Two UK companies take home share of plaudits at Gigaton Awards
Tesco and Centrica are amongst the six companies to have been recognised at this year’s Gigaton Awards – a worldwide event that honours outstanding performance in carbon reduction and sustainability measures. Alex Blackburne rounds up the ceremony.
At a time when the world is on edge over the United Nations’ COP17 talks in Durban, we are provided with some encouraging relief in the form of the second annual Gigaton Awards, which took place at the weekend.
The event – also staged in South Africa’s third largest city, in a deliberate attempt to run alongside the UN’s climate change meeting – honours organisations that have made significant steps forward to reduce their carbon footprint and become more sustainable.
Amongst the six winners of awards – across five sectors, then one overall – two were based in the UK, with supermarket Tesco topping the Consumer Discretionary category, and energy company Centrica coming out best in Utilities.
A total of 25 companies were nominated for the awards, based on an analysis of their carbon emissions reduction activities over the last year, with that figure being whittled down to six by a panel of judges.
Following the announcement, Centrica tweeted its joy on Sunday, stating that it was “delighted” to have received an award, whilst Simon Henderson, director of corporate responsibility, echoed these sentiments, stating how he was similarly “delighted” that Centrica’s “efforts [had] received such important external recognition”.
Other winners from elsewhere in the world included Philips, which won in the Consumer Staples category, Schneider Electric, which was deemed the leader in Industrials, and Swisscom, which topped the Telecommunications category.
JJ van Dongen, CEO of Phillips Africa and Harry Verhaar, Senior Director of Energy and Climate Change, both of whom attended the event in Durban, released a joint statement on behalf of the electronics giant.
“Philips is proud to win a prestigious Gigaton Award by the Carbon War Room, which is a great recognition for a lot of colleagues at Philips who are eager to contribute to the sustainable development agenda – not only for the benefit of the company, but particularly for the benefit of our customers and stakeholders.
“We see this award as a token that increases our sense of responsibility in moving this agenda forward.”
Schneider Electric, an electrical manufacturer based in France, also took to Twitter to voice its happiness, stating that it was “very proud to be recognized as a Gigaton 2011 winner”.
Meanwhile, Swisscom’s head of corporate responsibility, Kathrin Amacker, said, “We are delighted that Swisscom has won this award.
“It shows we are on the right path within the international arena. We will continue to strive to support our customers’ efforts to save energy and CO2 by offering them further products and services.”
The overall prize, given to the company that has made the most impact in carbon reduction measures across the world, went to Chinese solar firm, SunTech, whilst
Germany earned a special award that was given to the country that has invested the most in renewable energy in the past year.
Having first taken place last year, its judging panel included some of the world leaders in climate change action. The included Yvo de Boer, former Director General of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), and Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency. These were just three names sitting on the 22-strong bench, alongside various senior executives, politicians, and NGOs.
The Gigaton Awards lay down a simple message that we, as a planet, are making important changes to the way we’re conducting ourselves. And that is a wholly positive thing.
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