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Gold for etc.venues in Southwark environmental awards

A conference centre near Elephant & Castle has been awarded a gold medal in recognition of its efforts at putting the environment at the heart of its day-to-day operations.

Gold for etc.venues in Southwark environmental awards
Rachel Williams, general manager at etc.venues Avonmouth House, Councillor Paul Kyriacou, executive member for environment at Southwark Council, and Rakesha Daswell, events manager and green champion at etc.venues Avonmouth House.

The gold, only the second one to be awarded since Southwark Council relaunched the Environmental Business Awards last July, was presented to etc.venues on Friday 3 July.

etc.venues, which runs Avonmouth House and Prospero House in SE1, showed a commitment to recycling, waste reduction and staff training and met the criteria to be eligible for a gold award.

The council was also impressed by other aspects of the firm's approach to the environment, such as the implementation of a green travel plan, their Green Champion scheme and that it even managed to reuse its cooking oil.

Previously the council's awards programme had focused solely on waste and recycling measures. As of last July it also recognises businesses that are cutting their carbon footprint through energy and water efficiency, green travel and green purchasing practices.

Businesses which make these environmental savings will be recognised with gold, silver or bronze awards depending on the green practices they put in place.

"I'm really happy to be one of a team at etc.venues who keeps an eye out for ways we can be greener," says Rakesha Daswell.

"We have a variety of initiatives to keep our buildings as energy efficient as possible – from simple things like signs reminding people to turn off equipment, to more sophisticated ideas such as being able to remotely turn off staff computers and projectors if they've been left on by mistake."

The Environmental Business Awards are part of Southwark Council's drive to reduce borough-wide carbon emissions by 8.5 per cent by 2011. The council's Big Switch Off campaign aims to get everyone – from individuals to organisations – cutting down on unnecessary energy consumption.

"We're encouraging everyone in our borough – residents and businesses – to be as green conscious as possible through our Environmental Business Awards scheme," says Cllr Paul Kyriacou, executive member for environment and transport.

"etc.venues have really shown that they mean business in this field, and that through simple things like setting targets for energy reduction and implementing a switch-off policy, big changes can be made."

Avonmouth House also gained a gold award under the council's previous scheme in autumn 2005.

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