Elan could be the best of British

An Inverurie family who run a hair salon on West High Street, will soon be up against some of the biggest names in British business at one of the UK’s most prestigious awards events.

Élan Hair Design, run by husband and wife Lorna and Gordon Milton together with daughters Lanice and Lauren, is a finalist at the National Business Awards 2012.

The firm will compete for the ICAEW Sustainability Award against a number of other eco-friendly businesses, including retail giant Marks and Spencer and Arla Foods, which has Anchor and Lurpak among its brands.

The ceremony will be held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane next Tuesday (November 13).

Owner, Lorna Milton said: “We’re very much the underdog when you consider some of the companies we’re up against but we’re hopeful of doing well on the night.

“It’s a fantastic achievement for a small company from the North-east of Scotland to make it this far. I’m sure we’ll all thoroughly enjoy the occasion and it’s given us great confidence to add further green initiatives to the salon.”

Following a £250,000 refurbishment of its West High Street salon, Élan has delivered an innovative building project – the environmental and commercial benefits of which could be a template for other hair salons to follow.

The salon has incorporated a multitude of environmentally-friendly initiatives, including the use of recyclable materials, photovoltaic panels to reduce electricity bills, solar thermal panels to provide energy for hot water and an air source heat pump which saves 80 per cent on heating costs.

The business, which was established in 1971 with a staff of 13, also takes a creative approach to waste management – in addition to recycling all paper, plastic and cardboard, the salon even sends customers’ hair to be spread as compost on local farmers’ fields.

The success of the eco-friendly project has led to 18 award nominations, including five wins. Élan won the Green Award at the HP Smart Business Awards, named Scottish Green Champion at the Green Apple Awards for Scotland and was also awarded Outstanding Green Initiative in the Global Business Excellence Awards.

The firm also won Excellence in Resource Management award for small businesses at the Scottish Waste and Resources Awards.

The business will represent Scotland in the final of the Chamber Awards, held by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), after being announced as a regional winner.

Élan is short listed in the Sustainability category for the event at the Guildhall in London on Thursday, November 29.