Prince Charles was among those in attendance as Inverurie’s Élan Hair Design received a leading national honour in recognition of the company’s commitment to sustainability.
Élan, which can lay claim to being the UK’s most eco-friendly hair salon, was announced as the joint winner of the Environmental Leadership prize at the Scottish Business in the Community (SBC) Awards.
Élan shared the honour with The Crown Estate, having seen off competition from
E-Reps Network and Matthew Algie. Other category winners on the night included Asda, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Scottish Widows and Vegware.
The glittering awards ceremony, held at Prestonfield House in Edinburgh, welcomed SBC president Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay. Scottish Business in the Community is a member of the Prince’s Charities, a group of not-for-profit organisations of which the Prince is president.
This latest success means Élan’s innovative green solution has won 17 awards, having been shortlisted for honours on 61 occasions to date.
Lorna Milton said: “We are delighted to have won this prestigious award; it’s a fantastic achievement for a small business from the north-east, particularly when you consider the tough level of competition we were up against.
“We couldn’t have made it this far without the support of our staff and customers who have really embraced the changes we have already made to the business. We are not resting on our laurels and are continuing to explore ways in which we can further improve the salon’s green credentials.”
Jane Wood, chief executive of SBC, said: “This is the first year we’ve opened the awards to all businesses in Scotland and we’ve been thrilled with the quality of the applications.
“There’s such a huge amount of excellent work around the responsible business agenda that’s taking place within our communities so picking a winner was incredibly difficult but we are delighted to have Élan Hair Design as an Environmental Leadership winner”.
The Environmental Leadership honour, sponsored by Zero Waste Scotland, was awarded for inspirational, visionary and innovative leadership and action for the environment – demonstrating effective change throughout the business, its supply chain and customers.
In 2012, the Milton family completed an innovative building project, the environmental and commercial benefits of which could be a template for other businesses throughout the country, and particularly other hair salons, to follow.
Élan’s eco-friendly project includes the use of recyclable materials, photo-voltaic panels to generate electricity, solar thermal panels to provide energy for hot water, LED lighting that uses 80% less electricity and environmentally-friendly basins that cut water consumption by 64%.
The salon has also cut its carbon emissions by 94% and diverted 95% of its general waste from landfill. Élan has found a solution for responsibly disposing of its customers’ hair clippings. Shorn locks, along with other biodegradable waste, are collected and sent to be spread as compost on local farmers’ fields.
Husband and wife Lorna and Gordon Milton run Élan Hair Design with their daughters Lanice and Lauren. The business, which currently has a team of 13, was established more than 40 years ago.