From energy storage to environmentally friendly investments, there are numerous sustainable business ideas being championed in Scotland. The inaugural regional heat of the Finance for the Future Awards, which took place in Edinburgh in June, saw three firms progress to the final.
The Edinburgh event was the first time that there has ever been a regional heat of the competition, an initiative championed by our Past-President, Paul Adderley, who was instrumental in bringing the event to Scotland.
Hosted by the University of Edinburgh Business School and endorsed by ICAS and IEMA, the event saw four firms presenting their case studies to over 70 guests and a team of expert assessors.
The four companies – who had all already made it through due diligence – had ten minutes to present before taking questions from the assessors. First up in the Innovative New Idea category was Edinburgh-based The Gupta Partnership who discussed Electric Corby, an energy storage, control, transfer and use scheme that aims to help Corby become one of the most environmentally and economically sustainable parts of Britain. Also participating in this category where the Edinburgh headquartered Green Investment Bank, who explained how and why they ensure that every transaction is as green as it is profitable.
In the SME category, Auchterarder-based building and civil engineering contractors, The Castle Group Scotland, talked about the environmental journey they began in 2009 and which now sees them recycle over 94% of their on site waste, well in excess of the industry target of 50%.
Rounding off the presentations was Wilkies – an independent chain of clothing stores with eleven branches across central Scotland – who shared their story of the Lighting the Way at Wilkies scheme, which helped them cut costs and CO2 emissions.
As the judges - Paul Adderley, Managing Director, Sustainable Opportunities Solution and Dr Kenneth Amaeshi, SBI Director who assessed the entries in the Innovative New Idea category, and Nick Blyth, Policy and Engagement Lead, IEMA, and David Wood, Executive Director, Technical Policy & Practice Support, ICAS, for the SME category – retired to consider the presentations, George Cobb deliver the keynote speech.
George is the Group Sustainability Accountant at SSE, and he explained his role there and the importance of planning sustainability at the core of operations.
With the deliberations over, Richard Spencer, ICAEW Head of Sustainability revealed the results, with three firms going through to the London final later in the year.
The Gupta Partnership went through in the Innovative New Idea Category; Castle Group Scotland in the SME category; and The Green Investment Bank in the Driving Change in Others category.
All three will be hoping to echo the success of Edinburgh-based eco-packing company, Vegware, who won the SME category in last year’s awards.
The Scottish finalists will join over twenty other companies from across the UK – and beyond – for the Judging Day on 4 September and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on 8 October.