A Worcestershire company which manufactures sustainable shopping bags is looking to develop its business in emerging market countries.
Jutexpo, which aims to reduce reliance on plastic bags, is investigating markets in New Zealand and Dubai.
The company, which supplies major supermarkets with its environmentally friendly jute bags and has recently teamed up with Asda to launch a limited edition Wayne Hemingway-designed bag, is looking at setting up a number of joint ventures in the countries.
Jutexpo, which has also supplied the Environment Agency with bags for World Environment Day for the last three years, has now been recognised for its innovative approach.
The firm has been selected as one of the Top 12 green business leaders in the 2008 Barclays Commercial Bank Green Leaders in Business Awards.
The awards recognise companies which are using pioneering processes or new sustainable technology, products or services to help beat climate change and, crucially, boost their own profits.
The competition has three separate categories – companies with a turnover below £1 million; between £1 million and £20 million; and above £20 million.
Jutexpo, competing in the medium business category, is one of four companies in this group hoping to be selected as a winner.
Although similar products are available elsewhere, Jutexpo has been able to produce its bags in large quantities at low prices, taking a traditional raw material and turning it into an accessible must-have item.
In practical terms, the 12 million jute bags sold so far equate to some 1.2 billion plastic bags saved from landfill.
The company’s growth has been remarkable, starting with a turnover of barely £200,000 when it launched in 2004 to nearly £5 million in 2008, a figure forecast to double in the current 12 month period. Barclays Commercial Bank marketing director, Richard French, said: “Jutexpo are not only protecting and preserving our natural world, but demonstrating how their ‘green’ credentials generate a competitive advantage that is confirmed through increasing profits.
“We believe Jutexpo offers a fresh perspective in the way they use innovative solutions to do business in a financially successful and sustainable manner.”
Winners will be revealed before an audience of 250 guests at a gala luncheon at the East Wintergarden in London on September 9.