Winners of the internationally renowned Ethical Corporation Responsible Business Awards were revealed at the glamorous Awards ceremony

On Wednesday, 2nd October, 2019, over 300 leading figures in global responsible business gathered at Ethical Corporation’s 10th Annual Responsible Business Awards ceremony held at 8 Northumberland Avenue, London.

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.

Krina Amin, Head of Strategy at Ethical Corporation, said in her welcome speech: “2019 marks the 10th year anniversary for the awards. The level of ambition and impact demonstrated by the Responsible Business Awards never ceases to amaze me, particularly in the new categories on SDG impact and business transformation. All this year’s shortlisted companies are delivering impressive and innovative impacts within their fields. To stand out from hundreds of entries is no mean feat.

“The Responsible Business Awards are the only recognised global awards celebrating the leading strategies from across the globe. Seeing their ambition and impact gives hope that we can meet the challenges and goals that lie ahead. At Ethical Corporation we will look to shine the light on these leading strategies across our events and publishing activities” said Krina.

Ethical Corporation's Krina Amin welcoming in the 10th Responsible Business Awards ceremony.

The chair of the judging committee Christine Diamente, head of brand at Nokia, said: “This year’s Responsible Business Awards judging has been yet another lively session with some new fellow judges joining the cast to choose the very best examples of Responsible Business across all categories. With an impressive amount of submissions, particularly on sustainable innovation, we are very excited by how responsible business is now “successful business” around the globe in terms of impact and scale. Congratulations to our winners and to the nominees. And I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to our judges too for their dedication and commitment to this year’s Responsible Business Awards.”

The ceremony was hosted by the lively and impassioned Lucy Siegle, Presenter for BBC’s The One Show and columnist for The Observer.

The winners were as follows…

Sustainable Innovation Award

• Dubai Electricity & Water Authority – High water usage alert
• Firmenich – Firmenich introduces industry
• Tesco – Wicked kitchen: supporting the shift to more plant-based diets
• Thai Union – Technology for social innovation
• AeroFarms – Feeding the world with sustainable indoor vertical farming
• Huawei – Track AI: a way to diagnose early childhood blindness
• Sime Darby Plantation – The palms for the future: sustainable yield improvement through ‘Genome Select’
• AB InBev – The 100+ accelerator
• Thermo Fisher – Recyclable 100% paper cooler from Thermo Fisher Scientific
• UBQ – The most climate-positive material
• MAX Premium Burgers – Climate-positive burgers

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Thai Union – Technology for social innovation

“Great use of latest digital technology to address key sustainability issues facing the industry; namely, traceability and workers’ rights. Clear influence on public policy and, by extension, wider industry practice.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: AB InBev – The 100+ Accelerator

“The 100+ Accelerator promises to be a very effective platform for scaling innovations from niche through access to finance and skills – a great example of a large organisation using its assets to act as a super-highway to scale breakthrough innovations.”

WINNER: AeroFarms – Feeding the world with sustainable indoor vertical farming

“The judges were impressed by how AeroFarms was using 95% less water than field farmed-food with zero harmful run-off and zero pesticides. This innovation is needed to deliver a clean and sustainable world for all. A clear winner.”

SDG Impact Award – sponsored by Absolute Genius

• Tetra Pak – SDG Impact Award: Climate action
• Hasiru Dala – Decentralised wastepicker franchise model to deliver Total Waste Management Services to bulk waste generators in Bangalore, India
• Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) – Living progress SDGs
• Scottish Power – Better future, quicker
• Bidfood – Food for The Future: Embedding the SDGs in our DNA
• Twinings – Sourced with care
• GSK – Using science to fight malaria
• World Food Programme – Porter Novelli & The UN’s World Food Programme’s Feed our Future campaign
• Pernod Richard – S&R 2030 roadmap: Good times from a good place
• Kimberly-Clark – Toilets change lives
• Hogan Lovells – Hogan Lovells and Barefoot College: Achieving the Global Goals one solar panel at a time
• Mastercard – Inextricably linking our business goal to the SDGs
• Coca-Cola Turkey – My sister project
• Skipton Building Society – Taking action where we have the greatest impact


“HPE used technology in its core business offer to drive positive impact across multiple SDGs. Well done.”

