Arts Derbyshire


Renowned folk singer helps Derbyshire recycled plastic furniture company celebrate prestigious King’s Award

Renowned folk singer helps Derbyshire recycled plastic furniture company celebrate prestigious King’s Award

A Derbyshire company which has so far saved from the environment enough plastic bottles to fill the Albert Hall 16 times over has celebrated being officially presented with a highly coveted King’s Award for Sustainable Development.

Wirksworth-based manufacturing company TDP Ltd, which makes outdoor furniture entirely from recycled plastic, was one of only 15 companies in the UK to be awarded the country’s highest business accolade for sustainability when it won a King’s Award in this category.

The company was officially honoured for its achievement with a presentation by His Majesty’s representative in the county, The Lord-Lieutenant for Derbyshire, Elizabeth Fothergill CBE, and one of Derbyshire’s Deputy Lord-Lieutenants, Peter Ellse.

Renowned folk singer Lester Simpson, formerly of acapella group Coope Boyes and Simpson, was on hand at TDP’s presentation ceremony at Haarlem Mill where he sang ‘Pet Song’, which is about plastic bottles.

Mrs Fothergill said “Quite genuinely, it is my absolute honour and privilege, as His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for the county of Derbyshire, to present on behalf of His Majesty, King Charles III, the King’s Award for Enterprise, Sustainable Development, to TDP Ltd.

“The King’s Awards for Enterprise are considered to be the highest accolade to be bestowed upon a UK business – the most prestigious award.

“Increasingly relevant, and with a higher profile than ever before, any business with a King’s Award is guaranteed to receive a warm welcome at home and abroad. It says so much, and this is so much true in this company’s case, about the calibre and the standing of the company, its dealings with its staff, its customers, its stakeholders and its community engagement.

“It is only awarded to companies that have shown outstanding achievement and it showcases their innovations, ideas and achievements to a global audience.”

TDP founder and managing director Rob Barlow said that sustainability was at the heart of the company’s ethos and that he and his wife Anne had taken part in several citizen science trips abroad to parts of the world acutely affected by the severe impacts of climate change, including the Indian Ocean – scene of devastating coral bleaching – and Antarctica where they witnessed rare rainfall, glacial carving and micro plastics in the sea.

He told how witnessing the circularity of nature had inspired the business to continue driving forward its own sustainability measures and working to reduce its carbon footprint.

Over the years TDP has saved more than 4,500 tonnes of plastic waste from going into landfill, rivers and oceans, saving 11,250 trees from having to be felled, and 27,101,250kg of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere.

Talking to the TDP staff who were all present to see their company receive its award, Mrs Fothergill went on to say: “Your award is for sustainable development, meaning you have demonstrated to the very stringent assessment panel – and they are stringent – how you have developed outstanding sustainable development for more than two years, through your innovative product range. You’ve given evidence of the benefits or positive outcomes of your actions. You’ve shown how your company and its senior leaders pioneer sustainable development in your sector, and you’ve shown how you’ve overcome challenges with sustainability.

“Indeed, TDP has made sustainability an essential part of the organisation. You live it. You’re aiming for positive impacts through sustainable product design, strong ethics and good governance.

“You will now be recognised and allowed to use the Royal emblem. You are an outstanding British brand. In 2023, there were only 149 winners nationally, with only 15 for sustainable development. You should all be incredibly proud of your success, and that most appropriate recognition, and Derbyshire is certainly very, very proud of you all.”

In order to prepare its entry for the King’s Award for Sustainable Development, TDP was advised by business sustainability consultants Wylde Connections, whose consultant Denise Taylor was on hand to witness the award being presented.

Guests included Derbyshire High Sheriff Ian Morgan, Scott Knowles, chief executive of East Midlands Chamber, Paul Wilson, chief executive of Derbyshire Dales District Council, and Derbyshire Dales District Council leader Steve Flitter.

Guests were also entertained with a reading of ‘Plasticators’, which was specially written for TDP by local poet Rob Stamper.

Rob and Anne Barlow were presented with The King’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development, Grant of Appointment document signed by the King while their children Luke and Kym – both directors of the company – received the engraved King’s Award crystal bowl.

Rob said: “This was a very proud day for TDP. I could not be more delighted to have received this accolade. We could not have achieved what we have without the hard work of all our team and I was very happy that they all had the opportunity to be pictured with The Lord-Lieutenant for Derbyshire, Elizabeth Fothergill. We will continue to make every effort to put sustainability front and centre of everything we do.”

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