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Wates receives Royal recognition for sustainable development
21 April, 2011
Wates Group Ltd, one of the UK’s biggest privately owned construction companies, has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2011 in recognition of its continuous improvement in sustainable development – the only construction company to receive the accolade in the past five years.
The highly prestigious awards are bestowed annually by Her Majesty the Queen to coincide with her birthday on 21 April. They are awarded solely to businesses which have demonstrated the highest levels of excellence in the categories of Innovation, International Trade and Sustainable Development. Entrants are subject to a rigorous assessment process by an expert panel, including an independent audit of performance figures, before recommendations are put before Her Majesty by the Office of the Prime Minister
Paul Drechsler, Chairman and Chief Executive of Wates, commented:
“We are honored to be one of the few companies to receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development from Her Majesty. Wates’ philosophy has always been ‘to leave things better than we find them’. This applies both to the environment and resources around us and to people: our employees, customers, stakeholders, partners and all those who live and work in the communities we help to build. Combined with our forward-looking business structure, which empowers Wates’ people to develop sustainable ideas at a grass roots level, we’ve found that we really can be a powerful force for good. This award also demonstrates that putting sustainability at the heart of your business model does not hinder success; as we recently announced in our Annual Results, Wates has experienced its sixth consecutive year of operating profit** growth.
“Every individual at Wates should be proud of the contribution they have made to us receiving this award. It is also a tribute to our clients and supply chain partners who have collaborated with us over the years enabling us to take a truly holistic approach to sustainability. As great as the achievement is, we know there are still many opportunities for our business to make a sustainable difference. This is why we have set ourselves some challenging targets for the next few years. These include creating employment and training opportunities for 5,000 young people who need it most by 2015; a 34% reduction in C02 emissions and continued commitment to divert all non-hazardous waste to landfill.”
Some of the ground-breaking initiatives which have contributed to Wates receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise include:
- Building Futures: dedicated to encouraging the long-term unemployed back into work (particularly the over-25s for whom there are fewer training opportunities), over 400 people have completed Wates’ Building Futures vocational training programme – the majority of whom are now in employment or further training.
- Target Zero: in 2006 Wates launched Target Zero; the Company’s commitment to send zero non-hazardous waste to landfill. In 2010, 95% of the Wates Group’s non-hazardous waste was diverted from landfill with 30% of sites achieving a 99% diversion rate. Target Zero has also helped raise the profile of the need to tackle the issue of waste across the construction industry; every year over ordering wastes an estimated £1.5 billion a year in unused materials.
- Social Enterprise: Wates is dedicated to putting social enterprises at the heart of its procurement process. In 2010 the Company awarded contracts valued at £625,000 to 36 different social enterprise organisations. Wates has set the target of increasing this to at least 50 businesses with a total contract value of £750,000 by the end of 2011.
- Supporting education: Wates supports many different initiatives associated with raising aspirations and attainment amongst young people. Most recently, it has partnered with Business in the Community to support its Business Class programme: a long term strategic partnership where businesses work with challenging schools for a minimum of three years to have a positive impact of levels of achievement.
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