Shortlist for green industry awards announced

German firms secure four out of 15 nominations in EU-sponsored contest

Fifteen companies have been nominated to win prizes for their environmental achievements in a biannual competition co-sponsored by the European Commission. The final will be held in the Netherlands in June.

Launched ten years ago, the European Better Environment Awards for Industry (Ebeafi) have been growing in popularity, with every member state except Portugal - for unclear reasons - submitting entries for this year's contest compared with only six in 1987. Ebeafi's organisers say they are now thinking of holding the contest annually.

German firms accounted for four of the nominations, followed by the UK with three, and Belgium with two. Nominees were selected from 85 entrants by an international jury of specialists from governments, business and academia. The entrants have already won national environmental awards.

The awards are divided into five categories: managing for sustainable development, cleaner technologies, partnerships for sustainable development, eco-design and waste recovery. A third of the nominees fall into the first category, with only one entrant for partnerships in sustainable development.

Belgian Glaverbel Group was the only company to be shortlisted for two awards. It was nominated for the eco-design prize for its development of substitutes for copper coating and lead-based paint in mirrors. Its efforts to re-use waste gas residue from glass scrubbing in the manufacture of new flat glass earned it a second nomination for the waste recovery award.

The UK's Natwest banking group was nominated in the category "managing for sustainable development" for implementing its own environmental management system and developing a programme to promote best practice amongst its business customers. The Ebeafi jury said that through such initiatives "the impact...which a bank can have on the environment is exceptional".

German firm Berliner Wasser Betriebe was nominated for a clean technology prize for its "trenchless" process for installing and removing underground lead and plastic pipes. Another German company Ruhrgas was the only nominee for the "partnerships for sustainable development" award for providing financial and technical support to Russian firm Gazprom to improve the efficiency of its gas transmission operations.

Follow Up:
Ebeafi secretariat, tel: +31 70 383 7705.

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