BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 31 March '15

And the winners are…

Last year’s People. Environment. Achievement. (P.E.A.) Awards ceremony was a roaring success; the glamorous green carpet event honoured people who are walking the talk and championing successful approaches to sustainability in their respective fields – from technology and travel to community and campaign work.

Unlike other sustainability awards, the P.E.A.s celebrate individuals and teams rather than products and brands. They recognise the power of individuals when it comes to shifting paradigms, and send a clear message that positive change is in our own hands.

The theme for the awards ceremony was ‘Unity’, and the event demonstrated how big business and consumers can unite for positive change.

The winners are pioneering eco-warriors, heroes and champions who serve as living testament to the fact that individuals and groups can inspire real change where other leaders have failed.

Here are just some of the winners from the night and why they deserve to be recognised and celebrated.

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Award: Arts

Alice Sharp

Curator & Director, Invisible Dust

To make the invisible visible, artists have an important role in increasing our understanding of climate change, the environment and how we can live more sustainably. Invisible Dust is a not-for-profit organisation that has raised over £1 million to commission art projects relating to the environment. It was founded in 2009 by Alice Sharp, who was previously the curator of the Fourth Plinth with Antony Gormley.

Artists have many ways of making things visible and, particularly since the Land Art movement in the 1960s and 1970s, have responded to changes in the natural environment in a variety of forms. At the same time, artists are increasingly exploring data hacking, real-time sensors and technological advances, such as smart buildings, that offer new sustainable ways of living.

Through Invisible Dust, Alice’s mission is to encourage awareness of, and meaningful responses to, climate change, technological and environmental issues and air pollution. ‘Through this award, I hope to gain more recognition for the work that Invisible Dust does to bring leading artists and scientists together to produce exciting new art commissions to large audiences’, Alice told PQ. ‘Each artwork explores themes such as flooding, air pollution, the Arctic and the oceans from a new angle, and Invisible Dust has engaged audiences of 600,000’.

Alice hopes the award will help to raise the profile of Invisible Dust 2015 projects, including Adam Chodzko’s new film about why we are not changing our behaviour when we know about climate change. The film, Deep Above, will be premiered at the Watershed as part of Bristol European Green Capital in Autumn 2015.

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Award: Fashion

Fashion Revolution

Fashion Revolution is a worldwide platform, with teams in 66 countries, that’s using the power of fashion to inspire change and reconnect the broken links in the supply chain. The global coalition of designers, academics, writers and business leaders is calling for systemic reform of the fashion supply chain.

On 24 April 2013, 1,133 people died in the Rana Plaza catastrophe in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A further 2,500 were injured. They were killed while working for familiar fashion brands in one of the many ‘accidents’ that plague the garment industry. The Fashion Revolution team believes that 1,133 is too many people to lose from the planet in one factory, on one terrible day, without it standing for something.

While much has been done by individual organisations over the years to bring about change, Fashion Revolution brings together best practice initiatives across the supply chain. It asks questions and aims to raise standards and set an industry-wide example of what better looks like.
Fashion Revolution Day – to be held annually on 24 April, the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster – will help to keep the most vulnerable in the supply chain in the public eye.

‘We hope the PEA Award will encourage everyone to join us on Fashion Revolution Day’, says Carry Somers, founder of Fashion Revolution. ‘Turn an item of clothing inside-out and ask the brand ‘Who Made My Clothes?’’

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Award: Campaigner (Global)

Rob Hopkins

Catalyist & Outreach Manager at Transportation Network

The Transition Network began in 2006 and has since grown to thousands of communities in over 50 countries around the world, who are working to build more resilient local economies and to reweave the connections that bring communities together.

Peak oil and climate change have rapidly moved up in people’s awareness in recent years, but often – particularly in relation to peak oil – solutions tend to be thin on the ground. Since its initial emergence in Kinsale in 2005, the Transition idea has spread virally across the UK and further afield, serving as a catalyst for community-led responses to these twin challenges.

Rob suspects he was nominated for the award because of his work founding and supporting the Transition movement – though he acknowledges the nomination may also have been in recognition of the community brewery, New Lion Brewery, that he co-founded – or, ‘most likely’, the great beetroot he grows in his garden.

