Local Businesses Honoured At NI’s First Sustainability Awards

Ruth Kimbley, Communications Director, Strategic Power Connect (headline sponsor) presents the Sustainability Company of the Year Award 2023 to the team from Wrightbus. Pictured are Brian Roche, Kerrie-Anne Jones, Brenda Buckley (Business Eye), John McLeister, Ruth Kimbley (Strategic Power Connect) & Dr Andy Harris, Wrightbus.

Ballymena bus manufacturing group Wrightbus and Fermanagh’s The Boatyard Distillery were the headline winners at the inaugural Business Eye Sustainability Awards in association with Strategic Power Connect.

The first ever sustainability awards aimed at the local business sector took place on Thursday evening (23rd February) at the Culloden Estate & Spa, with more than 320 guests in attendance.

Wrightbus and The Boatyard Distillery picked up the Sustainable Company of the Year titles in the larger and smaller business categories, while Ian Henry, a director of Magherafelt-based building company Henry Brothers was named as the Sustainability Business Leader of the Year.

The gala awards evening, hosted by the BBC’s Mark Simpson, saw awards being presented across a line-up of 12 different categories.

The Royal Maternity Hospital complex in Belfast won the Built Environment Project award for the GRAHAM-BAM Partnership while Musgrave Northern Ireland was recognised as the Sustainable Retail Business of the Year.

Coca-Cola HBC, based outside Lisburn, took the top award in the Sustainable Food & Drink Company category while the innovative Salthouse Hotel in Ballycastle came out on top amongst the Tourism & Hospitality contenders.

Meanwhile, concrete product makers Tobermore won the Sustainable Manufacturing Business of the Year title while Translink took the top prize in the Sustainable Project of the Year category for its zero emission bus programme.

“We felt that it was time to recognise the achievements of Northern Ireland companies when it comes to making their businesses sustainable, and we were really impressed by the quantity and quality of the entries these awards received,” says Richard Buckley of Business Eye.

“We were able to showcase some of those entries this evening, as well as honour the very best of local companies across a wide variety of sectors.”

The awards judging panel included Steven Agnew, Director of RenewableNI, and Professor John Barry, Professor of Green Political Economy at Queen’s University, Belfast.

“Sustainability is no longer a buzz word, and it’s much greater than energy.  It’s a business issue, it’s a society issue, it’s a you, me and everybody issue. “says Paul Carson of Strategic Power Projects.

“We were so proud to headline sponsor these awards and would like to congratulate each and every one of the winners and indeed all those who entered.

“It fills me with a great optimism to see NI companies taking great steps to make their businesses more sustainable.  We’ve been so incredibly impressed by the innovation embraced to safeguard not only their organisations, but our futures.

“There was a great honesty and wholesomeness about the award winning applications, that’s what made them stand out.  It was clear sustainable practices wasn’t just a box ticking exercise, but embraced in their professional lives and for some, their personal lives also.

“The businesses and innovations celebrated by these awards are precisely what society needs to see right now, and I look forward to seeing what the entrants bring to the table next year.”

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