Ceres boss Mindy Lubber and Cranfield University's David Grayson are also honoured in virtual version of the prestigious annual awards from Reuters Events Sustainable Business

On Thursday, 14th October, over 1,000 business executives tuned in to the 2021 Reuters Events Responsible Business Awards virtual ceremony.

A great variety of different sectors and industries from all over the world were represented. The diversity on display – both in terms of geography and working sphere – demonstrated how delivering a clean, more responsible business future is now an international mainstream effort – and opportunity.

Liam Dowd, managing director for sustainable business at Reuters Events, said: “Whilst we’ve been unable to host a night of celebrations, learning and networking, we took the opportunity to do things slightly differently in this year’s virtual event. We put learning at the heart of this year’s awards, with more information about the finalists, and interviews with the shortlisted and winners during the ceremony.”

He said there were more than 600 entries this year, a 20% increase on 2020. “If that didn’t make the judges work a little harder, then the increased standard of entries certainly did. I was lucky to be dialled into all judging calls and there were lengthy discussions as to who should be recognised as one of our 2021 winners. After the judging process, several judges remarked to me about how impressed they were with the entries and the ambition and impact that they’re achieving. Another remark was how global our cohort of finalists were; we could see innovative and leading programmes from across the globe.”

Dowd added: “Whilst this year we’ve experienced a continuing global pandemic that has crippled the global economy, as well as extreme weather events, with their devastating impacts, I look towards 2022 with hope and optimism. Looking at this year’s entries and the impacts that they’re having, I genuinely believe we can transform the business world. The finalists in this year’s awards represent some of the best examples of what companies can do to help solve the issues impacting them, their employees, customers, suppliers and local communities.”

The winners were as follows…

Future Pioneer Award

  • Alexandra Gundobina – En+ Group

  • Elisabeth Rochford – Virgin Media O2

  • Jake and Caroline Danehy – Fair Harbor

  • Lucie Basch – Too Good to Go

“The judges were hugely impressed by the energy and determination of the finalists and how much they achieved in their early years. Each winner demonstrated different aspects of social entrepreneurship.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Jake and Caroline Danehy at Fair Harbor
“A very impressive submission showcasing entrepreneurship addressing waste. Judges look forward to seeing how they drive systemic change in the future, and meanwhile ensure they are addressing any possible risk of microplastics residues.”

WINNER: Lucie Basch at Too Good to Go   
“The killer thing is scale – it's fascinating! It’s obvious how well Lucie has collaborated with others and been a major influencer alongside Too Good to Go’s partners, demonstrated through real data and metrics. Here, Lucie’s entrepreneurship is about driving systems change and that’s what we wanted to see.”

Net Zero Transition Award

  • Apple

  • Amazon

  • Aviva

  • Burberry

  • Chiesi Group

  • Formula E

  • Nestlé

“Good, strong submissions. The front runners were tackling both net zero and social equity, which is a critical issue today. The finalists were set apart by their difference in scale despite large budgets and ability to influence the system. We hope in the future that these large brands will use their power even more impactfully to drive change and hyper-consumption.”
“By tackling carbon without offsetting through a climate positive approach, this organisation is truly pulling carbon out of the system and shifting an entire sector, as well as their own company ethos. Very impressive and inspiring work!”
“Aviva has remarkably accelerated the transition of the finance sector and contributed to creating leverage in a broader transition. Well done.”
Circular Transition Award

  • Danone

  • Morgan Stanley

  • AB InBev

  • Dow

  • Rio Tinto

  • Samsung Electronics

  • Sterlite Technologies Limited

“All submissions had impressive elements, however, there was no single major game changer. Were they truly circular economies? There was little or no mention of addressing human impact when shifting to a circular economy, and that is an area that is indispensable today for circularity’s progress. Nevertheless, there were very promising pathways on display.”
“A simple initiative with a basic idea, which helps shift the mindset on the value of old phones. A genuine closed loop versus recycling of e-waste with an innovative twist. The judges question whether it does have scale, but it is certainly signalling the right path for the tech industry as a whole – which has a massive problem with consumption of electronic devices.”

