2021 environmental report recognises organisations in Northern Ireland for green leadership

Northern Ireland’s most sustainable organisations were revealed at an online event to release the results of the 2021 Northern Ireland Environmental Benchmarking Survey, an externally verified self-disclosure exercise that scores and ranks organisations on their environmental performance.

Belfast Harbour Commissioners took the top spot and Suki Teahouse received the award for Top Performing Small Business.

113 organisations from sectors including: General Manufacturing; Local Authority; Education; Utilities; Construction; ICT; and Food and Drink took part in the Survey, which is organised by responsible business network Business in the Community. 33 participating organisations achieved Platinum, the highest level of achievement.

The Survey – sponsored by Moy Park and supported by Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – recognises and rewards organisations that are going above and beyond their legal requirements to improve their environmental impacts and better manage their resources and provides a roadmap for improvements.

Despite an increase in average scores in 2021, 53% of organisations reported that COVID-19 had negatively affected their environmental work, 29% said it had a positive impact, and 18% said their environmental work was not impacted by the pandemic.

On climate, 70% of participating organisations have identified climate-related risks to their operations, over half (51%) have set environmental targets that align with the science of climate change, and 24% are investing in carbon offset measures as part of their greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy.

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots MLA said: “As we all saw in Glasgow at COP26 earlier this month, the time to act for our environment is now. It has never been more pertinent that businesses understand that ‘green action’ is no longer optional but necessary for a successful business, a stronger economy, and for a sustainable planet.

“It’s great to see so many organisations in Northern Ireland continuing to prioritise the environment, and make and meet the commitments needed to ensure the highest standards of environmental performance.”

“I would like to commend each of the organisations recognised through the Survey in 2021. Their senior leaders and employees, for driving responsible and sustainable approaches, for their positive contribution to good environmental stewardship, and for their commitment to reducing environmental impacts and managing resources efficiently.”

Declan Cunningham, Head of Sustainability and Risk, Moy Park, said: “Moy Park has been a participant of the Survey for 23 years. We are proud of our commitment to improvement and sustainable practices and delighted to have achieved Platinum Level in the Survey again this year.

“I would encourage all organisations focused on enhancing their environmental performance to participate in the Survey and, by doing so, we can drive responsible behaviour throughout the supply chain.”

Managing Director of Business in the Community, Kieran Harding, said: “The Survey is an important comparison tool and a way for organisations to not only be recognised for their environmentally sustainable efforts, but also to identify areas where they can improve. It also serves to highlight key environmental areas they need to be thinking about for the future.

Mr Harding continued: “Stakeholders, suppliers and the general public are seeking reassurance from businesses that they’re doing all they can for the benefit of the environment and participating in the Survey can provide evidence of their commitment to a greener future.

“I want to congratulate and thank all companies that have stepped forward to take part in the Survey, and report on their environmental practices.”

During the event, David Knott, Compliance Manager at Belfast Harbour Commissioners was honoured with the George Dawson Award for passion and commitment to improving environmental performance, both within his company and in the wider community.

The sustainable trophies awarded were inspired by the Giant’s Causeway and made using hand tools from reclaimed wood by David Keys Sustainable Woodworking.

To find out which organisations participated in the 2021 Survey and to see how they scored, visit www.bitcni.org.uk/niebs.