Winners of the internationally renowned Reuters Events Responsible Business Awards revealed during a two-day virtual awards ceremony

On Thursday 8th and Friday 9th October, over 3,000 business executives tuned in to the 2020 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 geographical origin and working sphere – demonstrated how delivering a clean, more responsible business future is becoming an international mainstream effort – and opportunity.

Liam Dowd, managing director – sustainable business at Reuters, outlines “whilst we’ve been unable to host a night of celebrations, we took the opportunity that a virtual ceremony gives us and we’re doing things slightly differently this year. We put learning at the heart of this year’s awards, with more information about the finalists and interviews with the winners during the ceremony”.

“This year we had just shy of 500 entries – which is a 25% increase on two years ago. 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, which were not always in agreement for periods, as to who should be recognised as one of our 2020 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 programs from across the globe.”

“Whilst this year we’ve experienced a global pandemic that has crippled the global economy, as well as floods and fires across a number of countries that have devastated lives, I look to hope and optimism as we go into 2021. 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 are truly a representation of some of the best examples of what companies can do when they realise they have the power, and need, to help solve the issues impacting them, their employees, customers, suppliers and local communities.”

The winners were as follows…

Business Transformation Award

  • Dow

  • Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan

  • Intel

  • NatWest Group

  • Snam

  • Stanley Black & Decker

  • The Guardian

SPECIAL MENTION: Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan – Identifying and addressing climate-related risks and opportunities

“A transformative approach by the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan to adopt recommendations to the TCFD and embed assessment of climate change risk exposure into the management of its $15 billion property portfolio.”

WINNERS: The Guardian (The Guardian's climate pledge 2019) and Black & Decker (A Force for Good: Inspiring makers and innovators to create a more sustainable world)

“The Guardian is a transformation story, leveraging brand and voice to drive change on a large scale. A great example for other publishers to follow, applying commitments into hardnosed, difficult business decisions, building on the group's ethical and environmental values and track record.”

“Black & Decker has demonstrated a clear vision of change and how it will achieve it. A very positive all-round approach towards sustainability, that will hopefully unleash further innovation and impact on the group's full portfolio, fuelling further change. Nice alignment of purpose and product.”

Sustainability Innovation Award

  • BSi

  • F1

  • Kraft Heinz

  • Maersk

  • TES

  • Treedom

  • UPS

  • XAG

SPECIAL MENTION: Formula 1 – F1 Project Pitlane

“The Judges want to give a special mention to Formula E Racing; a great example of utilising core assets and strengths during the pandemic. Collaborative action to deliver practical outcomes, hopefully setting an example and expectation to continue putting unique skills to use for positive impact – would be great to see them continue to deploy resources on other key societal and environmental issues.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: TES – Sustainable end of life batteries management

“The Judges recognised TES with great potential to deliver clear and measurable benefits. which will grow with the network and the infrastructure to increase scale. It is too early to see the impact in the next couple of years.”

WINNER: XAG – AgTech Power: Shaping the Future of Smart Farms Amidst Aging Population

“A clear winner, the judges were impressed by this innovative and scalable project. An excellent example of how to use technology to ensure social and environmental impact. Really innovative and delivering impact immediately. Judges invite AgTech to consider future risks on labour when it is scaled to millions of farmers.”

      

SDG Impact Award

  • Al Dabbagh

  • ADM

  • Goldman Sachs

  • Mary Kay

  • McKinsey & Company

  • Samsung

  • Singapore Sustainability Academy

  • Thai Union

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Samsung

“The Judges would like to recognise Samsung for their great initiative to help raise awareness of the SDGs and engage a global audience through a dedicated SDG app, installed on their phones. Potential to scale up hugely with third parties and moving forward potential to mobilise this audience into taking action – providing different stakeholders with examples of the actions they can take in support of the goals. We need to see more of this innovative approach, to engage the general public on the SDGs, if we’re to have a chance of meeting all 17 goals.”

WINNER: Thai Union – Changing Seafood For Good

“Thai Union has demonstrated how to integrate SDGs into the core of the business. They have shown a thoughtful programme that demonstrates action, recognising their potential negative impacts and finding ways to address them. The company has also embarked on an impressive series of partnerships with expert NGOs to advance its understanding of issues and the impact of its responses. Bravo!”
 

