Conferencing + Events Feature — 06 May 2019

A manufacturer of litter clearance tools, The Helping Hand Company, has won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for international trade after growing its export business by 750% in just six years.

The Herefordshire-based business, which has been running since 1965, sells its professional litter collection hand tools and environmental educational support services to over 20 countries worldwide through its HH Environmental division.

A trusted partner to 93% of local authorities and waste contractors in the UK, the company’s fast growing export sales have defied the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit vote.

It has built large customer bases in France, Holland, Denmark, Belgium and Ireland and is developing distribution channels in Australia, Germany and Spain.

Renowned in the UK for its charitable and community engagement through organisations such as Keep Britain Tidy, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Keep Wales Tidy, HH Environmental took a similar approach in Europe in the last five years, developing partnerships with clean up action organisations such as Nederland Schoon in Holland, Limburg.net and Mooimakers.be in Belgium.

The company has designed and manufactured bespoke clean-up solutions for unique problems such as a Belgium waste management contractor that is looking for a way to segregate litter as it is collected along the highways to increase recycling rates.

The global expansion was supported by the recruitment of a dedicated environmental export sales manager in February 2014 and export sales administrator who together have driven the rapid growth of sales across the EU and beyond.

Lara Bryant, VP sales and marketing at The Helping Hand Company said: “We hate litter and are passionate about tackling the litter problem in countries across the world.

“Since creating a dedicated export sales team, we have been relentless in our expansion into overseas markets.

“We have been able to draw on our key strengths, proven over many years of success in the UK, including more than 50 years of manufacturing expertise, fantastic customer relationships and partnerships, constant innovation and environmental awareness and ethical business processes.

“We are an adaptable business that is not solely focused on the commercial gain of a product sale but more on a sustainable relationship with our customer. This approach makes us unique in Europe.”

HH Environmental is working with partners across different countries to support the Eco Schools litter education programs, engaging 19.5 million children across 67 countries, making it the largest educational programme on the planet.

This year so far the company worked with 346,012 community volunteers across the UK as part of projects such as Great British Spring Clean aimed at cleaning up local neighbourhoods.

“We are committed to promoting environmental awareness today for our world tomorrow,” Lara explained.

“Working alongside the Eco Schools programme and other local environmental education initiatives is a central focus for us – doing something as simple as a litter pick is a great way to engage children in learning about litter.”

The Queens Award is just the latest in a string of accolades for the HH Environmental branch of the business, including Green Apple Hero Award 2013 & 2014, CIWM Sustainability & Resources 2015, Guardian of Public Spaces 2016 and Business of the Year 2017.

“We have been successful because we have understood our strengths and values, focussed on these and believed in the overall brand proposition to open doors and new ventures,” said Lara.

“With continued investment into new products and new markets we are confident of increasing our growth even more over the coming years.”

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