By Tom Idle - Presiding over the 2016 National CSR Awards – now enjoying its second year as an useful addition to the initiatives that recognise best practice in sustainability – host Ed Gillespie asked delegates, "Consider which side of history do you want to be on"?
Those picking up their trophies at a reception, aptly held inside Siemens' The Crystal (said to be the world’s greenest building), had chosen the right side by “trusting their gut and imagining better,” said Gillespie.
When considering most of the organisations, projects and partners that had reason to celebrate this year, a  clear trend to emerge was a focus on localism. Being sure to create the most social value within local communities, where it matters most, was a key reason the Midcounties Co-operative scooped the Overall Excellence in Social Responsibility Award – a category supported by Nottingham University Business School, which offered up discounted placements for Midcounties staff as part of the prize.
A focus on connecting the business to the community was also key to David Fawcett’s success in winning the Outstanding Individual Corporate Leadership award for the infrastructure business Amey. Driving Amey’s apprenticeship programme to target areas of high unemployment across Hampshire, he is proving business can be a force for good and contribute positively to solving the UK’s wider social problems.
Other award-winning entries – from Braiform’s decision to set up a closed-loop clothes hanger re-use programme (winner, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Award), to Élan Hair Design’s £250,000 salon refurbishment making it the UK’s most eco-friendly hair salon (winner, Clean and Green Award) – pointed to significant investments.
And with global retailer Primark (runner-up, Best International Sustainability Award) and European media business Sky(winner, Best International Sustainability Award (Legacy), there is plenty of evidence that businesses with scale, reach and impact are using it, in some instances, to transform entire sectors.
Echoing current sentiment that business collaboration is the panacea for solving all of our environmental and social ills, organisations like Legal & General (highly commended, Best Individual Community Project Award) and Halfords (winner, Best Partnership in the Community Award) are proving that there’s plenty of merit to forming partnerships.
Other recognised organisations included: Brand Addition (winner, Innovation for Workplace Practices Award); Warburtons (winner, Nutritional & Health Awareness Award); Global Action Plan (special judges award, ‘Education Across Waters’ Award); Tata Consultancy Services (winner, Best Education Award); Riversimple (runner-up, Clean and Green Award); Melton Foods (runner-up, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Award); London Stansted Airport (winner (large), Best Individual Community Project Award); Hubbub (winner (small), Best Individual Community Project Award); Deutsche Bank & Sported (highly commended, Best Partnership in the Community Award); Jaguar Land Rover (winner, Best International Sustainability Award); and, UBS (winner, Best Community Development (Legacy)).
All of the details of this year’s winners can be found on the National CSR Awards website. For more on The Midcounties Co-operative, see this month’s interview with social responsibility manager, Mike Pickering.
Photo: Ingrid Weel Media Ltd. http://www.ingridweel.com/