2017 National CSR Awards

2017 National CSR Awards

Written by Harriet Kelsall on 26 May 2017

Last week I headed to leafy St John’s Wood in the heart of London and although my destination was the Home of Cricket, the coveted prize of the day was in the form of a contemporary fused glass creation rather than a famous little urn. My trip to Lord’s Cricket Ground was as a judge for the 2017 National CSR Awards. Now in its third year, the awards reward and encourage the development of ethical and responsible business practices, and aim to recognise any organisation that prioritises Corporate Responsibility and sustainability. I was delighted to be a judge again this year and felt inspired by all of the shortlisted businesses who are working in a sustainable and more conscious way.

The evening began with a tour of Lord’s Cricket Ground, including a visit to the media suite which is the base for journalists and commentators on match days and which also offers panoramic views of the ground. The Museum brings the story of cricket to life and is where the famous ashes urn is permanently housed. We also saw the Waterford crystal replica which is the trophy that travels between Australia and England.   Unfortunately, like many of the games themselves, our tour of the famous sporting venue was dampened by the weather!

As everyone took their seats for the evening it was a great opportunity to see how they had interpreted the ‘eco-tie’ dress code. The National CSR Awards team explained their thinking behind this style stipulation: “By this we mean Fair Fashion. Be it sustainable cotton, up cycled or handed down, please try and wear something colourful with a conscious”. Colour came in the form of a handmade skittles packet bow tie worn by Guy Rickard of The Carbon Trust, while representatives from Project Ocean, a long term partnership between Selfridges and the Zoological Society of London to protect our oceans, wore t-shirts emblazoned with the slogans ‘No more fish in the sea’ and ‘save the sea’. My outfit was based on the idea that many costumes in prop cupboards are left neglected and unworn so I wore a headdress that was owned by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and had been worn by Juliet on stage in the 1960s. The bodice I was wearing was made by the chief cutter at the RSC and was a great example of reclaiming and recycling in a creative way.

The evening showcased a melting pot of businesses that are making hugely positive impacts on their employees, communities and society. Dan Bradbury, Head of Development for World Land Trust, took to the stage to speak about his work in protecting the environment and the mission to save one football pitch of forest cleared every four minutes.

I was honoured to present the ‘International Sustainable Community’ award to Twinings and UNICEF for their project which aims to create a protective environment for girls on tea estates. The programme is “enabling girls to live healthy, happy lives and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals about gender equality and empowerment, health and education”. (http://nationalcsrawards.co.uk/sustainable-community-twinings/). I then presented the runner-up award in the same category to Yorkshire Water and Water Aid for the ‘Big Wish for Ethiopia’ campaign. The water provider has partnered with the international water charity on this 5 year project which “strives to deliver safe water, sanitation and hygiene education to those less fortunate, whilst educating customers and influencing stakeholders on the challenges faced by millions”. (https://www.yorkshirewater.com/bigwish)

Karen Sutton, founder of the National CSR Awards, concluded this year’s inspiring awards and announced that they will be renamed to become the “Global Good Awards”. To see how companies and organisations are achieving global good or to take up the challenge yourself check out the hash tag (#GlobalGood) on Twitter or follow them on @GlobalGoodAward.