A lifetime achievement award has been presented to Stephen Charles, managing director of table water bottling systems pioneer Vivreau.
Charles was awarded the accolade by the Association of Catering Excellence (ACE) in recognition of his contribution to sustainability across the hospitality sector.
Vivreau is a privately-owned company, founded in the late 1980s as a family business by Stephen Charles and his late father, Howard Cohen.
Stephen and his dad invented the very first table water bottling system after becoming frustrated by the cost and inconvenience of buying and storing bottled mineral water.
An Indian restaurant in Wembley was their first customer and they went on to create a business that has had a massive impact on the hospitality sector by reducing the need for bottled water to be imported and transported all around the globe at a huge cost to the environment.
They subsequently went on to create the LinkLine system, which enables their clients to network their water to a variety of different Vivreau drinking water systems.
They also led the way by becoming one of the first manufacturers of a single tap dispensing chilled still, sparkling and boiling water, in the form of the Vi Tap.
Vivreau water is now served around the world with offices in 15 countries on four continents. Its water is even served in The White House.
ACE Chair, Jeni Edwards, said: “Stephen Charles has taken Vivreau from humble beginnings to a highly successful international business and deserves our applause.”