CREST21 Business Awards judges this week revealed the shortlist of finalists in Surrey’s first sustainable business awards.

The entry date deadline was extended to 20 March in all the award categories – Resilience in Crisis, Transforming Food, Going Circular, Efficiency Champion and Sustainability Impact – and with the awards event just two weeks away, the waiting is almost over.

Businesses based or operating across Surrey entered and the judges said they faced a tough challenge due to the high quality of entries. Their final decision on the 2021 Sustainability Hero of the Year still remains under wraps until the event, which is being live-streamed from The Lightbox in Woking from noon on Thursday 20 May.

Three of the businesses who entered the awards have been shortlisted in two categories. Both Mesh, an independent energy consultancy and Pennypot Day Nursery, for children aged six weeks to five years, were selected in Sustainability Impact as well as Efficiency Champion categories, while Silent Pool Distillers are listed in Going Circular and Resilience in Crisis.

Katie Sargent, the Environment Commissioning Group manager for Surrey County Council, the headline sponsor, was among the six judges who each acknowledged the high standard of entries and the challenge they faced in selecting the shortlisted candidates.

“I was so impressed with the calibre of entries; it was really great to see all of the different initiatives that local businesses have been undertaking in order to reduce their impact on the environment. It was very difficult to judge as so many of the entries were of a very high standard,” Katie said.

Terry Tidbury, managing director of the News & Mail, agreed: “I was seriously impressed by the abundance of well-crafted entries to these awards. The sheer diversity of businesses that entered and the practical applications of their products and practices fills me with much confidence that, together, the business community can and will help deliver a much more sustainable future.

“It was a really tough judging process and it was a shame that many more entries could not have been shortlisted,” he added.

Woking borough councillor Kevin Davis was another judge impressed by the entries: “As portfolio holder for the Environment and Promoting the Local Economy, I was delighted to see so many quality entries for the CREST21 awards. With such outstanding and innovative businesses operating locally, I strongly believe we will come back from the COVID crisis, both better environmentally, and also stronger economically.”

The chair of the Woking Chamber of Commerce environment committee, Carol Miller, said: “It was tremendously inspiring to see the enterprising spirit towards sustainability from businesses right here on our doorstep. It was so interesting to learn about the products and services that are aimed specifically at protecting the environment and about businesses and organisations making a difference simply through the way they operate.”

The entries and, in particular, the shortlisted companies are meeting the aims of CREST21 Awards, which is to inspire and motivate innovation by enterprises to protect the environment with sustainable working and lifestyle habits. They are being presented by the Woking News & Mail in association with the University of Surrey’s Centre for Environment and Sustainability.

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CREST21 Business Awards Shortlist:

Efficiency Champion

  • Wey Estates t/a Tannery Studios
  • Mesh Energy
  • Pennypot Day Nursery

Transforming Food

  • Binary Botanicals
  • Eden Greens – Urban Farm
  • HOP

Going Circular

  • Silent Pool Distillers
  • Instant Swim
  • Bare & Fair

Sustainability Impact

  • Mesh Energy
  • Red Box
  • Pennypot Day Nursery

Resilience in Crisis

  • Silent Pool Distillers
  • Plant Passion
  • Surrey Care Trust