Organisations contributing to a more sustainable island were rewarded this week at the fourth UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man Awards.
The awards celebrate those contributing to the Biosphere programme’s global aims of sustainable development, conservation and education.
They are organised in line with the five Es of UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man’s local strategy, ‘Working Together for a Sustainable Future’.
Capital International Group won the economy award for its Conscious Capital programme, which helps clients secure financial goals while supporting sustainability.
It’s being continuously researched and developed to assess new opportunities.
The education winner was One World Centre (Isle of Man), which delivers education for a just, sustainable world using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework.
To do this it holds a One World Charity Challenge, mock COP26 climate conferences, a Fairtrade conference for schools and trail in Douglas, and global teacher training and arts activities.
The energy award went to Zurich Isle of Man which, on the roof of its car port at its headquarters, has installed a solar array it believes to be the biggest in the island in terms of generation, consisting of 540 panels, with the ability to generate 206 kilowatts of electricity – around 70% of the company’s annual need.
The enjoyment and engagement winner was Versa, a small footprint restaurant in Port Erin that celebrates the island’s Biosphere status and engages the public on issuing including foraging and eating more sustainably.
The environment award went to the entire farming community and farming support community, which has adopted the Isle of Man Government’s Agri-Environment Scheme.
In its first year alone, 160 farm businesses participated and almost £1.5 million was committed to schemes that improve habitats for nature on land that is farmed.
Winners were chosen by a panel of judges from the government, the private sector, and charities.
Hand-crafted awards were presented at a ceremony at the Manx Museum by the Lieutenant Governor Sir John Lorimer and Lady Lorimer.
Winners will be eligible to use a special logo, as well as featuring in next year’s promotional video.
Deputy Chief Minister Jane Poole-Wilson, who was the main speaker at the event, said: ‘It behoves us all – policy-makers, organisations, individual citizens – to live by the Biosphere ethos and effect positive change.’
She told entrants: ‘You are here today because of your impressive contribution to a sustainable future. The awards have attracted a wide variety of entries and I’m glad I was not a judge as they had some very difficult decisions to make.
‘The range of projects and the impact of work that is underway is hugely inspiring and these awards provide an opportunity to showcase this and raise awareness of the impressive initiatives going on right across the island to effect positive change.’