Solutions for the Planet


“The creativity and enthusiasm from everyone involved has been incredible, particularly in a year with so many challenges. We’d like to congratulate the winners and all the finalists on their achievements, as well as thank all of the thousands of students and many mentors who took part.”

Dr Martyn Kenny, sustainability director

This year Tarmac have showcased their continued commitment to helping young people to tackle the planet’s biggest issues by providing virtual mentoring to teams of school pupils as part of the Solutions for the Planet Big Ideas Competition. The programme sees volunteers from local businesses partner with school pupils across the country to generate ideas that improve society, economy and the environment.


Following school closures in response to the COVID-19 crisis, a new online platform was launched on the Solutions for the Planet website, giving pupils and mentors the means to collaborate and continue working together virtually. Prior to the virtual mentoring, volunteers had been attending schools to help develop solutions created by pupils, aged 11 – 14, during their Big Ideas Days.

Highlights of the 2019-20 Big Ideas programme:

  • 3,886 students from 31 schools participated
  • 153 Big Ideas submitted to the competition
  • 175 students from 56 teams continued with the virtual competition from March 2021
  • 132 business mentors supported the school this year (58 Tarmac mentors)

The regional and national finals for the 2020 competition were held virtually, which saw students from schools across the country present new sustainability initiatives to an online judging panel. Food For All from Bannockburn High School, Stirling came first with their visionary idea to create a service to redistribute food about to go to waste in a cafe and educate people about healthy eating. This team want to tackle food waste and affordability.

Martyn Kenny, Sustainability director and a member of the judging panel, said: “We’re extremely proud supporters of the Big Ideas programme. Working virtually is something many people have had to adapt to this year and the S4TP team have done a brilliant job in transitioning this really valuable programme online, successfully bringing together students and mentors to tackle real-world sustainability issues and delivering a really enjoyable celebration of achievements in the virtual final.”

Solutions for the Planet is a social enterprise, working with businesses, schools and communities to promote Education for Sustainable Development, social enterprise, and science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers for young people.

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