Council's groundbreaking eco-project wins national award
Hackney Council’s pioneering eco-project to get local businesses operating cleaner, greener and cheaper in and around one of London's most polluted areas has been recognised with a national award.
The Zero Emissions Network (ZEN), which sees the Council work with businesses to reduce pollutants, improve staff health and save money, won the Special Judges Award for Community Innovation at the National CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] Awards earlier this month.
The awards recognise business excellence and innovation in areas including sustainability, carbon footprinting and staff welfare.
Hackney set up ZEN a year ago to help traders in and around the highly-polluted Tech City hub before expanding in partnership with Islington and Tower Hamlets councils in October.
The councils offer exclusive cash-saving deals - including brokering £11,000 off a Nissan electric vehicle - as well as unique access to free advice and services from travel, energy and green experts.
Karen Potter, National CSR Awards Director, said: “Judges were inspired by the councils’ collaboration to develop the ZEN initiative which helps local businesses reduce their emissions, alleviate traffic congestion, and improve quality of life and community engagement.”
Leading British environmentalist and Guardian columnist Tony Juniper hailed the project as “inspirational” and tweeted his congratulations for the award win.
More than 400 businesses have now signed up to ZEN, including Jamie Oliver’s head office, in Nile Street, Shoreditch, which, thanks to a ZEN grant, will now be installing a cycle store for staff, buying a pool bicycle and offering bikers’ breakfasts.
MyPixxa, a popular pizza café in St John’s Street, approached ZEN after hearing about the project through another member.
Simoni Giorgini, owner of the restaurant, said: “We were able to work with London Green Cycles to design a cargo bike that exactly matched the requirements of our business and negotiate the best price. We now use it for all our local deliveries in and around the City.”
Shoreditch arts venue, Village Underground, took advantage of a £1,000 ZEN grant. Owner Ty Vigrass said: "Spring is upon us and due to this grant staff at Village Underground will soon be able to use a company bicycle, an on-site repair facility and those choosing greener ways into work will be rewarded with free breakfasts. Thanks to all at ZEN.”
I'm delighted that we have been recognised for what is truly a game-changing green initiative. Ultimately ZEN will improve life not only for traders but for local residents and visitors too.
ZEN is innovative because our target area is based on air quality but offers advice and deals that cover air quality, transport and energy efficiency. Other business projects tend to cover just one of these and are much more limited in scale and scope.
We’ve been able to leverage some incredible deals for businesses in our network due to the uniqueness of our approach and because we now have more 400 businesses in the project.
ZEN will be holding pop-ups in Brick Lane, Tower Hamlets on Wednesday, 25 March; St John Street, Islington on Thursday, March 26; and Rivington Street, Hackney on April 2, all between 9am and 3pm.
To learn more about ZEN: