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Nikwax celebrates presentation of Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development 2014

On Friday 7th November Nikwax was officially presented with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development 2014, in a ceremony led by HM Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, on behalf of her Majesty the Queen.

The photo above shows our Managing Director, Nick Brown, being presented the award by HM Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field.

All 165 employees, plus our distributors from across the globe, were invited to the award ceremony, held at Salomons Estate in Kent, close to the Nikwax Head Office.

Nikwax Event - The Queen's Award for Enterprise Sustainable Deve

(Above) Group shot of employees and distributors that attended the ceremony

The prestigious award reflects the company’s achievements within Sustainable Development, which include: reducing environmental impact, educating local schools on sustainability, and providing a grants programme to aid environmental projects.

Nikwax Event - The Queen's Award for Enterprise Sustainable Deve

(Above) THE Award!

It is the fourth Queen’s Award that Nikwax has won. This award is particularly meaningful because we do everything we can to protect our outdoor environment for all to enjoy both now and in the future. The award recognises our hard work, effort and continued commitment towards this. Our previous Queen’s Awards were for International Trade (2004), and Export Achievement (1996 & 1999).

Nikwax Event - The Queen's Award for Enterprise Sustainable Deve

(Above left to right) Chairman of East Sussex County Council, Councillor Colin Belsey; the Deputy Lieutenant, Mr Michael Chowen; Nikwax Managing Director, Nick Brown; Environmental Director, Jon Nash; and HM Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field

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Nikwax grant sends environmental film maker to Iceland

In May of this year, I was able to travel with Risan Media to Iceland with the support of a Nikwax Environmental Grant.

I wanted to travel to Iceland to document parallel scientific research around climate change, renewable energy production and outdoor recreation on glaciers. I had been communicating with Dr. Tomas Johannesson from the Icelandic office of meteorology and I coordinated my trip in May of this year around the annual spring mass balance research by the Icelandic Meteorological Office and Glaciological Society on the Mýrdalsjökull volcanic glacier ice cap.

The trip was incredible and I was able to film throughout the country and was afforded a very special opportunity to interview Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the President of Iceland.

Before heading to Iceland, I also garnered the support of Bergans of Norway, Fitwell, Swany, Sierra Designs, PraNa, Giro, Voile, Mountainsmith and Seagate from the US. I was fortunate enough to gain a sponsorship with SNO Glacier water, the only nitrate free glacier and high in oxygen water from Iceland. I was also able to establish partnerships with some supportive Icelandic companies such as Icelandair, Geysir, Hotel Laxnes, the Blue Lagoon, Einstök, Heydalur, Hotel Hraunsnef, Hotel Isafjordur, Bergmenn Mountain Guides, Húsabakki, Hestar and West Tours.

I flew from Denver to Reykjavik, picked up my car rental and headed off to film at the Blue Lagoon geothermal springs. I enjoyed the mineral waters and filmed there and along the southwest coast.

The next day I visited the Hellisheidi geothermal plant for a tour and interview regarding the process and capacity of geothermal energy production there, and was amazed that they are able to heat Reykjavik by piping the hot water to the city.

Next up I met with the team of scientists from the Glaciological Society and Meteorological Office. I loaded up the super jeeps on 38” wheels and headed south along the coast. There, the ocean meets farmland with sheep and horses, tall cliffs and waterfalls. We headed up a gravel road north towards the ice cap with three vehicles. Once on snow, the team would deflate the immense tires so that we would have traction as we climbed the almost 1500 meter ice cap that covers the Katla volcano.

The team broke into three groups and began conducting research at different locations. The vehicle I was in traversed bumpy snowdrifts following the GPS to the research location that they have visited annually. The team began drilling ice cores into the flat, snow-covered ice cap and carefully measured the cylinders of snow and firn in length and mass in order to calculate density.

I had a great time filming on the ice cap and it was suggested that I join a scientist the following day on the neighboring Eyjafjallajökull outlet glacier. The research that day consisted of steam drilling into the ice for ablation poles that are used to calculate glacier ablation/melting and ice velocity. I enjoyed hiking on the ice with crampons and have previously done some steam drilling on the Gulkana glacier in Alaska with a team from UAF, so the technique was familiar.

Hot springs in Iceland
One of Iceland’s fantastic natural hot springs

I then drove North mostly along the coastline and travelled along the winding roads of the West Fjords to Heydalur. The historic guesthouse has many horses, a stocked trout pond on the stream that meets the fjord, natural hot springs and an indoor greenhouse.

Then I headed to the historic town of Isafjordur, which is situated below steep snow-covered peaks. I was able to interview and enjoy a sea kayaking session with the talented sea kayak guide, Halldór Sveinbjörnsson, in the waters of the inlet there.

The following day I arrived at Husabakki near Dalvik and settled in at the hostel to prepare for a day of split boarding from sea to summit with Bergmenn Mountain Guides. We had a group of 8 or so with two guides and skinned up spring corn snow on peaks rising from the ocean outside Akureyri. It was a bit cloudy but the snow was good and thrilling to ride straight down towards the ocean.

