For an exceptional project aimed at protecting the environment
We present the award to a company that in the previous year (2021) implemented an exceptional project, programme or activity focused on the circular economy, or its business model is based on these principles. The circular economy aims to preserve the value of products and materials for as long as possible. This minimises waste and the use of new resources, and when a product reaches the end of its life cycle, resources are not eliminated from the economy but are used over and over again to create new value. The circular economy thus also contributes to reducing greenhouse gas or pollutant emissions and reducing pressure on ecosystems and natural resources. In this category, we award inspiring business models as well as environmental programmes that the company implements beyond what is required by law, for example:
- ecological and innovative product design focused on the use of less amount of primary raw materials, clean material cycles and minimisation and removal of hazardous substances in products and waste, use of recycled, recyclable and biodegradable materials, use of waste as valuable raw material, prolonging product life (reusability, repairability), repairs, modifications and recovery (up-cycling) and resale or reuse);
- economical and efficient use of natural resources, energy and materials, primary and secondary raw materials, e. g.: use of renewable energy sources, reduction of water, energy and basic raw materials consumption, utilisation of recycled content in products, prevention of waste in production, distribution and consumption;
- new business models based on the principle of sharing, providing services instead of selling products, take-back systems, locality principles, etc.;
- an industrial symbiosis project, where companies take advantage of mutually beneficial opportunities to exchange and use waste, by-products, excess heat, or share machinery or infrastructure;
- the introduction of circular economy principles within the bioeconomy, which leads to a more resource-efficient use of renewable and biological resources, such as agricultural crops or forests, for the production of food, materials and energy (e.g. cascading use of wood);
- green procurement of products and services, and thus taking into account environmental criteria and the principles of the circular economy in procurement;
- creating a corporate and entrepreneurial culture based on sustainability through employee engagement, the involvement of customers, suppliers, the community and the general public in environmental protection through activities in the field of circular economy or cooperation with non-profit organisations and interest groups in projects in this field.
We present awards to projects with innovative potential, measurable goals and achieved results, linking the project with the company’s activities and overall strategy, the long-term sustainability of the project and the extent to which the company involves its employees and partners (academia, civil society, public administration, customers, suppliers, and shareholders).