Over the last decade we have been recognised with a range of Royal honours. In 2018 we were awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation) – which recognised our role as a pioneer of sustainable packaging, and significant resource, research and development in the field of natural materials.
That honour was topped in 2019 when the future King, then Prince Charles, visited our former base to unveil the award, and learn more about what we do. A passionate supporter of Britain’s wool industry, he was fascinated to learn about how we had harnessed the properties of 100% sheep’s wool to create temperature-controlled sustainable packaging. The visit was a day that we will never forget.
Now, the nation has a new King, and Woolcool has received another Royal honour. In what may prove to be the last Queen’s Award scheme before it is renamed, Woolcool has been recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Sustainable Development) – a fitting honour for a company that was founded on green, sustainable principles.
Last month the new award was officially presented by Staffordshire’s Vice-Lord-Lieutenant James Leavesley, who also cut the ribbon to officially open our new home at Tungsten Park, Stone.
Mr Leavesley commented that it was a huge achievement to achieve a second Queen’s Award – and also confided that he believed the Sustainability category is probably the most difficult to win. As a business that helped set in motion the sustainable packaging revolution, we think that’s the way it should be.
The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is perhaps the most prestigious business award in the world, and applicants are expected to meet stringent criteria if they hope to be successful. With so many different ‘green’ schemes, logos, slogans, quality marks and accreditations around, it’s so important that the Queen’s Award stands head and shoulders above the rest. That’s why we value our status as a ‘B Corp’ so highly, because it is another accreditation that requires real, long-term commitment.
It is a huge achievement for Woolcool® to achieve a second Queen’s Award. Moreover, out of all the Queen’s Award categories the Sustainability category is probably the most difficult to win.
Why is the Queen’s Award so hard to win? It’s all about the detail.
For example, a significant part of the process requires applicants to explain how they are working to meet the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals – or SDGs – which set out how everyone can help make the world a better place, from defeating poverty to driving innovation. At Woolcool, we are fully engaged with these goals, and try to apply their aims whenever we can, whether it’s supporting Gender Equality or helping to End Poverty.
But this award is extra special to us, because it marks an important waypoint on Woolcool’s sustainable journey, which began more than a decade ago. When Woolcool was born, the term sustainable was barely used. Our pioneering approach to using natural materials helped found the sustainable packaging sector that is now growing at pace.
We knew that using 100% wool in place of manmade insulators like polystyrene was a greener, and more sustainable option. After all, wool is natural, recyclable, compostable, reusable and abundant. Being light and flexible, it leads to fewer carbon emissions in transit, and our manufacturing processes use a fraction of the energy needed to create other manmade insulators. It even breaks down in seawater.
But crucially, we also knew that it outperformed those manmade insulators, and were prepared to invest in the research and development that would provide the scientific data that would be needed to persuade businesses to switch to sustainable packaging alternatives.
It’s this sure-footed, fact-based business approach that has made Woolcool a sustainable success that kickstarted the burgeoning growth in sustainable packaging we see today.
We hope that our latest Royal recognition – the Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Sustainable Development) – not only inspires more businesses to take a greener path, but also encourages others to pioneer the new ideas that will help build a better future.