The RSA at its best

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Not every day is good but sometimes in my job I stumble on unexpected treasures. Yesterday afternoon I helped host the awards ceremony for the UK finalists of the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE). The awards process is overseen by the RSA Environment Awards Forum which has at its heart a group of talented, committed, Fellows. For years these Fellows have been working to develop proper accreditation for a multitude of environment and business awards schemes. Their work resulted in DEFRA choosing the Forum to decide which award winners should be entered for the prestigious European awards. The process has been very successful with the UK regularly being European winners.

I enjoyed the awards ceremony for three reasons. First, we got to hear about some great environmental work ranging from Sainsbury's saving miles of paper by printing double sided receipts to a successful sustainable hotel. After the winter we have just had, people were particularly taken with a new technique for filling potholes,  which removes the need to dig up the road and is thus quicker, quieter, cheaper and generates less landfill waste.  There was an abundance of innovation, corporate responsibility and business leadership on show in the eleven awards handed out by Environment Minister, Dan Norris.

Second, after all the controversy over climate change science, and the growing tide of media and public scepticism, it was good to hear from businesses that were convinced that a commitment to high environmental standards was not just the best thing to do but motivated staff, saved money and enhanced their brand.

Third, it was great to see this model example of what Fellows can achieve when backed up by some quality staff time. The Environment Forum used to be the project of our valued colleague, Simon Fordham, and since his retirement the task has fallen into the very capable hands of Rebecca Daddow. Just like the examples of Chelmsford and Sheffield I gave last week, the RSA is often at its best when it combines the expertise of Fellows and the resources of John Adam Street.

So, it was a great afternoon and fingers crossed one of the award winners will soon be lifting the crown in Brussels.

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