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People say you’ve got to be in it to win it. Those are words I’ve been reflecting on this week as I’ve been psyching myself up to attend a ceremony for an award I was nominated for.

Psyching myself up – that sounds terrible, doesn’t it, but I don’t mean it to. I’m just not the biggest fan of being in the spotlight. To be honest, the thought of going up on stage in front of hundreds of people to collect an award absolutely terrifies me.

Perhaps luckily for me, I didn’t win on this occasion. I got down to the last three in the Northamptonshire Star of the Year category at the Next Generation Business Awards 2019, organised by the Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes chambers of commerce.

The award aims to recognise young people under 30 (I just about made it!) who have made an exceptional contribution to their workplace. I was up against some formidable competition from some fantastic people doing amazing things at their respective companies, and I’m so honoured that the shortlisting judges considered me worthy of an award like this.

This may sound like false modesty, but it’s not. I work hard because I actually really love my job, and because I’m truly passionate about what I do. That the PALLITE® team took the time to nominate me for an award like this (I had no idea they were doing it!) is very humbling, as I feel like it really validates the changes I’ve been making and means that they were the right ones for us as a business. I’ve only been in post for two years, so it’s great to feel I’ve made that kind of impact.

As PALLITE® Quality Manager, I lead our sustainability efforts. My job is not only to ensure that we are providing the most environmentally-friendly and lowest impact products to our customers, but also that we as a business do our bit to preserve the world in which we live.

Recent achievements include securing ISO14001 – a British standard in environmental management – for our business processes and practices, and achieving FSC accreditation for our range of packaging products – meaning customers can be sure they are purchasing sustainable solutions. Next on the agenda, I’m working on PALLITE® becoming a member of the highly-regarded Ellen MacArthur Foundation Circular Economy 100 Network. Hopefully more on this to come…

Back to awards… All this talk about winning and taking part has got me thinking about sustainability (let’s face it, when am I not?), and how, in efforts to do our bit to help the planet, it really is about – first and foremost – showing up to the party. When it comes to sustainability, I believe there is always more that companies like us could do, and it would be easy to feel overwhelmed by the potential and scale of the task at hand – that feeling of “there’s no point trying, because I’m not going to win”. But PALLITE® is proof that from small acorns, mighty oaks do grow; we started off with an idea for a lighter, more easily recycled pallet made from paper rather than wood. Over the years, we’ve developed this idea into a range of environmentally-friendly products and begun to transform ourselves as a business into one where we can now say we are really starting to practice what we preach. There’s no need to psyche ourselves up here. We have a bold vision about where we want to get to, both in terms of our profitability and our accountability, and we’re not going to be backwards in coming forwards when it comes to pursuing it.

Matthew Marks

Quality Manager at PALLITE®

Matthew Marks

Runner up at Next Generation Business Awards 2019!