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Which are the best international CSR awards and green awards to enter?

Chris Robinson

Managing Director, Boost

How to choose Responsible Business Awards and Awards for Sustainability

Would you say that your business is more ethical or sustainable than your competitors or peers? If so then you deserve to be recognised for this, and benefit from this when competing for customers and talent. An increasingly popular area for awards internationally is CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility. These CSR awards typically cover just four themes, as defined by the British non-profit organisation ‘Business in the Community’:

  • Marketplace (responsible and ethical sales & marketing, and responsible supply chain)
  • Community
  • Environment
  • Workplace (encompassing responsible workplaces, safety, wellbeing, diversity and inclusion)

Some awards focus on a specific theme, like environment awards or community awards, but the generalist CSR awards tend to have separate categories covering these. Rather than just list the different awards you can consider, here is a list of different scenarios, and the corresponding awards you should think about if you fit any scenario listed below.

You have a business or department which is ethical in its entirety

Here the best fits are:

  • Reuters Events Responsible Business Awards: These awards (deadline August) are run from England by the London-based Ethical Corporation. They provide an excellent choice of categories for whole business or individual functions such as marketing and supply chain. They focus on the private sector but have a Social Enterprise of the year category. The awards dinner is held at a highly prestigious London venue in October.
  • The Seal Business Sustainability Awards These awards previously have had an end of September deadline and applicants are judged on benchmark metrics across Corporate Governance, Corporate Strategy, Supply Chain ESG/CSR, Disclosure and Accountability, Performance, and Corporate Citizenship and Engagement. So these are more like an accreditation process than a “and the winners is…” single winner per category award scheme. Winners are split into regions, but there doesn’t have to be a winner in each region, it depends on whether the entries are strong enough (i.e. if all the entries in Japan are weak, then there would be no winners in that region).
  • The World’s Most Ethical Companies: As the name suggests, these are for the business as a whole. Their deadline is usually around the middle of November. Here the rating process is based upon their unique ‘Ethics Quotient’ system, and awards are given out based on 26 industry sectors from Aerospace to Wholesale. In a change for 2021, the scheme’s sixth section, covering how companies assess and address the risks and opportunities relating to environmental sustainability and social responsibility, has moved away from a branding of ‘CSR’ and ‘ESG’. Instead, it focusses on the trend of companies paying more attention to their ‘impacts’ on the environment, people, and society, so the title has changed to: Impact Assessment and Reporting, a trend reflected by many awards in my list. 
  • The Golden Peacock Awards: These awards are run from New Delhi in India, and are a bit of an audit of a business’ approach to CSR. They have a range of national and global categories to choose from, and the deadlines vary depending on the category you are entering – best to check their website for dates.

You have a project within your business that is very environmentally sustainable

There are no shortage of awards that focus on initiatives, projects and campaigns. Our favourites are:

  • The Green Apple Awards: If your project could be described as “green” in nature, then there are award schemes run by The Green Organisation which are worth considering:
    1. The Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice: These awards have a deadline of 31st July every year (late deadline 31st August) with categories for types of project like “Habitat & Diversity” and “Energy Management” alongside a long list of specific industry sectors like “Automotive Industry” and “Banking/Finance/Insurance”. Multiple awards are given out for each category.
    2. The Green World Awards: These are awards for environmental best practice by companies, organisations and governments with a deadline of 31st July each year. There are four chances to win: gold, silver and bronze awards in every category in each sector, and the highest scorer in each will be declared a Green World Champion. The main two categories are for Environmental Improvement and Sustainable Development, but with numerous sub-categories including everything from Carbon Reduction, Climate Change, Heritage and Waste Management.   
queen's award

“Gaining recognition for your sustainable or environmentally-focussed product, project or campaign could prove invaluable to its future development”

  • The SEAL Award For Environmental Initiatives: If you have a specific environmental initiative which can bear up under scrutiny, then these awards, with their end of September deadline enable applicants to be assessed in a manner more akin (like the SEAL Business Sustainability Awards mentioned above) to an accreditation process than most awards schemes. Entries are judged against the following criteria: impact metrics, innovation/uniqueness of the initiative, sharing of insights and best practices, and investment of organizational leadership capital. They are only for specific initiatives, as compared to overall, company-wide sustainability performance.
  • The Rushlight Awards: If your project involves something to do with “clean tech” then you should consider these awards. The deadline each year is 30th November, and they feature 30 categories organised by five main groups: Natural Energy; Clean Energy; Processed Energy; Resources; and Environment. They are UK-based but open to entries from around the world.
  • The edie Sustainability Awards: Now in their 14th year, these UK-based awards are open to companies and organisations of all sizes worldwide, covering all key aspects of business sustainability. 2021 sees three new categories: Net-Zero Carbon Strategy of the Year; Green Recovery Initiative of the Year; and for changemakers, Business Leader of the Year Award.  
  • The Global Good Awards: These excellent awards, which really set an example in terms of an ethically-run awards scheme, are UK focused but they have a “Best International Sustainability Project” category that you might want to consider. They have an early March deadline each year and a seminar-style awards event in London, although as with many awards they moved to a virtual format in 2020. 
  • The International CSR Excellence Awards: These awards are squarely aimed at the international community and have a massive 42 categories, each of which can have multiple gold winners and a “champion”. They are free to enter until late March, then paid entries until the final deadline which is usually 31st May. The ceremony is usually held in London, but, being international, it is not expected that all finalists will attend. I would expect this to become a virtual event in light of the current pandemic. 
  • The Sustainability Awards: These awards honour individuals and organisations that have made sustainability an integral part of their business practice, and can demonstrate that earth-friendly business is also smart business. The deadline each year is mid-July with the winners announced approximately six to eights weeks later, so not long to wait.    