JOINT-WINNERS: Kimberly-Clark – Toilets change lives AND Mastercard Inextricably linking our business goal to the SDGs

“This is a new category and the judges were quite impressed by the contrasting approaches to the SDGs. While Kimberly-Clark focused on one SDG with clear impact, Mastercard tackled multiple SDGs in a larger joined-up approach. Both have excelled in their respective approaches and the judges would like to reward both with the 2019 Award. Congrats to both winners.”

New Start-Up Award

• Longevity – The independent pan-European property advisory firm
• Little Freddie – Little Freddie, sustainable baby & toddler food brand
• Chronos – Chronos Sustainability
• Ethical Profit – Accounting Agency
• Hasiru Dala – Hasiru Dala Innovations – a for-benefit, not-for-loss social enterprise

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Longevity – The independent Pan-European advisory firm

“Excellent to see sustainability in property management. The approach is scalable and business impact seems to be tangible in first years of operation.”

WINNER: Little Freddie, sustainable baby & toddler food brand

“Excellent start-up tackling a full circular approach to the baby industry. Scalability factor is excellent with clear impact in terms of business approach, development, supply chain and ambition.”

Community Impact Award

• Kimberly-Clark – With You She Can: Alliance for period suppliers by U by Kotex®
• Telus – Connecting for Good
• SITA – The SITA Air Transport Community Foundation
• Coca-Cola Turkey – My Sister
• Twinings – Sourced with Care: Twinings community needs assessment
• Foundation Holdings – Business Leader Award
• Aqdar – Smart Awareness
• Pan America Energy – PAE’s SMEs program
• Flex – Work empowerment training programme
• Skipton Building Society – Working to become a dementia-friendly organisation
• Save the Children – Pearson and Save the Children’s Every Child Learning partnership
• CEMEX – Growing an open social innovation platform
• The Moody’s Foundation – Generation Giga Girls (G3) Moody’s data analytic program

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Skipton Building Society – Working to become a dementia friendly organisation

“Relatively small scale, but a good example of how a company can champion a single issue and integrate a social cause through its business. Well done to all involved!”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: TELUS – Connecting for Good community impact

“A great example of an organisation looking to promote social inclusion across many different fronts. A very thoughtful entry with impressive impact data.”

WINNER: Kimberly-Clark – Alliance for period supplies by U by Kotex®

“Kimberly Clark addressed an important problem that is rarely understood, rarely spoken about and has scalability around the world. The judges look forward to seeing how this is scaled outside the US to all developed and developing regions worldwide.”

Plastic Innovation Award

• Sonae MC – Plástico Responsável Continente (Responsible Plastic Continente)
• Domo Chemicals – ECONAMID®, leading the green revolution in polyamides
• SOK Corporation – How many plastic bags do you buy per year?
• Chipotle Mexican Grill – Transforming Trash; upcycling plastic gloves into plastic bags
• The Body Shop – Community trade recycled plastic from India
• Whirlpool Corporation – LifeGate PlasticLess®
• UBQ – The most climate-positive material
• Shaw –Single-use plastics innovation

HIGHLY COMMENDED: UBQ – The most climate-positive material

“A bold new initiative tackling the household waste problem head on by developing a technology that can break down all kinds of non-recyclable waste. A very promising solution to a persistent, tricky problem.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Domo Chemicals – ECONAMID®, leading the green revolution in polyamides

“ECONAMID® looks at the whole value chain not just tech innovation. This approach offers the opportunity to bring about real, scalable change. Well done.”

WINNER: The Body Shop – Community trade recycled plastic from India

“Highlighting the human side of plastic waste, Body Shop’s partnership brings dignity and stable income to wastepickers with a strong potential for expansion. Strong partnership approach. Good use of technology to ensure fairness and efficiency.”

Purpose-Driven Communications Award – sponsored by Studio Republic

Walgreens Boots Alliance at EC's Responsible Business Awards 2019.

