Addressing the Wales Environment Awards 2000 Ms Essex said sustainable development needs business to develop good practice for the future. Some people still believed that sustainable development was only about environmental protection.
A healthy environment and prudent use of natural resources was crucial, but also important was a fairer society, confident, vibrant communities and a thriving, competitive economy which marketed itself on quality and respect for employees, customers and the environment.
Ms Essex said: 'The pressures on industry to improve its environmental performance are increasing. It is essential that Welsh companies respond positively to these pressures in order to realise the business benefits that waste minimisation, energy efficiency and environmental accreditation can bring. The assembly, under its business and environment campaign, will continue to support Welsh companies in this process.'
The Wales Environment Awards are run by Arena Network and recognise achievement in environmental good practice in the business sector.
Arena Network is a registered charity. Their main activities are directed towards supporting businesses in Wales with their environmental agendas, providing increased awareness and guidance.
This was the third year of the awards, which are sponsored by the national assembly for Wales.
A list of finalists and winners is attached.
WALES ENVIRONMENT AWARDS 200 - WINNERS AND FINALISTS (WINNERS IN BOLD)
Kyushu Matsushita Electric (UK) Ltd, Duffryn, Newport
RMC Aggregates (South Wales) Ltd, Wenvoe
Keep Wales Tidy, Cardiff
Align-Rite Ltd, Bridgend
Marche Ltd, Welshpool
Sony Manufacturing Co. Ltd, Bridgend
DARA Sealand, Welsh Road, Sealand, Flintshire
Park Environmental Services Ltd, Newport
PHS Group Ltd, Caerphilly
Companies with more than 250 employees
INCO Europe Ltd, Clydach, Swansea
Continental Teves UK Ltd, Ebbw Vale
Control Techniques Drives Ltd, Newtown
Cxorning Optical Fibres, Deeside
Companies with 50 -250 employees
Pilkington Special Glass Ltd, St Asaph, Denbighshire
Isringhausen (GB) Ltd, Wrexham
Companies with less than 50 employees
Primeshade Contracts Ltd, Pyle, Bridgend
Lovesgrove Research Ltd, Machynlleth
Matsushita Magnetron Corp. (UK) Ltd, Cwmbran
Plastek Industries Ltd, Tonypandy
WINNER OF WALES ENVIRONMENT AWARD FOR 2000
Continental Teves UK Ltd, Ebbw Vale W00606-Env