Pembrokeshire’s Bluestone National Park Resort has been named the overall national Example of Excellence in the Rural Action category during Business in the Community’s annual responsible business awards, the 2011 Awards for Excellence.
Following on from their ‘Big Tick’ win at the Welsh awards event last month, Bluestone beat off stiff competition from organisations across the UK including EDF Energy and Milklink to win the accolade.
Bluestone’s award winning initiative is believed to be a world first for the leisure industry. Their landmark leisure attraction, the Blue Lagoon, is heated from biomass energy that comes from crops grown by local farmers. This partnership with Pembrokeshire’s farming community invests in the local economy and reduces the resort’s carbon footprint. This award winning initiative was recognised by judges for having ‘sustainability at its very heart’, and for the courageous approach with which the business supports the region’s rural economy.
Now in its 14th year, the Awards for Excellence is a prestigious annual showcase of the UK’s best responsible businesses in action. The Awards highlight the positive impact businesses are having in the environment, amongst their employees, through the supply chains and in the local communities in which they operate.
The national gala dinner event was hosted by comedian Jack Dee and BBC journalist Mishal Hussain at London’s Royal Albert Hall in front of a packed audience of over 1,000 high profile business leaders. Before attending the gala dinner, William McNamara, founder of Bluestone, was invited to a celebratory networking reception at No11 Downing Street where he met with the chancellor George Osborne and chief executives from other shortlisted companies.
William McNamara said: “This is a proud day for us. We set out to establish Bluestone as an environmentally sustainable business working with our local community. Just three years after we opened Bluestone, we have achieved national recognition for our work. But we have much more to do and being named as a national ‘Example of Excellence’ will drive us forward to achieve much more.”
Mark Taylor, Group Milk Procurement Director, Dairy Crest group Plc and chair of the Awards for Excellence judging panel said: “Bluestone is a truly inspirational business led by real passion. Through an innovative and courageous business model with sustainability at its heart, they have had a major impact on reversing the trend of unemployment and declining economy in rural Pembrokeshire. What is exciting is that their work is industry leading and highly scalable.”
Stephen Howard, Chief Executive of Business in the Community, said: “Each year the Awards for Excellence showcases the most inspiring and impactful examples of corporate responsibility in action. Each of our winners displays a genuine commitment to continually improve their business practices and transform the communities in which they operate and do business. Our winners should be proud of their achievements particularly in these challenging times. They are taking a genuine stand to prove that doing business and doing good are not mutually exclusive concerns. We hope that by sharing their stories and successes, other companies will be challenged to place responsible business at the heart of their operation.”
Simon Harris, Wales Director for Business in the Community, added: “Bluestone is a business that truly is leading by example in its approach to supporting the local community and the environment and is a fantastic example of a sustainable business grown right here in Wales. On behalf of BITC and all our Welsh members, I congratulate them on their success.”
Paul Ratcliffe, of PBESCO, partners in Bluestone’s biomass project, said: "Congratulations to Bluestone. The award demonstrates the success of our partnership and the commitment by both businesses to work with local farmers."
The Company of the Year award in association with Tomorrow’s Company was picked up by Wates Construction Group for its innovative approach and commitment to addressing the critical sustainability challenges that their industry faces. Wates was also named Responsible Company of the Year at Business in the Community’s Welsh awards last month.
The 2011 Awards for Excellence event is sponsored by outgoing Company of the Year Unilever.
Awards in numbers
With all national and regional award entries combined, BITC received 394 entries in 2011. 123 entries resulted in National Big Tick awards, and 65 of these were shortlisted for the Example of Excellence within their category. 87 companies had their 2009/2010 national Big Ticks reaccredited this year.