Queen’s Award for South West engineering design company that ‘gives back’ to the community
A South West company has received national recognition for its social value work by being awarded the 2022 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development.
Services Design Solution (SDS) has placed environmental sustainability, employee support, and work in the local community at the heart of its business operations. These aspects of the company’s activities received special praise when the award was announced on 21 April.
The firm has won several awards since it was established in 2004, but this outshines the others for founder Shaun Hoppins. The Queen’s Award for this category recognises sustainable practices in all its forms, including social sustainability. Shaun said: ‘This is the most prestigious award we’ve received to date; it means Her Majesty and her government have recognised our efforts in achieving sustainable business and outcomes.’
The company provides designs for building environmental engineering systems to provide safe, comfortable conditions for people to work and live. Shaun continued: ‘When we commenced trading in 2004, we wanted to differentiate ourselves from our peers in engineering sustainability. As we grew as a business, we gained a broader understanding of what is truly sustainable and captured this within the company values. We have used company profit to drive innovation, provide business growth, develop staff and create job opportunities. Our team are empowered to help local communities through time and financial support.’
What stood out for the Queen’s Award for Enterprise panel was how SDS has embedded social value targets within its business strategy. In addition to each employee being able to donate pro-bono time and volunteer for social value projects, the company donates at least 1% of its annual turnover to provide financial support to local communities. Last year, this was over £50,000 and equated to around £900 per employee. The company also provides free of charge sustainability and carbon emissions advice for public organisations such as Somerset Council; offers careers talks at local schools and universities; and has designed work experience programmes for young people.
The award panel said: ‘The business has set performance targets on social matters, including expanding sustainable sales, volunteer hours, charitable giving and training. Services Design Solution provides an exemplary example of a diverse, sustainable development programme with ambitious long-term goals, including gender, carbon, and wellbeing. They are awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development through their strong strategic focus, helping drive the sector forward, and achieving results through leadership and commitment.’
Shaun commented: ‘We’ve grown our social sustainability commitment over recent years. To have that recognised in a national award reflects the hard work the team has commited during recent years. We’ve had a 148% increase in charitable giving compared to the previous year, and seen a 60% increase in volunteering.’
SDS are committed to protecting the ecology and doing their part to reduce the UK’s impact on climate change. They have been a net carbon neutral business since 2019 and provide their clients advice on the most sustainable systems to support their built environment.
The Queen’s Award for Enterprise lasts for five years, Shaun added: ‘To receive this accolade and be recognised as exemplary in sustainability within our sector is an outstanding achievement. It reflects the commitment of our staff and our promise to protect our planet.’