What if you are doing community or charity work for philanthropic reasons only

It might surprise you to know that most CSR awards require evidence of business benefits as well as societal benefits. This is where most applications fall short. However, if your work is absolutely only for societal benefits and you are not measuring the business benefits, then there is an international award for you: The Communitas Awards. This scheme doesn’t have an awards dinner as such, but it will assess your story and, if worthy, award you a lovely trophy and logo in recognition of it. It operates year-round but with a series of quarterly deadlines. There are 24 categories but they do recognise that there is some overlap between categories so they are open to interpretation. Categories are organised into three divisions: Community Service; Corporate Social Responsibility and a combined Community Service and Social Responsibility. 

What next?

These are just a selection of the most relevant International CSR Awards, Sustainability Awards and Green Awards. I hope you find them useful. Please also read our article How you can boost your ESG rating with awards. I also recommend browsing our database of over 4,000 business awards on our International Awards List website or for UK-based award schemes, try our UK Awards List. Many of the other industry sector awards include categories for CSR, Sustainability and Environmental initiatives, campaigns and projects.   

Boost – a helping hand entering international CSR awards

Boost Awards is the world’s first and largest award entry consultancy, having helped clients, from SMEs to Multinationals, win over 1,400 credible business awards, including many international CSR awards, environmental awards and awards for sustainability. Increase your chances of success significantly – call Boost on +44(0)1273 258703 today for a no-obligation chat about awards and how we can help you win them, or contact us via email. (C) This article was written by Chris Robinson and is the intellectual property of award entry consultants Boost Awards.

boost award entry writers

Which are the best international CSR awards and green awards to enter?

Chris Robinson

Managing Director, Boost

Choosing Responsible Business Awards and Awards for Sustainability

Would you say that your business is more ethical or sustainable than your competitors or peers? If so then you deserve to be recognised for this, and benefit from this when competing for customers and talent. An increasingly popular area for awards internationally is CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility. These CSR awards typically cover just four themes, as defined by the British non-profit organisation ‘Business in the Community’:

  • Marketplace (responsible and ethical sales & marketing, and responsible supply chain)
  • Community
  • Environment
  • Workplace (encompassing responsible workplaces, safety, wellbeing, diversity and inclusion)

Some awards focus on a specific theme, like environment awards or community awards, but the generalist CSR awards tend to have separate categories covering these. Rather than just list the different awards you can consider, here is a list of different scenarios, and the corresponding awards you should think about if you fit any scenario listed below.

You have a business or department which is ethical in its entirety

Here the best fits are:

  • Reuters Events Responsible Business Awards: These awards (deadline August) are run from England by the London-based Ethical Corporation. They provide an excellent choice of categories for whole business or individual functions such as marketing and supply chain. They focus on the private sector but have a Social Enterprise of the year category. The awards dinner is held at a highly prestigious London venue in October.
  • The Seal Business Sustainability Awards These awards previously have had an end of September deadline and applicants are judged on benchmark metrics across Corporate Governance, Corporate Strategy, Supply Chain ESG/CSR, Disclosure and Accountability, Performance, and Corporate Citizenship and Engagement. So these are more like an accreditation process than a “and the winners is…” single winner per category award scheme. Winners are split into regions, but there doesn’t have to be a winner in each region, it depends on whether the entries are strong enough (i.e. if all the entries in Japan are weak, then there would be no winners in that region).
  • The World’s Most Ethical Companies: As the name suggests, these are for the business as a whole. Their deadline is usually around the middle of November. Here the rating process is based upon their unique ‘Ethics Quotient’ system, and awards are given out based on 26 industry sectors from Aerospace to Wholesale. In a change for 2021, the scheme’s sixth section, covering how companies assess and address the risks and opportunities relating to environmental sustainability and social responsibility, has moved away from a branding of ‘CSR’ and ‘ESG’. Instead, it focusses on the trend of companies paying more attention to their ‘impacts’ on the environment, people, and society, so the title has changed to: Impact Assessment and Reporting, a trend reflected by many awards in my list. 
  • The Golden Peacock Awards: These awards are run from New Delhi in India, and are a bit of an audit of a business’ approach to CSR. They have a range of national and global categories to choose from, and the deadlines vary depending on the category you are entering – best to check their website for dates.