Todd and Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
Todd meets with Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson

My last day in Iceland allowed for filming throughout Reykavik and a visit to the presidential residence, Bessastaðir, for an interview with Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. The President is very intelligent and kind and responded to my questions in great length. I asked him of his youth growing up in Isafjordur, where I had just been. Most of our conversation was focused on his perspectives and initiatives on climate change impacts in Iceland and the Arctic. He discussed his cooperative initiatives between countries of the Arctic and the Himalayan region with these issues. He also elaborated on the concept of the Himalaya as the Third Pole in regards to the volume of ice that, with climate change, is impacting the livelihoods of billions of people.

The President established the first Arctic Circle Conference in 2013, which was attended by 1,200 delegates from over 40 countries. He suggested I attend and I registered with Risan Media to attend the conference. It looks like I will have an opportunity to lead a presentation and to show a Risan Media Iceland video at the conference as well!

The support from Nikwax enabled me to have diverse experiences in Iceland and to document further material for The Risan Film Project. You can find further information on the projects at

To find out more information about Nikwax Environmental Grants and to apply, visit


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Nikwax becomes ‘Sustaining Member’ of EOCA

Nikwax is proud to be a member of the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), and our commitment to the cause was further underlined by becoming one of the first ‘Sustaining Members’ at OutDoor in Friedrichshafen, Germany this July.

EOCA is an organisation that uses its membership fees to fund and support environmental causes around the world. 100% of fees from EOCA go towards the support of its projects. In the past 18 months, EOCA has gone through tremendous growth, increasing by 53%, which will be carefully managed so it can be sustained over a long period.

The new Sustaining Members have pledged an extra €10,000 to the association in terms of support per year for the next three years, which is on top of their annual membership fees.

As a result of the new initiative, EOCA will now be able to create a second funding round per year, therefore increasing the money being put back into the environment every year.

Nikwax founder Nick Brown, who is also EOCA Vice President and Advisor, said of Nikwax’s EOCA membership: “Nikwax is involved with EOCA because we believe that conservation is a crucially important part of building a sustainable future for our business and our stakeholders. The Outdoor Industry depends upon the naturally wild environment for its very existence, and so it makes total sense to help conserve it.”

Alongside Nikwax, the other companies to become Sustaining Members were: OutDoor (Messe Friedrichshafen), Pertex, KEEN Footwear, ISPO (Messe München), Patagonia and the European Outdoor Group (EOG).

The declaration was signed at the recent OutDoor international press conference in Friedrichshafen, where Nikwax was also one of the exhibitors with an indoor stand and an outdoor footwear care clinic. Nikwax CEO, Nick Brown, held a press conference at the show to discuss the new Nikwax Fleece and Nikwax Windproof PFC-treatment-free Fabrics, fielding questions from those present on the newest technology on the market.

For more information on the new ‘Sustaining Members’ of EOCA, click here.

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How to win a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development

Nikwax has won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development! We’re amongst just 13 companies across the country this year to have received an award in this environmental category, so we’re immensely proud of all our hard work that led to this achievement.

We make every effort to minimise our impact on the environment and people’s health, and this Queen’s Award has been achieved through our demonstration of sustainable practices over the past five years.

Here are a few of the things we’ve been doing to help contribute towards a greener future:

Restricted chemicals policy

In our fight against the harmful chemicals used by other brands in the waterproofing of outdoor gear, all Nikwax products are WaterBased, solvent free, non-flammable and do not use aerosols. And, did you know, we’re the only aftercare company in the world never to have used fluorocarbons (PFCs), as these hazardous chemicals persist in the environment and can have serious health implications for humans.

Our products have consistently been shown to outperform the competition, demonstrating that solvents and harmful chemicals are simply not required.

We go over and above the current legal restrictions on chemical use and publish a list on our website of the chemicals we prohibit.

Waste recycling

Our waste reduction programme has seen the amount of waste we recycle go from 16% in 2006 to 71% in 2013! We have a target this year of 80%.

Renewable energy generation

We continually strive to increase our renewable energy generation and in 2011 we installed a 7.7 kwh solar panel system to our main office unit. During the summer months this provides that building’s entire electrical usage. We also harvest rainwater from our manufacturing plants roof space to use in the production of some of our products.

Carbon off-setting

Nikwax is carbon-balanced through the World Land Trust (WLT). We’ve been calculating our primary carbon dioxide emissions since 2007 and every year since then we’ve offset those emissions, plus an estimated figure for pre-2007. So far, we’ve contributed around £50,000 to carbon-balanced WLT projects and that has supported the purchase and protection of several threatened habitats across the world.

In addition to a donation to cover our carbon footprint, we make a matching donation for use in the WLT’s most urgent appeals.

European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA)

Nikwax founder, Nick Brown, is Vice President of the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA). As part of this Nick campaigns for environmental responsibility and best practice within the industry, by supporting conservation funds, raising awareness of climate change and challenging the continued use of hazardous chemicals.

Work in the community

We like to support our local community where possible, giving lessons in schools on science and sustainable business and recently donated £3,000 to a nearby primary school to enable them to build an outdoor science classroom.

We also offer grants to environmental projects in the UK and abroad.

Live reporting of our corporate social responsibility

We don’t like to hide anything, so we post reports on our website each month that include figures for our energy use, packaging and carbon output, dating back to 2009.

Achieving a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development is testament to both our superiority in environmentally-friendly waterproofing technology and its commitment to delivering sustainable business practices. But it doesn’t end there! We have a goal to become waste and landfill free in five years and plan to further develop our rainwater harvesting to encompass a larger percentage of produced materials.