‘It is wonderful to be recognised in this way, especially at an awards ceremony that had such great food’, Rob told PQ. ‘Transition, and what people consider to be its achievements, has emerged from the work of many, many thousands of people around the world, so of all the awards given out that night, this was probably the one that was really given to the most people’, he added. ‘For those of us attempting very ambitious world-changing projects, recognition and celebration is really important, so I’d like to thank all the judges for celebrating our work in this way. It was a great evening.’

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Award: Communications

Anna Guyer

Founder, Greenhouse PR

Greenhouse PR develops campaigns that inspire people with innovative ideas, technology, products and services, and communicates how they can help to solve big problems and deliver real change. ‘We highlight their competitiveness – why they make business and environmental sense’, said Anna Guyer, founder of Greenhouse PR. ‘We are totally focused on our mission to drive change – from inspiring people to become smart and sustainable investors to reframing the renewables debate and promoting the Transition model of developing sustainable local economies.’

Anna has 20 years’ experience in communications, including several years as board director for one of the UK’s top PR agencies. She has advised leading companies on corporate reputation and brand campaigns and has run public awareness campaigns on food aid and issues in the developing world. Over the last five years, Anna has developed leadership programmes that address key social, health and environmental issues.
Dedicated to communications that will help to build a more sustainable future, Anna loves networking and linking clients who share interests and objectives – and she absolutely loves the work she does.

‘We have strong and trusted relationships with ambassadors, influencers and the media, which we can draw on to help our clients make a difference’, Anna told us. ‘We hope that the PEA Award will help us reach out to new clients who want to make a difference and have a bigger impact.’

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Award: Community

The Conservation Foundation’s Tool Shed Project

What do you do with garden tools that are too broken to use but too good to throw away? Donate them to Tools Shed and you’ll help prisoners learn new skills, save tonnes of waste and get recycled tools into schools.

For almost 10 years, The Conservation Foundation’s Tools Shed project has been collecting garden tools that have been deposited at garden centres and gathered by horticultural organisations or at gardening shows. They’re then taken away to be repaired in Tools Shed workshops in three UK prisons; once they’ve been given a new lease of life they’re given away free to school and community gardeners.

The project was piloted at the famous Wandsworth Prison and now it’s part of prison regimes at HMPs Edinburgh and Dartmoor. The free recycled tools are available to school and community gardens in the areas surrounding the prisons and at collection points. Tools are currently available in Cornwall, Devon, Edinburgh, Lincolnshire, London, Northumberland and Oxfordshire.

This unique and imaginative recycling scheme equips a new generation of gardeners, provides skills and work for prisoners and reduces waste. Everyone’s a winner.

‘News of our PEA Award success got some great coverage in the press and online’, said Lindsay Swan of the Tools Shed project. ‘Our funders are delighted to be supporting such a worthwhile project and we have plans to expand our prison network to get more ‘new’ tools to school and community gardeners. Thank you.’

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Award: Energy (EU)

Tobias Judmaier

CEO & FOunder, iss mich!

Under the slogan ‘Eat it, don’t waste it’, iss mich! (eat me!) is an Austrian catering company that prepares delicious vegetarian dishes from perfectly healthy vegetables that didn’t meet retailers’ standards – not because of their quality, but because of their aesthetic appearance.

‘The topic of food waste – and especially ways of dealing with it – is very important to us’, says Tobias Judmaier, CEO and founder of iss mich!. ‘Having found a way of reducing food waste in large quantities, iss mich! is a scalable concept around the globe. Our main priority is to present this concept and make it as widely known as possible.’

Every year, 168,000kg of food is thrown away in Austria – that’s equal to 40kg – or €300 – per household.

Iss mich!’s ingredients are ‘rescued’ from fields and factories and donated by the company’s partners. Meals are delivered in reusable glass containers to cut down on materials and all food is delivered by bicycle in order to guarantee the lowest carbon emission possible. The catering crew also consists of people who have experienced problems getting into the labour market.

‘Internationally renowned awards, such as the PEA Awards, can help us to build a profile and awareness for what we do’, Tobias told PQ. ‘It supports us in the fundraising process and helps us to find new and influential partners. We entered because the possibility of spreading our idea beyond the German-speaking world was a great opportunity that we could not let go by.’

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Award: Energy (UK)

Siobhan Thomasson

General Manager, Holiday Inn Winchester

Set in in rolling Hampshire countryside close to the South Downs, Holiday Inn Winchester has strong links to its local community and environment. Since opening in 2010, the hotel has worked hard to keep its carbon footprint low and put environmentally friendly processes in place.

