Innovating Scotland Award sponsor Barry Carruthers from ScottishPower with VIBES winner David Farquhar from Intelligent Growth Solutions

L-r: Barry Carruthers, David Farquhar

Vertical farming business Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) picked up an innovation award for its new vertical farm facility.

The Dundee-based firm was named the winner of the Innovating Scotland Award at the Environment Business Awards, for the way the company has combined and patented technologies to deliver total controlled environment agriculture and address challenges facing food sustainability and supply.

IGS’ state-of-the-art facility was completed at the start of the year, and is capable of producing more than double the amount of herbs than standard greenhouses, boasting remote sensors and “learning” machines.

David Farquhar, chief executive of IGS, commented: “We are so pleased to be recognised with the Innovating Scotland Award. Our commitment to delivering a sustainable future is at the heart of everything we do at IGS and has been integral to our development.

“We need solutions that are sustainable, economically viable and provide food security. Our systems will play a part in providing these solutions to a truly worldwide market.

“Our success is testament to the hard work and dedication of our team who work tirelessly to deliver solutions to the challenges facing global food security in an efficient and environmentally friendly way.”

In June IGS secured a further £5.4million funding from US backers, described as “hugely exciting”, to continue its work in software development, engineering and robotics.

At the event over 400 business figures came together to celebrate the achievements of innovative Scottish businesses, demonstrating vision in implementing environmental best practice.

Twelve awards were presented on the day recognising the focus and efforts of a range of companies including IGS, Diageo and Findra, in helping to meet Scotland’s ambition to be a world leader on tackling climate change and inspiring others to follow their lead.

Commenting, Bob Downes, chair of SEPA and head of the VIBES judging panel, said: “The scale of the environmental challenge facing humanity, from climate change to plastics in our oceans, is enormous, with a real urgency to act.

“The most successful businesses in the future will be those that are not just compliant, but which are also low carbon, low material use, low water use and low waste, and which see environmental excellence as an opportunity. This is at the core of SEPA’s One Planet Prosperity regulatory strategy.

“It is very encouraging to see the diverse range of businesses, small and large, which are taking important steps to reduce their impact on the environment and which understand how environmental excellence can also benefit their bottom line.”