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The best UK businesses driving positive change

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On 28 November, the finalists for the 2018 Amazon Growing Business Awards will congregate at The Brewery in London, hoping to win one of 18 accolades – one of which is brand new.

We’re introducing the Bridges Positive Impact Award, which will shine a light on UK businesses that are bolstering their bottom line while addressing some of the biggest social, financial and environmental challenges today.

Here are the companies vying to wear the first-ever crown.

2018 Postive Impact finalists

Recognising successful businesses driving positive change for people and/ or the planet.

ACM Environmental

The problem: More often than not, people end up dumping their waste in the skip if they can’t find an affordable and convenient option.

Founder: Barry Bolton
Growth story: ACM is a full-service waste and recycling operator that works with large commercial companies to find inefficiencies and cost-savings within their waste stream. With its guidance, companies are shown how to not only reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill but the amount of waste they produce in the first place.

“ACM Environmental, as the name suggests, is passionate about the environment, sustainability and our planet as a whole. The business has a ‘green culture’ running through it, and all members of staff and stakeholders are committed to this ideology. A small 0.18% of all the 20,000 tonnes of waste produced by over 600 clients goes to landfill.” – ACM

Bambino Mio

The problem: Studies have shown that we send an average of 8 million disposable nappies to landfill every single day in the UK alone and each disposable nappy takes up to 500 years to decompose! On average a baby will use 5,000 disposable nappies a year, compared to just 15 reusable nappies. 

 

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The last of the green leaves are almost gone 🍃 Bring on the cosy sweaters, extra blankets and cheeky hot chocolates! #autumnvibes #staycosy #sweaterweather #winteriscoming #clothnappies #makeclothmainstream 📷 #mioment captured by: @cheris_sweet

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Founders: Guy and Jo Schanschieff
Growth story: Since being established in 1997, Bambino Mio has gone from strength to strength, transitioning from a small business to an accessible, reusable nappy brand across the globe. The company’s overarching objective is to raise awareness of the numerous benefits that reusable nappies have on the environment and finances, as well as babies.

“In the early 1990s, only 2% of parents used reusable nappies, now over 30% try reusable nappies. The demand for eco-friendly baby products has rapidly increased as more people are aware of the damaging environmental effects of single-use plastics and are opting for alternatives. Bambino Mio’s strategy has played a vital role in this positive shift.” – Bambino Mio

Desolenator

The problem: The UN estimates that by 2030 around half of the global population will face a water crisis due to population growth, contamination and over-extraction of resources.

The Desolenator.

Founders: William Janssen and Alexei Levene
Growth story: Desolenator is a portable unit that uses power from the sun. It acts as a mobile desalination solution to make clean water from rivers and other communal water sources for villages and communities. The unit can produce up to 15 litres of distilled water in a day, which can sustain a family for cooking and drinking.

“Clean water is the foundation of societal stability, wherever you are in the world, including creating healthier populations who are more economically productive or better able to attend school. It reduces environmental impact by eliminating fuel pollution and plastic bottles.” – Desolenator

Hey Girls

The problem: It can difficult to buy period products when you’re on a low income.

Founders: Celia, Kate and Becky Hodson
Growth story: Hey Girls’ sustainable Buy One Give model takes shareholders out of the picture. It means that for every box sold, another box is given away to someone in need. Since launching in January 2018, Hey Girls has donated more than 1.3 million boxes of products to women and girls across the UK.

“Until recently, period poverty was not understood to be a UK problem, or that it causes girls to regularly skip school and work. We work alongside councils and government departments to address it, and our menstrual health roundtable discussions ensure that our donations are reaching the individuals and communities most in need.” – Hey Girls

The First Mile

The problem: Numerous companies don’t realise the recycling options available to them.

The First Mile team.

