Heroes of Net Zero Competition
As part of the UK Government’s Together for our Planet campaign, we are celebrating the small businesses taking the most innovative actions to go green and cut their own greenhouse gas emissions to become a net zero business by 2050.
More than 160 businesses entered the competition, making a public commitment on the UK Business Climate Hub. Businesses could enter in two categories – micro and small. The best entries were judged by a panel of experts including the government’s Net Zero Champion Andrew Griffith.
On 2 November, the top five finalists in each category attended a special awards ceremony hosted by Intuit at the COP26 international climate change summit in Glasgow. Two winners secured an exclusive prize package worth over £4,500 from competition partners BT, NatWest and SSE.
Winner: Design Abled
The Middlesex-based PPE designers and manufacturers impressed the judges for supporting the UK to stay safe in the pandemic, while continuing to make cutting their emissions central to their entire operations. Measures the business have taken include minimising their manufacturing waste, developing recycling and upcycling partnerships for used devices and creating bespoke sustainable and bio-degradable packaging. Find out more about the Hero of Net Zero on their website.
Highly Commended: Onesta
The Welsh sustainable lifestyle brand won over the judges for taking great strides to limit waste in their business by using circular economy principles and significantly reducing their carbon footprint. Actions taken by Onesta include sourcing eco-friendly materials locally, removing toxic chemicals used in manufacturing and re-purposing fabric scraps to make sustainable products for Surfers against Sewage. Find out more about the Hero of Net Zero on their website.
Highly Commended: Ganders Goat
The Leicestershire-based micro dairy were praised by the judges for highlighting the practical steps a business can take to reduce their energy demands while not neglecting the climate challenges faced by a business working in livestock. Measures taken include switching to LED light fittings and more efficient freezers, using solar power to become energy self-sufficient and focusing on carbon capture to offset their livestock’s emissions. Find out more about the Hero of Net Zero on their website.
Finalist: Barnaby’s Brewhouse
The Devon-based specialist brewery impressed the judges for thinking inventively about how to reuse excess by-products from their brewing process and energy supplies while increasing the amount of beer they can create. The judges felt they were a great example for other businesses in the beer and alcohol sector. Actions taken by Barnaby’s Brewhouse include using technologies to create a balanced energy system and building the brewery with reclaimed and repurposed materials. Find out more about the Hero of Net Zero on their website.
Finalist: Unmanned Survey Solutions
The Cornish unmanned surface vessel designers and manufacturers won over the judges for showing how adopting new software can support a business’ journey to net zero. Judges also praised the business for effectively thinking about how to reduce their employees’ emissions. Measures taken include minimising manufacturing waste and emissions, encouraging staff to share lifts and cycle to work and opting for electrical and solar power options in vessel designs. Find out more about the Hero of Net Zero on their website.
The Bristol and London-based camera rental company impressed the judges by taking a set of decisive and diverse actions, increasing productivity and profitability while putting the environment first. Judges also praised them for taking responsibility for their sectors environmental impact, spreading the sustainability message through Bectu’s-Film-For-Future group. Actions taken by VMI.TV Ltd include installing solar panels and insulation, purchasing electric vans and recycling and reusing, sending no waste to landfill in 15 months. Find out more about the Hero of Net Zero on their website.
Highly Commended: The Quiet Site
The Lake District-based carbon neutral holiday makers won over the judges for reducing energy consumption and environmental impact as well as putting in measures to support their customers to be more environmentally friendly. Measures the business have taken include prioritising nature by planting wildflower meadows and native trees, building accommodation that generates more energy than they use and providing a zero-waste shop. Find out more about the Hero of Net Zero on their website.
Highly Commended: Small Robot Company
The Hampshire-based robotics and AI farming business were praised for creating a sustainable future for agriculture, highlighting how small actions can make big differences when it comes to cutting emissions. Actions taken by the Small Robot Company include sourcing materials from sustainable suppliers, creating products and packaging with recycled materials and powering their robots and laptops using recycled batteries and solar power. Find out more about the Hero of Net Zero on their website.
Finalist: Hey Girls
The Scottish social enterprise which produces environmentally friendly period products impressed the judges for not only reducing the environmental impact of their product packaging but, going one step further and eliminating all potential packaging waste. Judges also praised the business for showing how ethical and sustainable actions can happen simultaneously. Measures the social enterprise have taken include designing and creating period products, packaging and parcels that are natural, biodegradable, sustainable or recyclable. Find out more about the Hero of Net Zero on their website.
Finalist: Stem & Glory
The Cambridge and London plant-based restaurant chain won over the judges for their innovative and green mindset about how they source, use, and cook ingredients. Judges also liked the business’ ambition to share their green learnings with restaurants everywhere. Actions taken by Stem & Glory include sourcing local ingredients, refurbishing restaurants with recycled and reclaimed materials and working with partners to offset their menu emissions. Find out more about the Hero of Net Zero on their website.