The Lakes Free Range Egg Company (The Lakes) is celebrating after being crowned a winner at one of the most prestigious corporate awards programmes, The Responsible Business Awards, run by the charity Business in the Community (BITC).
The Awards Gala took place at the Royal Albert Hall on 4th July, presented by broadcasters Jeremy Vine and Emily Maitlis. It celebrated and championed the inspiring businesses who make a difference by taking action to build more inclusive workplaces, stronger communities and address global challenges such as sustainability.
The Lakes Free Range Egg Company is a family-run business owned by David and Helen Brass. They were named SME Winner of the Defra Environmental Leadership Award. The Lakes’ environmental best practice model has enabled them to boost the production of organic and free-range eggs. By planting over 157,000 trees across more than 50 farms and 6,000 acres, The Lakes encouraged hens to roam further on ranges, leading to higher egg production, as well as helping indigenous wildlife return to farms.
Under the leadership of David and Helen, The Lakes Free Range Egg Company is now a global case study demonstrating tree planting and technologies provide environmental benefits that are commercially viable and they are leading by example on the principals of the three E’s: (Ethical, Environmental and Economic). The Lakes team collaborates and shares their learning and experience with customers and organisations to benefit the environment and the agricultural industry, with Chief Executive David Brass and his team sitting on various bodies improving welfare, environment and promoting sustainable farming.
David and Helen Brass said, “We were delighted to win this Environmental Leadership Award. BITC celebrates its 20th anniversary this year – and so do we. From day one, we have always believed planting trees improves the welfare of free range hens. When we started, there were no industry standards so we led the way. 157,000 trees later, we’re still leading edge, cutting our carbon footprint to zero and researching longer term impact of tree planting.
“We have achieved this because we have a strong team that has helped develop our business over the years – staff, producers, customers, R&D specialists and environmental consultants to name just a few. We share this award and success with them.
“Others follow our sustainable model but we never stop looking for ways to improve. We’re currently working with the Woodland Trust and Cumbria Farm Environment Partnership on a five-year ecological survey covering development of tree habitats. It’s already highlighting just how much woodland diversity is in woodland fringes. We’re also seeing a growing number of indigenous species like Barn Owls and Red Squirrels returning to our farms. The benefits of planting trees are definitely something we’re proud to talk about!”
Amanda Mackenzie OBE, Chief Executive of Business in the Community, commented: “Congratulations to the 2017 Responsible Business Award winners for being inspirational yet practical examples of the difference business can make to address some of society’s biggest issues. The winning businesses are all different, they span sectors and continents and range from large high street names to small start-ups. What unites them is a belief that with courage vision and leadership, business can do remarkable things for good.”
This year’s Gala was hosted by Veolia, the UK’s leading resource management company and Business in the Community’s Responsible Business of the Year 2016. Estelle Branchlianoff, Senior Executive Vice-President for Veolia UK and Ireland, comments: “The calibre of businesses at last night’s Responsible Business Awards and Gala Dinner was outstanding, and proof that both global multinationals to SMEs can be a powerful force for good in society.”
The full list of winners is available at www.bitc.org.uk/awards and follow @BITC on Twitter #BITCawards.