Sustainable Ireland Awards 2017

Records Broken at Annual Sustainable Ireland Awards 2017

There was a record number of guests in attendance at the Black Tie awards ceremony, and there was also a record number of entries this year for the 16 different categories, with several joint winners in the mix.

Commented Sustainable Ireland General Manager Golda Burrows: “Last year the judges didn’t think it was possible to improve the standard of entries, but the bar was yet again raised with the quality of entries, making a difficult task, even more difficult for our distinguished panel of judges to chose the winners.”

Guest speakers at the event were Owen Lyttle, Head of Waste Policy Environmental Policy Division, DEERA, and David Browne, Chairman Energy Institute Northern Ireland branch.

In his opening remarks, Owen Lyttle, pointed to the latest household recycling figures as an indicator of sustainability: “During 2015 the increased in the household recycling rate surpassed the declining landfill rate for the very first time, and just recently the results for 2017-2018 showed the household recycling rate at 50% for the first time, so well done to everyone involved.”

But he added: “However, we need to guard against complaceny, as we face a number of unknowns that may have a major influence on our work in the future.”

Among the issues he highlighted was decreasing landfill capacity which has the potential to lead to higher costs for waste management; another was the unknown factors surrounding Brexit which may impact on the Circular Economy. Other outside factors he touched on were policies which may or may not be adopted by other competitor nations, as well as extreme movements in energy and oil prices.

He said the waste industry needs to be proactive and imaginative in how it deals with such external influences, especially in the absence of an Assembly and Executive at Stormont, and he added: “We need to ensure that Northern Ireland builds resilience, that we become a society that embraces the Circular Economy concept, that creates a good locally based waste management and treatement infrastructure and a professional, economically viable waste industry.”

Meanwhile, David Browne, Chairman Energy Institute Northern Ireland branch, told the gathering that while the energy industry here had witnessed – and continued to witness – unprecedented changes, there also existed ‘many unpredented opportunities,’ not least in renewables, in distribution and in battery storage.

The main charity supported on the night was the very worthy Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, with guests generously contributing a massive £6,280.00, so a big thank you to all who did so. The Hospice, which has facilities in Newtownabbey and Enniskillen, provides
‘End of Life’ care for children in a home from home environment.

Regular specialist support for families can also be provided ‘At Home’, with specialist palliative children’s nurses on hand to help care for children with life limiting and terminal conditions, respite breaks, care for the whole family and social and emotional support for children and young people with life limiting and life threatening conditions and their families.

Meanwhile, here at Sustainable Ireland we would like to thank all our judges, sourced from government bodies, industry institutions and academia; we sincerely appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedules and coming up with 16 worthy winners. A big ‘thank you’ also to all of you who entered because without YOU – and our generous sponsors – the event would not take place.

So, who won what and why? Over the coming pages, we report in words and pictures…