“Showcased a pathway to scale – removing the pressure off the food system and an excellent real mindset shift. But it is still early days. The judges look forward to seeing how this scales. What a great solution to use circularity for food security.”
Social Impact Award

  • KE Holdings

  • Cargill Turkey

  • IBM

  • Mondelez International

  • Flex

  • De Beers Group

  • DBS Bank

  • Too Good to Go

  • Tata Consultancy Services


  • AB InBev & BanQu

“This was the largest entry category with over a quarter of the total submissions. There were quite diverse submissions that detail a holistic approach to what an organization is taking, versus being specific about a particular impact they want to drive. Judges were looking at measurable impact rather than output, scale and time. The work has to impact both company and communities.”
 SPECIAL MENTION: Cargill Turkey
“Judges would like to give a special mention to Cargill Turkey. Their clear articulation on social impact was very impressive, regarding farming with scalability, and measurement including an innovative geographical element. Some areas judges would like to see addressed with this initiative would be around how they are addressing living wage, poverty and hunger.”
WINNER: AB InBev & BanQu
“This collaborative effort addresses financial literacy and capability of people within farming. This is very innovative for the partnership and technology deployed with its impact being demonstrated beyond the initial business case. It is still early days however on measurement and scalability in communities. The judges look forward to seeing this in the coming years.”
SDG Pioneer Award

  • Too Good to Go

  • Indosat Ooredoo

  • Twinings

  • Ayala

  • AB InBev

  • Sterlite Technologies

  • Al-Dabbagh Group

  • New World Development Company

“The category itself is very broad which makes this very challenging for submissions. Judges really examined the pioneering aspect carefully and ‘new elements’.”
HIGHLY COMMENDED: New World Development Company
“New World Development Company is pioneering in SDGs within the real estate ecosystem: they are taking an innovative approach to embed SDGs into core strategy. Judges would like to see future impact and also how this approach is governed and incentivised. This a very exciting pathway to watch.”
WINNER: Too Good to Go
“The most innovative submission with a new business model that wholly supports solutions for SDG targets. Judges liked the specificity of the SDG and the pioneering way of looking at it.”

(Ruksutakarn Studio/Shutterstock)

Biodiversity Champion Award

  • Amyris

  • Danone North America

  • Nomad Foods

  • Firmenich

  • Pernod Ricard

  • PepsiCo

  • Berkeley Group

“The judges were very encouraged by the number of companies addressing regenerative agriculture as the right kind of focus. They look forward to more upcoming actions! A strong category with solid entries. Good metrics, scale and a lot of opportunity for alignment in the future.”

“Judges loved the terroir concept from wine-making and how they applied it intelligently to regenerative agriculture. Lots of data and metrics which were impressive!”
WINNER: Danone North America
“A strong message in favour of Danone’s long-term focus on sustainability, laying the groundwork for long-term business opportunities and resilience. Judges hope Danone continues to be a role model in regenerative agriculture following recent leadership changes.”
Product or Service Innovation Award

  • Abbott

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill

  • Cloudflare

  • Nexii Building Solutions

  • Dow and Haier Smart Home Co.,

  • Moody’s

  • Robert Walters Group

  • Ping an Healthcare and Technology Company

  • Russell Reynolds

  • Walgreens

“This is a new and challenging category. Judges were looking for innovation and scale as key elements for a winning submission.”
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Robert Walters Group

“This company has a business model that allows it to advance the bias minimisation agenda, and judges were glad to see that. There is great potential for impact led by Robert Walters as they are already showing some impressive innovation on inclusion and diversity.”
WINNER: Nexii Building Solutions
“The judges were impressed to see such scalable innovation in technology by Nexii for a key sector where impact is important, and there is a lot of opportunity ahead. Judges look forward to seeing the impact across the rest of the industry over time that the planet will benefit from so positively.”
Purpose-Driven Communication Award

  • NatWest Group

  • TietoEVRY

  • DBS Bank

  • Anglian Water

  • En+ Group

  • MSIG Asia Pte

  • BT

  • Aviva

“There was quite a competitive, high-quality level of entries. Innovation, metrics and creativity were important for a winning submission. Judges were very impressed by the amount and quality of submissions.”

“They showed innovation and imagination on tackling school bullying in over 100 countries.”
“A strong holistic campaign, on multiple channels with a consistent message. What an impressive way to use a financial services’ influence to change people’s behaviour”
“BT touches a topical issue of getting the economy back up and running. Very single minded, upbeat and accessible with impressive impact on 3.5 million people measured by a third party. Well executed, professional, holistic comms campaign.”

