Devon businesses and educational enterprise were honoured at the 25th Anniversary Devon Environmental Awards held at the Met Office in Exeter.
The annual event organised by the Devon Environmental Business Initiative (DEBI), recognises organisations that go the extra mile in environmental best practice.
Exeter’s SunGift Energy, a previous winner and long-term DEBI member won the Made in Devon Award as well as picking up the prestigious Overall Winner Award. The company’s outstanding technical expertise enables them to deliver exceptional cost-saving environmental solutions, with over 200 systems installed in 2017. SunGift’s environmental ethos is ingrained into the business culture, including staff, suppliers and its own premises.
East Devon District Council’s StreetScene Department won the Public Service in Devon Award. The initiative has resulted in an increase in recycling from 43 percent to 57 percent in just six months. The team excelled in the way they involved residents of East Devon from start to finish of the roll-out, responding positively to any issues raised and with their intentions to go further, with the introduction of green waste collections as the next phase.
North Devon was well represented, with luxury holiday cottages business Millbrook Cottages in High Bickington scooping the Enjoyed in Devon Award. The judges felt there was an excellent commitment to enhancing the biodiversity of the site both by the owners and the staff, and were impressed by the commitment to the testing of products used and to finding effective and sustainable procurement solutions.
South Molton CP School took the honours in the Educated in Devon category, impressing the judges with a whole school dedication to the environment. They said: “This entry was truly inspirational, putting the environment at the heart of all they do, which was demonstrated by the engagement of the children in all activities.” Overall the standard of entries in the Educated in Devon category was very high, with all entries demonstrating a huge commitment to teaching others about sustainable practices and spreading the word to the wider communities.
The Sustainable in Devon Award went to the Glorious Oyster Cafe in Instow. Judges were impressed to see sustainable decisions being made across the business, from the organisation of beach cleans to the selection of small local suppliers, promoting the circular economy.
The 2017 Environmental Champion is Sonya Bedford from Stephens Scown. Sonya is a lawyer with a mission to promote a zero-carbon lifestyle. She has a passion for renewable energy and excels in her commitment to encouraging young people to become involved with renewables and their environment.
DEBI Chairman, John Smith from Brightsea Printers said: “In our 25th year, the judges were once again very impressed with the quality of our finalists and the high standard of entries that had been submitted throughout the different categories.
“The judges visited each of the finalists before choosing the winners, and this year it was particularly difficult to make a decision. Winners are judged on the real commitment they show to the environment and the ability to run a successful business or organisation with green aims at the heart.”