Founder: Bruce Bratley
Growth story: First Mile’s mission is to create a world where everything can be recycled. It has revolutionised the way waste is collected for over 25,000 businesses, allowing them to recycle multiple streams of material through a tech-led service platform. In the last 12 months, First Mile has grown sales by 30% and built the UK’s first sack-sorting facility – which in the last nine months has prevented 375,000 kilograms of CO2 emissions.

“The First Mile smashed the Mayor’s 65% recycling target for London, 12 years ahead of schedule. This has been achieved by giving customers the ability to order more than 20 recycling services through a mobile and web app. The company has also invested in growing an electric fleet to reduce road miles.” – The First Mile 

Toast Ale

The problem: Did you know that 44% of bread is wasted? Toast Ale is on a mission to change that.

 

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TAP TAKEOVER There’s big excitement at Toast Towers 🎉 As part of Urban Food Fortnight @MercatoMetropolitano is hosting a Toast Tap Takeover at @theitalianjobpub pub for a week, from Monday 24 to Sunday 30 September. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the taps: Much Kneaded Craft Lager, 4.5% Bloomin’ Lovely Session IPA, 5% Purebread Pale Ale, 5% Born and Bred American Pale Ale, 5% Meet you at the bar #uff2018 🍻 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #raiseatoast #craftbeer #breadbeer #beerforgood #beer #beer🍻 #beer🍺 #beershop #beerandfood #sustainablebeer #ecobeer #beergram #foodwaste #foodsustainability #foodwastewarriors #foodwastefight #foodwasted #breadwaste #foodie

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Founder: Tristram Stuart
Growth story: Toast Ale is a social enterprise brewing craft beer with fresh surplus bread from bakeries and sandwich factories, all the while pouring its profits into the charity Feedback to end food waste. Since its creation, the company has upcycled 800,000 slices of surplus bread and donated over £11,000 to charity.

“Our ultimate vision is to reduce the overproduction of bread and use the brewing industry to upcycle unavoidable surplus. We are already seeing success in influencing the market with M&S and Iceland this year launching bread beers to reduce the surplus bread from their supply chain. We will continue to collaborate to support a shift in the industry.” – Toast Ale

TT Education

The problem: The wellbeing and emotional health of teachers is paramount in educating children. But are they getting the necessary support?  

Founder: David Maytham
Growth story: TT Education was born out of a desire to support teachers in improving children’s life chances on a wider scale than is possible for one teacher in one school. From a team of two at the beginning of 2013, the company has grown to a employ of over 40members of staff. It now works with over 60,000 teachers, having improved the education of over 1.5 million children.

“Education can be a stressful, underfunded and under-appreciated sector to work in and we wanted to support teachers in a practical and caring manner, to attempt to lighten that burden. All our courses are based on best practice and none of them come with an expensive brochure of resources that must be purchased to implement this practice!” – TT Education

WeFarm

The problem: Smallholders grow 80% of the food consumed on earth, and with the global population projected to grow to 9 billion by 2050, increased pressure on global food supplies will persist.

Founders: Kenny Ewan
Growth story: Some of the world’s 500 million small-scale farms, employing more than 2 billion people, still have no access to the internet. To rectify the problem, Ewan created the world’s first peer-to-peer knowledge sharing service for offline farming communities. It has over 1 million users and its network is growing exponentially – currently by 3,000 users a day.

“Farmers use WeFarm a lot. Around 25% actively contribute content every month (compared to Twitter’s 17%) with 90% retention after 30 days (compared to WhatsApp’s 77%). And it works! Some 70% of farmers report improved prosperity, whereby it has helped them increase their yields, gain insight into market pricing, tackle the effects of climate change and diversify their farms.” – WeFarm

The Amazon Growing Business Awards is headlined by Amazon and sponsored by Santander, Bridges Fund Management and ECI Partners. It is supported by CBI, the Department of International Trade and Real Business. This year, the awards partnered with Beanstalk, a charity that recruits, trains and supports volunteers to provide consistent, one-to-one literacy support to children aged 3 to 13.

Interested in attending the Amazon Growing Business Awards?
Get your ticket or book a table here. 

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