Business Transformation Award

  • Chiesi Group

  • WSP Global Inc

  • DPD

  • En+ Group

  • Natura

  • NRG Energy

  • Berkeley Group

  • Suzano

  • Trane Technologies

  • Mercado Libre

“Judges recognised the IP&L tool as an example of business transformation enabling regenerative business practices, circularity and protecting the Amazon as some of the contributions among many others. Clear mindset and very good example of a transformation model that can be scaled.”
WINNER: Trane Technologies
“Impressed with the innovative mindset impacting the whole value chain including customers. Company that has been able to disrupt their entire business model and decision making to be a solution to today’s climate challenge at scale via the ‘The Gigaton challenge’.”
Partnership of the Year

  • Cargill and CARE

  • Australia Post and Australian Red Cross

  • Aviva and the British Red Cross

  • Twinings & Save the Children

  • Boots UK-Macmillan Cancer Support

  • Barclays Unreasonable Impact Programme

  • ADM

  • Lonely Whale

  • Olam India, International Finance Corporation (World Bank Organisation) and Government of India’s National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) – Pragatisheel Kisan Desh Ki Muskaan (PKDM)

“It’s great to see so many partnerships that have been built up over several years through the difficulties of Covid and are continuing to support communities worldwide with a clear vision and understanding of how it can help solve some of the key environmental and social issues that we face. Great to see solutions built from the ground up.”
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Twinings & Save the Children
“An excellent partnership that ensures a company is being a force for good in the communities that are vital to its supply chain. This partnership has delivered some very impressive impacts and is an excellent example of how companies could (and should) look at partnerships to deliver impacts that have a long-lasting impact on the community (and business).”
WINNER: Barclays Unreasonable Impact Programme
“Aligned with Barclay's sweet spot and their CSR/sustainability goals. Well measured and managed. A very innovative partnership that's leveraging the resources and expertise of two organisations to help support the future technologies and companies that'll address the social and environmental issues that we face. Great to see how both partners adapted plans and impacts in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. A refreshing and extremely innovative strategy and business model in comparison to the typical initiatives businesses partake in with humanitarian aid.”

(Credit: Kwame Amo/Shutterstock)

Social and Human Capital Award

  • Concert Properties

  • Solway Investment Group

  • AmerisourceBergen

  • Keurig Dr Pepper

  • Flex

  • Prysmian Group

  • S&P Global

“This is a new category that looked at both people and society.  Many submissions on human resources, but the judges were really seeking the joint impact of people and society at the heart of the business model.”
Winner: Keurig Dr Pepper
“Within the context of this category and submissions, Keurig Dr Pepper was a stand-out winner with an innovative evaluation and measurement approach that covered the most material issues for its farmer suppliers. Backed up by strong KPIs and a commitment to transparency, the approach provides a model for industry-wide interventions that meaningfully address critical social issues for agricultural suppliers.”
Reporting and Transparency Award

  • Olam Food Ingredients (OFI)

  • Dow Inc.

  • Novartis AG

  • Deloitte

  • Walgreens Boots Alliance

  • Vancity

  • PepsiCo

  • Philip Morris International

  • •Shell

“Like with all our Awards, Reuters Events and our judges wanted a clear winner for this category. But the reality is that the judges felt there wasn’t one at all. The stakes for reporting have changed; the expectations for and from companies have changed; reporting isn’t just about ‘success stories’ but also about the challenges — it’s about honest disclosure and the internal and outward impacts a company has on people and planet. And this is where we need to challenge the system and the winner in 2021 for this category. Therefore, the judges felt there was no clear winner this year in terms of a best-in-class practice that will tackle both scale and impact. It does however have a ‘highly commended’ company that has faced very significant issues, been honest about the challenges and set a route for resolving them that will impact their industry. The judges look forward to following ther results closely and holding them to account on their commitments.”

“Great scale and impact potential in one of the most challenging sectors for targets and disclosure. They are honest in the current impact on the planet and set a course for correcting their conduct. Huge ambition going beyond expectations for their sector.”

Sustainability Trailblazer Award

  • Audrey Choi – Chief Sustainability Officer, Morgan Stanley

  • Peter Simpson – CEO, Anglian Water and co-Chair, Corporate Leaders Group UK

  • Lucie Basch – Co-founder and Chief Expansion Officer, Too Good to Go

  • Ezgi Barcenas – Chief Sustainability Officer, AB InBev

  • Ivan Frishberg – Director of Impact Policy, Amalgamated Bank

  • Jose Villalon – Corporate Sustainability Director, Nutreco

  • Richard Ellis – Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, Walgreens Boots Alliance

  • Saker Nusseibeh, CBE – CEO, International at Federated Hermes

  • Sumant Sinha – Chairman and Managing Director, ReNew Power

  • Martha Patricia Herrera – Global Director of Social Impact and Director, CEMEX

“This was a tough category with a huge array of submissions that were uniquely inspiring. This category is really about individuals driving true change. We felt it only right to recognise two stand-out individuals as winners of this year’s award. Congratulations to all those whose names were listed!”
WINNERS: Audrey Choi (Morgan Stanley) and Richard Ellis (Walgreens)
Audrey Choi: “She is a real disruptor in her field who will catalyse change in multiple sectors. She’s swimming with sharks and succeeding!”
Richard Ellis: “The judges wanted to award this for a lifetime of dedication and change with Boots and Walgreens on sustainability. There was huge admiration from the jury for his many achievements. They only hope that the next generation can be inspired by Richard and follow in his footsteps.”