Social Impact Award

  • AeroFarms

  • Aviva

  • Closing the Loop

  • CloudFlare

  • Lafarge Holcim

  • McKinsey & Company

  • Verizon

  • Qualcomm

  • XAG

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Aviva – The Aviva Community Fund

“Very innovative way to engage employees to get a sense of ownership of CSR work – that others could learn from. They clearly highlight where their capabilities lie and point to how they are trying to address key societal issues.“

WINNER: Verizon – Verizon Innovative Learning: Preparing the Next Generation for the Digital Economy and Closing the Digital Divide

“Bridging the digital divide has never been more vital than during the Covid-induced lockdown, which exacerbated existing inequalities in education. It’s pleasing to see Verizon's commitment to make digital inclusion a core part of its business. Verizon Innovative Learning is an innovative and impactful programme to heal the "homework divide" and has demonstrated impact and scalability.”

Partnership of the Year Award

  • Aberdeen Standard Investments

  • Business for Nature

  • Coca-Cola

  • Goldman Sachs

  • NatWest Group

  • Severn Trent

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Aberdeen Standard Investments – Big Issue invest partnership

“A well-thought out and broad-based partnership with some strong specific examples of success. We liked the passion of the initiative, really making an impact on the ground, innovative and responding to clear needs and advancing the overall objective of the partnership. Strong evidence of mutual benefit and clear impacts for each project, Good on challenges presented by Covid-19 and responses to these.”

WINNERS: Goldman Sachs (Goldman Sachs and The Conservation Fund) and The Coca-Cola Company Europe (The Living Danube Partnership – a public-private civil society partnership for Danube wetlands)

“Goldman Sachs is a strong example of a promising partnership, given the need to divert capital markets to nature-based solutions. It’s offering a way forward to leverage capital markets to drive change. This is the innovation we need to see when it comes to reframing the goals of the economic system and innovative financial mechanisms. If every bank did this, you would have a major recalibration of finance in an extraordinary way."

“The Coca-Cola Company Europe partnership demonstrates a worthwhile and serious initiative, which is clearly achieving real progress in the face of quite considerable challenges. It would have been interesting to have learned more of how it is integrated with Coca-Cola's core business. But it’s clear to see there’s been strong outcomes over the first six years of the seven-year programme. $20m raised. Congratulations!”

D&I Leader Award

  • ABN AMRO

  • ADM

  • Cadence

  • Saitex International

  • Standard Life Aberdeen

HIGHLY COMMENDED: ABN AMRO – Inclusive innovation at ABN AMRO

“ABN AMRO has tackled two major inclusion groups: people with disabilities and refugees. There are clearly marked programmes, targets, mechanisms to achieve success for the individuals and for the business, as well as a greater partnership for the community. They’ve shown clear innovation in terms of the topic approach, the targeted groups, the setting up of programmes and the larger ambition. Very scalable and outstanding impact. A worthy runner-up, bravo

WINNER: Saitex International – Rekut project

“In general, the judges found that all of the entries were very impressive with a strong set across the board this year. Rekut/Saitex, however, distinguished itself by addressing social and business value through a circular economy approach. It demonstrates a self-sustaining business model that has positive impact inside of the business as well as across the community as contributors to income. Original, truly local in approach and very scalable in terms of tackling diversity, inclusion and greater business good. This is a young initiative and we are very much looking forward to seeing the growth trajectory in the coming years.”

Clean Energy Transition Award

  • Energy Vault

  • InterEnergy

  • Kimberly-Clark

  • •Octopus Energy

  • ReNew Power

  • T-Mobile

WINNERS: Octopus Energy and ReNew Power

“A game-changer. Octopus has shown an interesting way of innovating and using technology with a strong comprehensive approach. Innovation that truly can accelerate the transition and involve the end customer. This can be deployed at scale and can revolutionarily change the electricity sector, which is needed to meet the climate goals ahead of us.”

“ReNew Power has innovation at its heart and shows true dedication and belief in the renewable business model. Encouraging to see the submission from a region that could really accelerate the transition on a global level. Judges are looking forward to seeing them take the next step as they identify potential partners to scale their work.”