The hotel itself was designed with the environment and sustainability in mind, and had a structured plan for sustainability when it first opened its doors four years ago. Initiatives such as dry goods recycling and purchasing local ingredients for dishes served in the award-winning Morn Hill Brasserie are already in place, and the hotel continues to adopt new initiatives to reduce electricity consumption, as this has the greatest impact on its carbon footprint.

The hotel was the first in Winchester to install electric car charging points in the hotel car park, which also has a bicycle store for guests and visitors, with staff encouraged to car share or use public transport.

‘We entered the PEA Awards as we are always looking for ways to demonstrate to our customers that the Holiday Inn Winchester is innovative, focused on the community and the environment and a high-quality four-star hotel’, said Siobhan Thomasson, general manager of Holiday Inn Winchester. ‘Winning an award like this encourages us to continue focusing on the environment and the community, and helps promote us as a hotel that it is good to do business with. We know that as a business we have a large impact on the environment, and it shows that we care about doing what we can to minimise this.’

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Award: Entrepreneur

Toddington Harper

CEO, Big60Million, BELECTRIC UK

Toddington Harper has been behind a number of pioneering green ventures in the sustainable energy industry, but it was his work as CEO of Big60Million that earned him a PEA Award.

Big60Million gives ‘power to the people’ by allowing local people to invest in high-quality solar schemes, mitigating local opposition to individual solar farm projects by genuinely involving communities in their rewards.

The first Big60Million project, based around the Willersey Solar Farm in Gloucestershire, offered investors the UK’s first certified Climate Bond with one of the best interest rates on the market, paid for five years, and the opportunity to reinvest afterwards. The £4 million bond offering was over-subscribed by close to £1 million. Several more Big60Million projects are now in the pipeline.

‘We want to push the boundaries of what can be achieved through intelligent application of solar energy’, Toddington told PQ, ‘with a focus on benefiting as many people as possible.’

As more than 95% of a solar farm remains as grassland, there is an opportunity to create protected Nature sanctuaries under and among the rows of solar panels. Acres of wild flower meadows have been planted to support beehives housed within the solar farms, ensuring a constant source of water is present, and animal habitats have been created throughout each site to safeguard numerous species under threat from loss of habitat and climate change. Big60Million and BELECTRIC UK work closely with environmental partners including the RPSB, the British Beekeepers’ Association and Flowerscapes to ensure each project delivers optimum biodiversity enhancement.

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Award: Food & Drink

Maggie Haynes, Tuppenny Barn

Project FOunder & Director

Tuppenny Barn has come a long way since its founder, Maggie Haynes, bought the neglected 2.4-acre site between Emsworth and Southbourne and started gathering support and funding to transform it into an educational and community facility to promote healthy food production.

Pass through the double gates of the organic enterprise and you’ll enter a whole new world of food production plus educational and community activities. Each area of the smallholding demonstrates Tuppenny Barn’s commitment to providing natural, nutritious food in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way.

It was hoped that Tuppenny Barn’s nomination would raise awareness of the project and prove that promoting sustainable living, in all its forms, can be done by anyone with a vision.

Maggie pointed out that the award has raised the profile of Tuppenny Barn on a local and national basis. ‘We have had a terrific response from our supporters who found out about the award from social media’, she said. ‘Winning the award is a giant step forward for Tuppenny Barn and for what we are doing to provide information and education as well as organic fruit and vegetables to our local community. We have also received a number of messages of support from national organisations and well-known individuals in the food and drink sector. This has raised our profile among some of our industry’s major players and gives us the confidence that we are doing things in the right way on our small but productive organic smallholding.’

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Award: Retail

Julian Richards

Direcor, Milestone Design Ltd.

Milestone Design Ltd is a family-run business that was set up in 1991, to supply and fit replacement kitchen unit doors. These days, it provides complete kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchen refurbishment, hardwood flooring, lighting, tiling and much more.
Most of Milestone Design’s work is now based on promoting the concept of eco-friendly kitchens – something the company started back in 2005 – and the business is always looking for new recycled products and investigating how they can be incorporated into its furniture ranges. In 2005, Milestone Design created K.O.R.C, the UK’s first kitchen to be made from genuinely recycled materials. The doors are made from a 100% recycled mix of yoghurt pots and fridge liners.
‘We didn’t expect to win when we entered’, said Julian Richards, director of Milestone Designs. ‘It was more an attempt to give ourselves a pat on the back and boost the belief in what we are doing. Our industry is littered with examples of polluting processes used in furniture manufacture and enormous amounts of materials wastage. Using materials that have been and can be recycled are what we believe to be the future if we are to help slow down or stop our natural re-sources from being squandered.’
‘We are of the opinion that being part of a growing network of ‘like-minded’ businesses, such as those the PEA Awards seems to be able to bring together, gives everyone a much improved opportunity to further the green ethos and attitude’, Julian added. ‘The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, as they say!’