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award

  • IBM

  • Kenya Breweries

  • Atlas Renewable Energy

  • T-Mobile

  • Walgreens Boots Alliance

  • Britvic plc

  • Templeton & Partners

  • Coca-Cola Turkey

  • PepsiCo

“A real array of submissions — in this category judges were focused on intersectionality beyond just diversity.”


“PepsiCo rose to the occasion. A powerful business with deep investment and achievement across communities with huge potential for scale. Judges recognised their strategy for recruitment in communities. Good metrics, transparency and impact.”

WINNER: Kenya Breweries

“A refreshing, innovative pilot programme addressing persons with disabilities on farms in Kenya in partnership with Sightsavers. Judges applaud the bold idea, the impact for scale and a model that can be replicated in other regions around the world. Well done!”
Responsible Business Honouree Award

The Responsible Business Honouree Award recognises an individual, or individuals, that have dedicated their career to delivering change and have a track record of success. The Responsible Business Honouree has been and continues to be a catalyst for change within the industry.

Recent recipients of the Responsible Business Honouree Award include: John Elkington, Christiana Figueres, Paul Polman, Lise Kingo and Mark Carney, to name but a few.

Mindy Lubber

Mindy Lubber is the CEO and president of the sustainability nonprofit organization Ceres. She leads an all-women executive leadership team and 125 employees working to mobilise the most influential investors and companies to tackle the world’s biggest sustainability challenges: climate change, water scarcity and pollution, and inequitable workplaces.  She has been at the helm since 2003, and under her leadership, the organisation and its powerful networks have grown significantly in size and influence.

Under her leadership, Ceres co-founded Climate Action 100+, an initiative that has more than 500 investors with $47 trillion in assets under management.

Mindy has received numerous awards for her leadership. In 2020, she received the United Nations ’Champions of the Earth’ Entrepreneurial Vision award. In the same year, Mindy made Barron’s Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential women in U.S. finance, and then again in 2021. She has also received the Climate Visionary Award from the Earth Day Network; William K. Reilly Award for Environmental Leadership from American University; and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship from the Skoll Foundation. She has been recognised by the United Nations and the Foundation for Social Change as one of the World’s Top Leaders of Change. In 2019 and 2020, Ceres was named a top 100 women-led businesses in Massachusetts by the Globe Magazine and Commonwealth Institute.

The judges were keen to give her this accolade for many reasons, but notably for her hard work around climate policy and constructive lobbying during the Trump era when it was especially hard to do so. A deep and leading thinker in the space, she articulates a compelling case for why it's simply good business to address the needs of stakeholders and create value for them.

Mindy is a pioneer, working tirelessly to advocate for collective action on climate change and always reminding business of its responsibility.

David Grayson

David is Emeritus Professor of Corporate Responsibility at Cranfield University School of Management. David joined Cranfield and the world of management education in 2007 after a 30-year career as a social entrepreneur and campaigner for responsible business, economic regeneration, disability rights and diversity. 

During his career, he has done work with numerous multinational businesses as well as for the OECD, European Union and the World Bank. He is part of the Circle of Advisers for Business Fights Poverty and for the Asian Institute of Management's Ramon V. del Rosario, Sr. Center for Corporate Responsibility.

David has served on various charity, social enterprise, regulatory and public sector boards, including The Co-operative Development Agency, The Prince of Wales' Innovation Trust, and the Strategic Rail Authority. David was also part of the Ethical Corporation Advisory Board for several years, prior to us being acquired by Reuters.

He is also the author of nine books and has contributed chapters to a further 18 others.

The judges wanted to acknowledge the impressive mix of policymaking and business experience he has – positioning him to be a clear leader who has driven positive impact across his career.

David has tirelessly supported the responsible business movement for more than four decades, influencing and encouraging a generation of business leaders to think. and act differently. Endlessly generous and collaborative, his career is marked by leading thinking (such as intrapreneurship) and pioneering activism (on disability rights and the rights of working carers, among many others)."


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