Bury St Edmunds company wins top UK business award

Press release - 25 November 2011

A Bury St Edmunds social enterprise has beaten off competition from some of Britain’s best green businesses to win a leading UK industry award. Aid to Hospitals Worldwide has collected the British Chambers of Commerce Sustainability Award, sponsored by the British Standards Institution (BSI).

Judges were so impressed with the environmentally friendly company’s unique approach, that they also named them as a runner up for the Outstanding Business Achievement award, earning the company a £10,000 cash prize.

The business, which benefits the local community and developing countries, refurbishes and recycles hospital equipment. Its team of volunteers is made up of retired workers who want to pass on their skills and youngsters wanting to get onto the employment ladder.

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “This company is strong and growing, drawing all elements of sustainability together. It’s great to see a commercially viable business that’s also delivering environmental and social benefits at home and abroad.”

The company’s statistics speak for themselves. It sends equipment to 44 developing countries and every year its services are impacting on the healthcare of an estimated 12 million people, who are benefiting from UK ‘waste’. Last year it shipped more than 88 tonnes of medical equipment and supplies. Its services are now endorsed by the NHS Sustainable Development Unit, which actively encourages wider participation in its Recycling for Reuse programme for NHS Hospitals.

Viki Bell, Global Portfolio Manager of Sustainability at BSI comments: “We are delighted that such an inspirational organisation has won the Sustainability category. At BSI, we believe organisations that adopt a best practice approach to sustainability can bring substantial benefits not only to their organisation, but also to the environment and society as a whole. Aid to Hospitals Worldwide does just this by focusing on saving lives in developing countries, having a sound environmental conscience and actively working to improve the lives of those living nearby. The award recognises that Aid to Hospitals Worldwide has a truly holistic approach to sustainable business.”

Thanks to the £10,000 award, Aid to Hospitals Worldwide will be able to invest in an additional truck so volunteers can collect even more equipment. The company is also planning to work more closely with its overseas customers to make sure that they are sourcing the medical equipment that’s most needed.