In a first for the competition, judges have chosen two winners in this year’s Ecobuild & M&S Big Innovation Pitch. From a shortlist of five finalists, the panel chose a joint entry from Arup and Airedale, and a second from Protomax Plastics as the winners at last night’s event (7th March 2017). Both will now go forward into discussions with M&S and have the opportunity to become one of their suppliers.
The first winning entry was from Arup and Airedale with the Artus Hybrid FCU, an innovative air conditioning product invented by Arup, and taken to market by Airedale, with a launch date of July 2017. It is the result of thinking about how we can do air-conditioning better; saving energy, money and space.
Joining them on the podium was Protomax Plastics with Storm Board™, a sustainable alternative to plywood produced from mixed waste plastics. Much plywood is used for temporary works such as hoardings and needs to be clad in costly PVC and paint before ending life in landfill.
Commenting on the decision to choose two winners, Imogen Cust, Engineering R&D Manager for Property, Development and Facilities Management at M&S, said: “The standard of entries was brilliant this year - so good we had to choose two. The winners stood out because they have used their industry knowledge and their passion to solve real life M&S challenges in two very different fields.”
Speaking after winning the Big Innovation Pitch, Nico Stillwell, Imagineer from Protomax Plastics said: “I didn’t expect to win at all. Our idea was so different because no one else was talking about recycling but it seems to have captured the imagination of M&S.”