Spurious “Green Apple Environment Awards”. Delightful greenwash!


A body called The Green Organisation  http://www.thegreenorganisation.info/  is promoting its “Green Apple Environment Awards” to  companies (and local authorities) which pay a fee to The Green Organisation.  In exchange they get the chance to get some good publicity about what they have done.

Even for a small business of under 50 employees, the membership fee is £400 to £800 per year, so the Green Organisation knows how to get the money in. http://www.greenorg.livewirecms.com/GO_Membership_FormV6.pdf

Now a variety of unlikely recipients of any award for environmental achievements have been given these “Green Apple Environment Awards”. Southend Council has been awarded one, and East Midlands airport say they have received one for the past five years.

You can see a list of previous winners of the Green Apple award.  These include BAE systems, Gatwick Airport, Tesco, Jaguar, Ford, e-on, BP, Honda, N-power … and so on.


It is very praiseworthy for these companies and councils to be cutting down on their carbon emissions, but to pay to be given an award, most of the purpose of which is to get some good PR sounds dodgy ….




Southend Borough Council has just been awarded one.

30th November 2011,



In response, Friends of the Earth Southend wrote to The Green Organisation saying:

We areastonished to see that your group had awarded the council a Green Apple Award.

Very many local residents will have been equally surprised to have seen the press coverage given to this award. Those I have spoken to found the notion hilarious. While I can understand some amusement, I am afraid it did not have that impact upon me.  I was annoyed by what I saw as blatant “Greenwash” – a very dangerous commodity indeed.

Are you aware of the scale of public outrage at the decision of the local council to expand operations at the local airport?  The plans aim to achieve the release of an additional 2 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Are you aware that the council has vigorously promoted out of town and edge of town development and continues to do so?  It has moved one of its largest employers out of town to an edge of town location, it has moved its main swimming pool from the town centre to an edge of town facility and it plans to move the town’s football club away from a town railway station to an out of town location that can only be accessed by the car.

Are you aware that the local Friends of the Earth group has fought long and hard to secure council interest in development of eco-tourism around the Thames and Crouch estuaries but that all efforts have been ignored?

Are you aware that public transport campaigners have fought long and hard to secure the construction of bus lanes in the town but the council not only ignores these, it pumps as much money as it can into road widening schemes to encourage people to continue to use their cars?

In the light of this can you please explain to me why you awarded the Green Apple to this of all councils? I understand that we all need to congratulate Southend council when it occasionally does good things, for example improving recycling rates; but to give the impression that it deserves an award when it is clearly and willfully doing so much harm is grossly irresponsible.

East Midlands airport have received these awards, apparently for 5 consecutive several years, though their name cannot be located among the winners:


East Midlands Airport wind turbines receive Green Apple Award
East Midlands Airport (EMA Press Office)
East Midlands Airport is celebrating after being awarded a Green Apple Environment Award for the fifth consecutive year, at a National presentation held on Monday 14th November 2011 in the House of Commons.
The airport was recognised by the Green Organisation, an independent environment group, for environmental best practice, commending the airport’s achievement in successfully installing two commercial scale wind turbines on site – a UK airport first.
The airport worked with turbine manufacturers and the Civil Aviation Authority for nearly three years to complete a comprehensive feasibility and planning process, producing a robust safety case that allowed the airport to become the first in the country to install turbines of this scale on the airport site. Each of the turbines measure 45 metres including the rotor blades, which have a radius of 15 metres and together they will produce 5% of the airport’s electricity, enough to power 150 houses.
Neil Robinson, Director of Sustainability, East Midlands Airport said: “We are delighted to have won a Green Apple Award for the fifth year running. We truly believe our environmental projects are leading the way for airports and have championed a number of UK, European and World firsts in the past six years.
“Receiving external recognition for the wind turbines project is a great accolade, as the knowledge we have gained and are now able to pass to other businesses, both in the aviation industry and further afield, will undoubtedly help to create a sustainable future and benefit the environment.”
The wind turbine development, launched in May 2011, added to the renewable projects the airport has implemented over the past six years and also contributes significantly to the airport’s “Inspiring Young People” programme, at the Aerozone, the airport’s on site education facility.
During UK Climate Week, earlier this year, the Aerozone hosted the first North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) Climate Summit. This event was attended by young people from across the region, providing them with an understanding of Climate Change and how the emissions of a business can be reduced.
The Green Apple Environment Awards were launched in 1994 by The Green Organisation and have become well established as one of the most popular environmental campaigns in the world. The awards, now in their eighteenth year, are well established as one of the major environmental recognition schemes, both in the UK and internationally.

Gatwick Airport’s cleaners got one of these awards in August 2011:

Green Apple Award for Gatwick

In a national campaign to find Britain’s greenest companies, councils and communities, Bio-Productions, in partnership with OCS, have won a Green Apple Environment Award for helping to reduce the environmental impacts of cleaning Gatwick, the UK’s second largest airport.  The Green Apple Awards are run by The Green Organisation to recognise, reward and promote environmental best practice around the world.

The awards will be presented to winners at a ceremony in the House of Commons on November 14, 2011.  They are invited to have their winning paper published in The Green Book, the leading international work of reference on environmental best practice, and will also be considered to represent their country in the European Business Awards for the Environment.

The introduction of Bio-Productions biological cleaning products at Gatwick has resulted in a recognised improvement in washroom air quality, as well as the airport’s environmental impacts being reduced in a number of ways.  A reduction in chemical use has led to fewer deliveries and less on-site stock movement, with an anticipated saving of approximately 100 truck miles a year.  Bio-Productions biological urinal blocks have been introduced in all the washrooms, bringing an annual reduction in water usage of around 100,000 litres per annum as well as energy savings on pumping and moving water to the airport’s effluent treatment plant.  The cleaning products are also stored in a smaller area resulting
in lower energy consumption.

Adrian Shuker, Sustainability Director for OCS who provide cleaning services in the airport’s public areas, commented:  “It has been one of our top priorities to enhance the passenger experience, especially in the washroom, and to add value for the client through environmental efficiencies.  Our partnership with Bio-Productions has helped us achieve this goal.”


The Green Organisation’s website says:


– use the Green Organisation logo and certificates to your commercial advantage
– get increased PR through association with us
– pitch your green ideas to a wider audience- network with likeminded organisations”One of the two categories is environmental best practice.You can see a list of previous winners of the Green Apple award.  These include BAE systems, Gatwick Airport, Tesco, Jaguar, Ford, e-on, BP, Honda, N-power … and so on.http://www.thegreenorganisation.info/


All Green Apple Award winners are entitled to  use this distinctive logo on their letterheads and promotional material