You have a project within your business that is very environmentally sustainable

There are no shortage of awards that focus on initiatives, projects and campaigns. Our favourites are:

  • The Green Apple Awards: If your project could be described as “green” in nature, then there are award schemes run by The Green Organisation which are worth considering:
    1. The Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice: These awards have a deadline of 31st July every year (late deadline 31st August) with categories for types of project like “Habitat & Diversity” and “Energy Management” alongside a long list of specific industry sectors like “Automotive Industry” and “Banking/Finance/Insurance”. Multiple awards are given out for each category.
    2. The Green World Awards: These are awards for environmental best practice by companies, organisations and governments with a deadline of 31st July each year. There are four chances to win: gold, silver and bronze awards in every category in each sector, and the highest scorer in each will be declared a Green World Champion. The main two categories are for Environmental Improvement and Sustainable Development, but with numerous sub-categories including everything from Carbon Reduction, Climate Change, Heritage and Waste Management.   
queen's award

“Gaining recognition for your sustainable or environmentally-focussed product, project or campaign could prove invaluable to its future development”

  • The SEAL Award For Environmental Initiatives: If you have a specific environmental initiative which can bear up under scrutiny, then these awards, with their end of September deadline enable applicants to be assessed in a manner more akin (like the SEAL Business Sustainability Awards mentioned above) to an accreditation process than most awards schemes. Entries are judged against the following criteria: impact metrics, innovation/uniqueness of the initiative, sharing of insights and best practices, and investment of organizational leadership capital. They are only for specific initiatives, as compared to overall, company-wide sustainability performance.
  • The Rushlight Awards: If your project involves something to do with “clean tech” then you should consider these awards. The deadline each year is 30th November, and they feature 30 categories organised by five main groups: Natural Energy; Clean Energy; Processed Energy; Resources; and Environment. They are UK-based but open to entries from around the world.
  • The edie Sustainability Awards: Now in their 14th year, these UK-based awards are open to companies and organisations of all sizes worldwide, covering all key aspects of business sustainability. 2021 sees three new categories: Net-Zero Carbon Strategy of the Year; Green Recovery Initiative of the Year; and for changemakers, Business Leader of the Year Award.  
  • The Global Good Awards: These excellent awards, which really set an example in terms of an ethically-run awards scheme, are UK focused but they have a “Best International Sustainability Project” category that you might want to consider. They have an early March deadline each year and a seminar-style awards event in London, although as with many awards they moved to a virtual format in 2020. 
  • The International CSR Excellence Awards: These awards are squarely aimed at the international community and have a massive 42 categories, each of which can have multiple gold winners and a “champion”. They are free to enter until late March, then paid entries until the final deadline which is usually 31st May. The ceremony is usually held in London, but, being international, it is not expected that all finalists will attend. I would expect this to become a virtual event in light of the current pandemic. 
  • The Sustainability Awards: These awards honour individuals and organisations that have made sustainability an integral part of their business practice, and can demonstrate that earth-friendly business is also smart business. The deadline each year is mid-July with the winners announced approximately six to eights weeks later, so not long to wait.    

What if you are doing community or charity work for philanthropic reasons only

It might surprise you to know that most CSR awards require evidence of business benefits as well as societal benefits. This is where most applications fall short. However, if your work is absolutely only for societal benefits and you are not measuring the business benefits, then there is an international award for you: The Communitas Awards. This scheme doesn’t have an awards dinner as such, but it will assess your story and, if worthy, award you a lovely trophy and logo in recognition of it. It operates year-round but with a series of quarterly deadlines. There are 24 categories but they do recognise that there is some overlap between categories so they are open to interpretation. Categories are organised into three divisions: Community Service; Corporate Social Responsibility and a combined Community Service and Social Responsibility. 

What next?

These are just a selection of the most relevant International CSR Awards, Sustainability Awards and Green Awards. I hope you find them useful. Please also read our article How you can boost your ESG rating with awards. I also recommend browsing our database of over 4,000 business awards on our International Awards List website or for UK-based award schemes, try our UK Awards List. Many of the other industry sector awards include categories for CSR, Sustainability and Environmental initiatives, campaigns and projects.   

Boost – a helping hand entering international CSR awards

Boost Awards is the world’s first and largest award entry consultancy, having helped clients, from SMEs to Multinationals, win over 1,400 credible business awards, including many international CSR awards, environmental awards and awards for sustainability. Increase your chances of success significantly – call Boost on +44(0)1273 258703 today for a no-obligation chat about awards and how we can help you win them, or contact us via email. (C) This article was written by Chris Robinson and is the intellectual property of award entry consultants Boost Awards.

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