Circular Innovation Award

  • Dow

  • Ellen MacArthur Foundation

  • Kimberly-Clark

  • NatWest Group

  • TerraCycle

  • TES

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Dow – Forming Unique Global Partnerships to Drive Innovation in Circularity

“Dow's submission shows circular economy innovation and a high potential for scalability. Dow is driving a partnership model reaching to other companies and making the link to consumer behaviour through the Store Drop-off programme in the US. Great work!”

WINNER: Ellen MacArthur Foundation – Circulytics

“Judges were extremely impressed with this project. Fantastic innovation giving companies the hard data they need to adopt more circular-business models by scoring their progress across a fleet of metrics. From systems and production processes to C-suite strategies, this is something that has been missing until now. Looking forward to its second version with a wider set of topics included. Bravo!”

Responsible Supply Chain Award

  • Austral Fisheries

  • Golden Agri Resources

  • Olam

  • Outland Denim

  • VF

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Austral Fisheries – Toothfish turns traceable thanks to OpenSC

“Fantastic and important innovation to bring transparency to notoriously murky seafood supply chains. Promising scalability. OpenSC combines human-centred design, emerging technology, and the power of multidisciplinary teams.”

WINNER: Olam International – AtSource – The source of good Food

“AtSource is a highly innovative and scalable plus well-established model that allows Olam's customers – for the first time – track the social and environmental footprint of a product from the farmer group, to their factory gate. It uses 150 economic, social and environmental metrics. Bringing transparency to what has been a rather opaque part of the commodity industry. Very much leading a new, sustainable path for their industry.”

Reporting and Transparency Award

  • Evonik

  • Grove

  • Nutreco

  • Teck

  • Telus

  • Vancity

  • Verizon

SPECIAL MENTION: Nutreco – 2019 Nutreco Sustainability Report

“The judges would like to give a special mention to Nutreco. Their report demonstrated how to be open and frank about challenges, in an innovative approach. Judges encourage the team to continue this over the full report next year.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Evonik – Sustainability Report 2019 – Leading beyond chemistry

“The judges recognised the transparency in this report and applauded a new way of thinking of how to evaluate impact. Very detailed and transparent report. Clear targets and progress in each section. Well done!”

WINNER: Grove

“A dynamic and fresh, concise, simple and clear report that shows a strong advocacy voice. Judges were impressed by the plastic scorecard, which is innovative, concrete and scalable to all competitors and across industries. This approach has possibilities to have a huge impact on tracing plastic-free work and all other items linked to plastic pollution.”

Purpose-Driven Communications Award

  • Aflac

  • Aviva

  • BT

  • Chipotle

  • DBS

  • Goldman Sachs

  • Octopus Energy

  • Walgreens Boots Alliance

SPECIAL MENTION: Goldman Sachs

“The Judges would like to give a special mention to Goldman Sachs for their campaign. They understood a major social issue today – well in advance of many – and the importance of investing and making an impactful contribution to successfully diverse businesses. The Judges encourage Goldman Sachs to scale their impact further. Reuters Events wanted to bring visibility to this campaign as an important case study for today and the future. “

HIGHLY COMMENDED: BT – Top tips on tech

“BT has shown real focus and intent in the way it partnered with ITV and others to tackle digital skills and tech tips for the greater population, particularly during the Covid-19 period. The campaign captured the attention of the UK for a greater good using a variety of brand ambassadors and TV personalities to deliver the message. A very clear strategy, with purposeful communications and excellent impact. Judges noted that this is an excellent model for other countries around the world where digital divide has been a massive issue during the pandemic, particularly for the elderly. Easily scalable locally, regionally and nationally. Well done!”

WINNER: DBS – Everyday heroes for a better world

“DBS has transformed the notion of "heroes" through a TV series approach to capture the attention of its audience on the importance of sustainability while providing tangible solutions. Original, humorous, on the edge at times, but definitely full of real messages and solutions to captivate viewers benefiting both business and communities. To have even greater impact, Judges would like to see this grow as an example of mainstream business, but overall current impact is outstanding. A clear winner.”