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Award: Schools (Teaching)

Marcus Culverwell

Headmaster at Reigate St Mary’s Preparatory & Choir School

Marcus Culverwell was nominated for his services to education in raising the profile of sustainability through the writing of the book Don’t Hide the Truth and for developing Education for Social Responsibility within the education sector.

Marcus combined his passion for the environment, his academic science background and his drive for excellence in education to develop resources for the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) for their programme of Education for Social Responsibility (ESR) in 2013.

His book, Don’t Hide the Truth – Our Children’s Future and the Storms Ahead, highlights the reasons why Marcus believes ESR needs to be central to the education that our children receive. ‘I encourage people to read the book, not because I wrote it, but because I believe there needs to be a deep understanding of the issues discussed in the book if we are to change the way that we run the global economy and if we are to protect our children from the fallout from decades of profligate living and ecological degradation’, Marcus said.

‘I hope that the additional profile that this work will have received will help many more people, schools and leaders in education to recognise the imperative there is to educate young people, at every stage of their schooling, about sustainability and social responsibility’, Marcus told PQ. ‘If the content of my book resonates with you, please do spread it as far and wide as possible. I truly believe the message needs to be ‘out there’.’

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Award: Schools (Education)

The Brighton Wastehouse Team

Over 360 students helped design and construct the Brighton Waste House – Europe’s first permanent public building made from waste – and it’s carbon negative!

The Waste House is a partnership between two academic institutions, Brighton & Hove City Council, Freegle UK, The Mears Group, 37 big and small corporate businesses, local schools, charitable groups and a host of volunteers – all joining in as equal partners. The purpose of the project was to investigate strategies for constructing a contemporary, low-energy, permanent building using over 85% ‘waste’ material drawn from household and construction sites.

Now complete, the team continues to work together to raise awareness of issues in the world of sustainable design and the circular economy. ‘Getting the PEA Schools Award was a huge honour for all our team as it acknowledged our hard work to involve young people in the design and construction process’, said Duncan Baker-Brown, architect, campaigner and senior lecturer at the University of Brighton. ‘That was for us perhaps the most valuable element of our project: collective learning by doing.’

‘We entered our Brighton Waste House project because your awards focus on the people who actually make things happen and move things on in the world of sustainable development’, Duncan told us. ‘You also have great categories that acknowledge the issues that need to be considered to help our communities towards a sustainable present and future.’

‘Winning the PEA Schools Award adds enormous credibility to our working method of involving young people in the design and construction of Europe’s first permanent public building made of waste’, Duncan added.

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Award: Supply Chain

Philipp Kauffmann

CEO & Founder, Original Beans

When entrepreneur-conservationist Philipp Kauffmann left his job at the UN to start a new venture, he sought inspiration from the generations of recognised forest explorers and environmentalists in his family. His great-grandfather founded one of the largest Nature conservation organisations in Germany, and 220 years ago one of his ancestors, G. L. Hartig, helped to coin the term sustainability itself.

Since 2008, Original Beans has helped to plant one million trees in regions as remote as the Amazon and as challenging as Eastern Congo. Original Beans has changed the lives of 20,000 cacao-growing families, preserved some of the rarest cacaos in the world and helped to buffer forests that harbour the last mountain gorillas and the breathtaking birds of paradise.

Original Beans has taken the mission of rainforest biodiversity conservation from its traditional NGO domain into the consumer market, and made it into a Michelin-starred chocolate and eco-lifestyle brand. Through the ‘One bar:one tree’ initiative, each Original Beans purchase contributes trace and measurably to a conservation project, so the cycle between consumption and conservation is closed. The result is a climate-positive product experience all wrapped up in an award-winning chocolate.

‘Original Beans has won many awards for our outstanding chocolates and designs’, Phillipp told PQ. ‘The PEA Award, for the first time, acknowledges the underlying circular business and supply chain model. We expect such independent recognition to support us in further educating and raising awareness of the critical importance of biodiversity.’