Urban Foresight’s commitment to the sustainable transformation of cities, communities and businesses was recognised at the inaugural Newcastle Business Awards last night.

The company was named Green Business of the Year and presented with a specially commissioned trophy designed and manufactured by local artist and blacksmith Graeme Hopper. The award is the second prestigious environmental accolade received by the company in 2015 following its triumph at the Low Carbon Champions Awards in September.

The Green Business of the Year award gives recognition to a company that has shown how a green ethos and practices can create a commercial return for the business. The judging panel examined the environmental policies that businesses had put in place to reduce their carbon footprint and whether the company supplies a product that makes a positive contribution to the environment.

“A green ethos is central to everything that we do, so we’re delighted to receive this award” said David Beeton, Managing Director of Urban Foresight. “We have implemented a number of ambitious commitments and activities to reduce pollution, minimise the impact of our working operations on the environment and to ensure that we continually adopt low carbon working practices.”

Over the last 12 months Urban Foresight has provided ongoing sustainability training for all employees and has reduced travel impact by promoting “car-free commuters”, implementing a cycle-to-work scheme and providing corporate loans for the purchase of public transport season tickets.

Analysis undertaken by Urban Foresight of the team’s travel-to-work patterns revealed that all employees use a sustainable mode of travel as their primary means of commuting. This produces just over 3.1 tonnes of CO2 annually, or only 22% of the equivalent emissions if all travel was undertaken by car. In an average week the team walks 42 miles, cycles 135 miles and travels 779 miles by public transport.

This analysis also showed that the company’s business travel is estimated to produce just over 9.0 tonnes of CO2 per year and opportunities to reduce this are always being pursued. Through the use of tele-conferencing and Skype an estimated 6.4 tonnes of CO2 is saved annually.

“Undertaking this analysis was very much a case of practicing what we preach” explained David Beeton. “Much of our work involves helping organisations to understand their impact on the environment and identify ways to achieve savings in emissions and costs. Having this knowledge is essential to benchmark performance and to strive for continual savings in both emissions and costs.”

“As a knowledge business, Urban Foresight’s focus is on providing insight and strategy to facilitate positive action. This includes expert analysis and reports, running networks that promote environmental activities, as well as developing transformational strategies and projects.”

The theme of the Newcastle Business awards was inspiring communities through enterprise. The event promoted the ethos of working together to drive social improvement whilst encouraging a more environmentally sustainable approach to growing the local economy. The two charities behind the event, Groundwork STAN and Centre West pledged that the awards will raise awareness and support for local charity, Newcastle West End Foodbank, one of the largest foodbanks in the country, and they were focusing the minds of all guests on the job in hand.