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Sustainability successes celebrated at Metsä Tissue’s inaugural awards ceremony

Published 17th March, 2023 by Neil Nixon

Sustainability successes celebrated at Metsä Tissue’s inaugural awards ceremony

More than 200 cleaning industry leaders gathered for a black-tie awards dinner on London’s iconic Cutty Sark on 15 March, as the winners of the Sustainability Awards were revealed. The event was the first in a new Awards programme launched by Metsä Tissue in the UK, in partnership with the Cleaning & Support Services Association, which aims to promote sustainability and reward its champions.

Awards attendees enjoyed exclusive access to the Cutty Sark, before arriving in the sustainably dressed copper-clad hull for a sustainably prepared meal before moving into the ceremony.

The event was opened by Esa Kaikkonen, CEO of Metsa Tissue Ltd, who welcomed everyone, expressed appreciation for the entrants and then explained how the judges said it was almost impossible to separate the winners from their shortlisted competitors, the margins between them were so fine.

Next came Mika Paljakka, Metsä Tissue's senior vice president for Metsä Tissue, UK & Ireland, who continued the excellence theme. “In the case of the Individual Award, there was nothing that could separate two of the contenders so we took the decision to make them both Joint Winners,” he explained. “However, it was not just the shortlisted companies that split the judges; each of the 64 entries received, from 43 different companies, had its own merits and the thought and hard work that had gone into each of the projects was hugely impressive. The judges believed that they were all winners.”

Mika continued: "Our aim in launching these awards was to highlight and reward sustainability practices throughout our industry, not only to create a positive impact on the environment, but to raise awareness of the professionalism of our industry, amongst those outside of it. I would encourage all the winners – and indeed all those who made it onto the shortlist – to make ample use of their ‘Winner’ logo or ‘Finalist’ logo on websites, stationery etc. and share their good news with their local press and all the social media channels available to them. As an industry we are achieving great things and we should take advantage of the opportunity these Awards have brought to ‘sing our own praises’, as it were."

Another winner during the evening was children’s charity UNICEF. Guests were invited to make donations to the charity throughout the evening. “Part of our strategy is to support local charities or children’s/youth charities,” Mika explained. “We chose to raise funds for UNICEF this evening as the organisation - which provides crucial humanitarian and developmental aid to children in more than 192 countries - is particularly stretched at the moment, as it strives to help the thousands of children displaced and/or orphaned by the recent earthquakes. They obviously need as much help as possible, and we are delighted that our guests were so generous with their donations.”

In keeping with the theme of the awards, guest speaker Charlie Luxton, the architectural designer and TV presenter who puts sustainability at the heart of his work, shared his thoughts on our need to always consider sustainability and our environment when undertaking any development or refurbishment project.

Mika continued: “To complete our sustainable approach, Planet Mark, a leading sustainability certification, is ensuring that Metsä Tissue’s UK Sustainability Awards 2023 are carbon neutral in accordance with internationally recognised specification for carbon neutrality published by BSI (PAS2060). In addition to verifying the award’s carbon neutrality status, we were pleased to welcome Planet Mark’s founder and CEO, Steve Malkin, on our judging panel.”

And the winners were...

Carbon Reducer Award: The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Social Value Impact Award: Mitie & UCLH.

Renewable Energy Performer Award: Lyreco UK & Ireland.

Best Sustainability Marketing & Communication Initiative: Bunzl Cleaning & Hygiene Solutions.

Team Sustainability Excellence Award: Mitie & UCLH.

Individual Sustainability Award: For this award, the Judges were unable to separate the two finalists so felt that the only way forward was to proclaim them joint winners: Claire Coder, Citron Hygiene/Aunt Flow Period Products; and Shannon Berry, Principle Cleaning Services.

Due to level of interest in this year's awards, the next awards ceremony is already provisionally booked for 19 March 2025 - like this year, the middle day of The Cleaning Show in London.

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