurship, these awards are rightly the Oscars of great British business.

“The awards recognise people who have the guts to strike out on their own, who have the tenacity to work hard for every deal and who have the innovation and vision that lets you grow your business and take new people on. Its people like you who are making this the most entrepreneurial and dynamic period in our country’s recent history. So thank you again for all you’re doing.”

The winners across all 18 categories included The University of Leeds for the Duke of York University Entrepreneurship category, Premiership Rugby, winner of The Corporate Citizenship Award, and The Body Coach, winner of the Lloyds Bank New Business of the Year. *see footnotes for all winners

Carolyn McCall OBE, Chief Executive of Easyjet was named Ashridge Business School Leader of the Year. This is the highest accolade in the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards which recognises the personal imprint of the UK’s most high profile leaders and industry champions from the private, public and third sectors. The finalists were judged on their achievements as business leaders over the last 18 months, and their personal achievements in the course of their career.

Tony Pidgley CBE, Chairman of Berkeley Group was awarded with The Lloyds Bank Excellence in Business Award.

Tom Broughton, Programme Director for the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards, said: “We were delighted to host yet another successful gala dinner ceremony celebrating the full spectrum of British Business in 2015; the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards are the accolade of choice for those seeking the highest recognition. This year’s winners demonstrate the quality and diversity of businesses driving economic growth in the UK.”

For more information and to find out how to register your business for the 2016 National Business Awards, visit www.nationalbusinessawards.co.uk.