Business Leader Award

  • John Goldstein, Head of the Sustainable Finance Group, Goldman Sachs

  • José Villalón Sustainability Director at Nutreco

  • Joe Keefe President and CEO of Pax World Funds

  • Agnes de Jesus: Chief Sustainability Officer of First Philippine Holdings

  • Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer of City Developments Limited

  • Denis O’Brien, Chairman of the Digicel Group and Patron of the Digicel Foundation

  • Brian Niccol, Chairman & CEO, Chipotle

  • Ornella Barra, Co-Chief Operating Officer and Chair of the Company's CSR Committee, Walgreen Boots Alliance

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Ornella Barr, co-chief operating officer and chair of the company's CSR committee, Walgreens Boots Alliance

“Ornella is clearly someone that understands the importance of putting sustainability at the heart of the business. It’s clear where her passion lies and where she's been most influential. Very encouraging to see how the business led on integrating the SDGs into its core business strategy. There’s definitely indications that Ornella's work will place Walgreens Boots Alliance as a business that's leading the way. The judges look forward to seeing how the business evolves over the coming years.

WINNER: Brian Niccol, chairman & CEO, Chipotle

“The judges were impressed by Brian’s leadership. Setting out ambitions and benchmarks, which others in the industry would do well to follow. Good to see a CEO leading from the front and taking such an active interest. A great example of someone that understands the importance of sustainable business both to the business and key stakeholder groups. Despite the pandemic, and impact it is having on the sector, it’s great to see they’re still delivering sustainability directly through the core business. 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 catalyst for change within the industry.

Recent recipients of the Responsible Business Honouree Award include: Dame Polly Courtice, John Elkington, Christiana Figueres, Paul Polman and Mike Barry, to name but a few.

Mark Carney

Mark Carney has been the world’s leading driver for diverting the trillions in global finance towards action to combat climate change. Earlier this year, Mark stepped down as the governor of the Bank of England. In his seven-year tenure, Mark has been instrumental in putting climate risk on the agenda for both regulators and the financial sector.

In 2015, in a speech to the Lloyd Insurance market, and in the run-up to the Paris Climate Talks, Mark Carney outlined how climate change could destroy global financial stability in his famous “tragedy of the horizon” talk.

In the same year, as chairman of the Financial Stability Board, Mark Carney established a task force to better understand the financial risks posed by climate change. One of the key outputs from the task force has been the Task Force for Climate-related Disclosures, and subsequently TCFD reporting.

With hundreds of countries and companies committing to net-zero, plus the EU Green Deal and US Green New Deal – climate reporting will be vital in ensuring we have the visibility of this change, and that money moves appropriately. Mark Carney has been very much central to this.

In recent years he has helped launch the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System, the Global Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, and recently a COP26 private finance agenda.

Mark Carney will no doubt continue this ambitious and driven work as the UN special envoy for climate action and finance, plus in his new role spearheading ESG investment at Brookfield Asset Management.

The judges would like to thank Mark Carney for helping put sustainability at the heart of future capital markets and look forward to his continued conviction to help us reshape our economies behind a clean and just ambition.

Lise Kingo

Lise Kingo has long been a champion of the sustainability profession. In her 26 years at Novo Nordisk, she was critical to putting sustainability at the heart of the business. She served as member of the executive management team for over 10 years, where she was instrumental in defining Novo Nordisk's sustainable business strategy.

Her can-do, business-like approach was crucial in her role as CEO & executive director of the United Nations Global Compact, a position she held from 2015 to June 2020. As of 2020, Global Compact was the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, with over 10,000 companies across 173 countries pledged to align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Lise has assiduously highlighted how far behind we are globally on achieving SDG5 on gender equality. Last year the Global Compact launched Target Gender Equality, a gender equality accelerator based on the Women’s Empowerment Principle.

Throughout this five-year period Lise has helped engage business on the critical importance of the SDGs and helped work with other partners to translate these goals into actions for corporations. In 10 years’ time – when the Goals are to be met – a lot of the actions and successes will be attributed to the work that you have lead over the past five years.

Congratulations Lise for all that you’ve achieved and keep up the excellent work!

To access the recordings from the two-day virtual ceremony, and learn more about the finalists click here. The virtual awards website will be accessible until Friday 23rd October.

Reuters Events’ Sustainable Business mission is to help businesses around the globe do the right thing by their customers and the world. We believe this is not only how to guarantee a future for all, but makes good business sense. We serve sustainability, communications, supply chain and ESG with topical and insightful business intelligence and meeting places.
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Main picture credit: Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock
 
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