A LIVE showcase event at the WWF headquarters in Woking saw the CREST22 Business Awards celebrate companies striving to achieve environmental sustainability.

The county’s only green business awards had seen an array of entries this year, from blue chip corporates to sole-trader enterprises.

“It bears testament to the businesses and community leaders who are making great strides in Surrey in saving and protecting the environment,” said Carol Miller, co-director of the awards.

A shortlist of 17 businesses had been chosen by a panel of green experts for the six available categories.

Sustainability Hero went to Raj Kumari Byford, founder of One Thought Changes All, a business set up to promote zero waste products with a purpose to help protect the planet and people. Its School Ambassador programme encourages children to become ambassadors for their planet.

“This award will enable 1TcA to now open more doors to help create more environmentally friendly projects to help ensure we have a sustainable future for our citizens of the future,” she said.

The Smarter Transport category was won by McLaren Applied for research and development work that includes a key component for delivering the next generation of electric vehicles, weight reduction technology for train carriages, and a fuel analytics platform to reduce carbon emissions.

Until recently part of the larger supercar and motorsport business McLaren Group, McLaren Applied is now privately owned and able to focus fully on its technology products and solutions, while continuing to maintain close ties with the racing brand.

“As a Surrey-based employer, we’re proud to see our locally-developed solutions being recognised for the pioneering role they play in the transition to more efficient and lower carbon forms of transport,” said business director Samir Maha.

One of the most hotly contested categories was Sustainability Impact which had such a large number of high-quality entries that the judges chose six finalists – three more than required. The winner was Clandon Wood Nature Reserve and Burial Ground.

Among the other winners were Efficiency Champion PlantPassion, where owner Claire Brown, whose farm in East Clandon in the Surrey Hills, grows seasonal sustainable flowers.

Nordic Wellness Drinks, which produces Kefir-based fruit drinks flavoured with Nordic super-berries and aims to educate and support local communities about natural good health, took the Going Circular title.

Crumbs Brewing won this year’s Transforming Food award for its beer made from unsold loaves from their local bakery which they turn into beer. Each beer is brewed using a different loaf, reflecting the character of the bread.

Reigate couple Morgan and Elaine Arnell, who launched the brewery, had been driven by a desire to do something positive to fight the growing problem of food waste. They claim to have rescued over 30,000 loaves from being wasted – roughly a slice in every pint.

The awards are run in association with the University of Surrey’s Centre for Environment and Sustainability (CES). Professor Angela Druckman, director of the CES, and her team helped contribute to the creation of the awards.

“CES is keen to work with local businesses to help them become more sustainable,” she said. “It is crucial that businesses act now to reduce their carbon emissions, and Surrey businesses have an important role to play.”

Each category award winner will receive sustainable business consultancy advice, while the Sustainability Hero gets the chance to attend one of the university’s Masters’ level week-long modules.

Praise for green awards scheme

SURREY County Council was headline sponsor for CREST22, and cabinet member for environment, Cllr Marisa Heath, one of the speakers at last week’s event, praised the green awards scheme.

“Surrey County Council takes the climate work really seriously and it is a top priority for us, but we know we cannot get to Net Zero alone. We are really keen to work with businesses and the CREST Awards show us just how ambitious and innovative Surrey businesses are, which will all help to make us a thriving green county.

“It is really uplifting to see all the good work going on, as often this seems like an uphill battle. With us all coming together we are going in the right direction, and Surrey residents can also help to support these businesses, buy local and buy sustainable.

“SCC is a proud sponsor of the CREST Awards, and we look forward to see what comes next!”

See full picture spread of the event in the 26 May edition of the News & Mail