A Lancashire-based motor group has won the first-ever BMW UK Sustainability Award.
BMW UK presented the award to Bowker Motor Group, with BMW and MINI centres in Blackburn and Preston, at a ceremony in Liverpool. The award was one of the national BMW UK Retailer Awards and recognises the family-owned group’s commitment to sustainability. The award also acknowledges Bowker’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.
Bowker Motor Group’s financial commitment to sustainability in 2022 alone has reached almost £2 million. The business has engaged an Energy Champion to discover smarter ways to reduce their carbon footprint. And, last year, Bowker revealed that it has eliminated all but 95% of its paper transactions and communications.
The BMW UK Awards were presented at the ACC Liverpool by comedian Alan Carr and TV presenter Edith Bowman. The awards recognise the hard work and dedication of BMW and MINI retailers across the country. BMW UK chose winners in categories including Sales, Marketing, Used Cars, and Sustainability.
Chris Eccles, Bowker Motor Group director, said: “Thank you to BMW UK for this prestigious award. We are proud that BMW has recognised us for our commitment to sustainability, especially in the first year it has been presented. At Bowker, we take our responsibility to minimise our impact on the environment seriously. And we want to lead by example.
“This award is credit to the hard work and dedication of our staff. Now, more than ever, we’ll continue to find more ways to reduce our impact on the environment. It’s up to us all to reduce our carbon footprint and make a difference.”
Sustainability has been at the heart of Bowker Motor Group since 2007. In that year, the Bowker centres adopted the ‘Bowker SOS’ (Switch Off Something) initiative inspired by the energy crisis of 1973. Since then, the centres have recycled materials such as glass, cardboard, oil, and even rubber tyres to help the environment. Recyclers reconstitute the tyres to reuse in flooring for children’s playgrounds.
In 2012, Bowker BMW in Blackburn became the first car dealership in Lancashire to install solar panels on the roof of its Blackburn Centre. At the time, the investment in 210 panels offered a projected saving of £420,000 over the next 25 years. With the spiralling increase in energy costs, this saving is likely to be even more. An emissions saving of almost 500 tonnes of CO2 was also predicted.
The sustainability award also acknowledged Bowker for creating wide-ranging social value. The business demonstrated a focus on improving working conditions for employees and supporting the local community.
At work, the company is investing in new showers and changing facilities for staff. From wealth management workshops to professional development for managers, Bowker employees can count on support. And they have sourced uniforms from sustainable suppliers.
Working with local colleges, Bowker has established scholarship and apprenticeship schemes for over 15 years. The group has employed 14 apprentices and recently hired its first female apprentice. Bowker also invites students to experience the motor trade at first hand. The training covers all departments during a 10-day period.