Wates was named company of the year for its “innovative approach and commitment to addressing critical sustainability challenges”.
The contractor takes over the crown from Unilever and saw off competition from BT, EDF, Sainsbury’s, KPMG, Tata Consultancy and the Co-operative Group.
BITC recognised Wates for its initiatives that include:
- Investing more than £5m in training and staff development over the past three years
- Its Target Zero Waste programme that saw 95% of non hazardous waste being diverted from landfill in 2011
- Its partnering scheme with social enterprises
- Its accredited vocation programme aimed at long term unemployed that has supported 363 people since it was launched.
Wates Group chairman and chief executive Paul Drechsler accepted the award at a gala function at London’s Royal Albert Hall last night (5 July 2011).
Unilever senior vice president for sustainability Gavin Neath, who made the presentation, said: “There were many initiatives that impressed the judges but Wates stood out as they have led the way in minimising the environmental impact of their industry, on target to achieve zero waste to landfill. They have created sustainable routes into employment for long term unemployed with over 350 people graduating from their Building Futures programme; raised aspirations of young people through partnerships with schools; invested £5 million in the learning and development of their employees; contracted with local social enterprises to the value of more than £750k; and through Living Space they are developing practical solutions to the challenge of reducing energy consumption in the UK’s 26 million existing homes.”