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Saluting the green supply chain

Seven organisations picked up European awards for excellence in environmental management at a ceremony in Stockholm in November. The theme for the 2009 European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) Awards was the supply chain, including green public procurement. Winners came from sectors as diverse as environmental consulting, manufacturing, recycling and rail transport.



The awards recognise European companies and organisations that have made outstanding achievements in environmental management. Nominees are drawn from the more than 4,300 organisations registered under the scheme, which has been running since 1995. The voluntary scheme is a management tool, enabling companies and organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. Participants are encouraged to exceed the requirements of environmental laws through continual improvement in areas such as energy efficiency, resource consumption and waste management.

Green business practices

Each year the annual EMAS awards focus on a different theme related to eco-management. This year's theme was the supply chain, including green public procurement. This can include, for example, increasing the number of recycled materials in products and manufacturing processes, using electricity produced from renewable sources, environmentally-friendly catering services and energy-efficient IT equipment.

Thirty-two organisations from 12 European countries were nominated for awards this year. Each one was selected at national level to represent their country, although Member States are only entitled to nominate one organisation per category. Prizes were awarded in five categories: micro-organisations (fewer than 10 employees and less than €2 million annual turnover), small organisations (10-50 employees and annual turnover up to €10 million), medium-sized organisations (50-250 employees and annual turnover up to €50 million and/or annual balance sheet of up to €43 million), large organisations (over 250 employees and annual turnover of more than €50 million and/or annual balance sheet of more than €43 million), and public administrations.

And the winners are…

The winner of the first category was Brussels-based Eco-Conseil Entreprise. The environmental consulting firm was rewarded for successfully practising what it preaches, with 98% of total expenditure going on 'green' products and services and a substantial reduction of its environmental impact.

In the small organisation category, Greece's VAS & EK Kottaridi GP, a producer of lime and lime mash, scored highly for its close cooperation with local suppliers and its 'green' purchasing - more than 80% of the company's contracts are 'green'.

"The awards recognise European companies and organisations that have made outstanding achievements in environmental management" Austria Glas Recycling came out top in the medium-sized organisation category. The company organises the collection and recycling of used glass packaging throughout its home country and was rewarded for its successful green procurement based on cooperation and dialogue with stakeholders.

VAE Eisenbahnsysteme, also from Austria, won the large organisation category. A designer and manufacturer of special track work for railways, it applies comprehensive environmental criteria to procurement, has increased its purchases from certified suppliers, and extensively greened its own energy supply.

For the fifth and final category, public administration, the six-member EMAS panel decided exceptionally to award a prize to three organisations. They were the Land Oberösterreich (Austria), for its efforts to mainstream sustainable procurement within the region; the Umweltbundesamt (Germany) for setting up a comprehensive system to practise ambitious green public procurement at federal level; and the Environment Agency (UK) for developing a sustainable supply chain, staff training and the scope of its procurement policy.






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