• Philips – Creating heart-safe neighbourhoods
• BT – Let’s get drastic about plastic
• Acciona – Sustainability for all
• Firmenich – For Good, Naturally: Taking our legacy of responsible business forward
• Huawei – StorySign, powered by Huawei
• L’Oréal – Ethics Day
• World Food Programme – Porter Novelli & The UN’s World Food Programme’s feed our future campaign
• Walgreens Boots Alliance – Walgreens Boots Alliance – Feel More Like You supports people living with cancer, through empathetic, expert care in their community
• Symrise – Vanilla for Change: Purposeful partnership delivers positive progress

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Walgreens Boots Alliance – Feel More Like You supports people living with cancer, through empathetic, expert care in their community

“A relatively new programme with clear impact on a societal issue where the side effects are rarely tackled in a visible manner. A great way to engage employees to help drive impact and change”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Philips – Creating heart-safe neighbourhoods

“An original community-centred approach to solving a major public issue leveraging the best of partnership ecosystem and communications. The impact is impressive, the project is certainly scalable worldwide with the right type of committed partnership and the approach. An excellent submission.”

WINNER: BT – Let’s get drastic about plastic

“Fantastic employee engagement on a well-known global programme in an engaging, tangibly inspiring manner with clear impact. A worthy winner for purpose-driven communications!”

Business Transformation Award

• Cisco – Cisco’s Circular Advantage
• Fetzer Vineyards – Accelerating to positive net impact
• John Hancock | Vitality – John Hancock Vitality
• Microsoft – Embedding responsible sourcing principles into our business & culture
• Ørsted – A world that runs entirely on green energy
• Hannon Armstrong – The first US public company solely dedicated to investments that reduce carbon emissions or increase resilience to climate change
• Dean’s Beans – Twenty-five years of using business as a vehicle for positive social economic and environmental change
• Firmenich – Leading a new era of transformative growth
• L’Oréal – From the L’Oréal SBWA-Spot methodology … to the SPICE initiative
• McDonald’s – Using our scale for good
• EDC – Launching Export Development Canada’s (EDC) climate change and human rights policies

HIGHLY COMMENDED: McDonald’s – Using our scale for good

“McDonald's evidences a clear framework for how it intends to transform the wider ecosystem of key sectors on which it depends, with strong examples of action. Every company should have a ‘Scale for Good’ strategy.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Fetzer Vineyards – Accelerating to positive net impact

“Great example of triple-bottom-line business model, advanced not only through its own in-house actions but via a collaborative approach with suppliers and policy advocacy.”

WINNER: Ørsted – A world that runs entirely on green energy

“An energy business that has achieved the rare leap of transforming from fossil fuels to be a renewable energy company. May there be more in the field!”

Members of Deans Beans Organisation at the Responsible Business Awards.

Responsible Investment Award

• ABRIS – Abris ESG-scoring model
• PAX – Ellevate global women’s leadership fund
• Hannon Armstrong – Investing in climate change solutions
• DWS – Global commercial microfinance consortium II
• Mastercard – Matercard impact fund
• QBE – Premiums4Good
• Chronos (BBFAW) – Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Pax – Ellevate global women’s leadership fund

“Pax Ellevate invests in companies that value women’s leadership, providing a strong signal that investors are increasingly keen to drive action on issues such as gender pay gaps and board diversity. A welcome stand for women’s leadership.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Chronos – Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare

“By benchmarking corporate performance on animal welfare, BBFAW plays a vital role in empowering investors to make decisions in line with the rapidly growing public appetite for decent treatment of farm animals. It’s helped shift the needle significantly on this increasingly salient issue.”

WINNER: Hannon Armstrong – Investing in climate change solutions

“Hannon Armstrong are the American pioneers of climate-friendly investment. The first US-public company to be solely dedicated to investing in carbon reduction and climate resilience, they are setting down a marker for others to follow – and achieving decent returns as they do so.”

Business Leader of the Year Award

• Nordea Bank – Sasja Beslik
• Firmenich – Gilbert Ghostine
• Longevity Partners – Etienne Cadestin
• Fair Trade USA – Paul Rice
• Dean’s Beans Organisation – Dean Cycon
• Hannon Armstrong – Jeffrey Eckel
• ReNew Power – Sumant Sinha
• L’Oréal – Jean-Paul Agon
• Melco Resorts & Entertainment – Lawrence Ho
• S&D Coffee & Tea – Ron Hinson
• CEMEX – Martha Herrera
• Santander Brasil – Sergio Rial

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Dean Cycon – Dean’s Beans Organisation

“’Buy high, sell low’ resoundingly signals a clear leader who wants to bring coffee consumers on a new way of experiencing coffee as a social, economic and environment movement, rather than just food. Dean's approach to business is innovative, scalable with direct impact around the world. An inspiring example of leadership.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Gilbert Ghostine – Firmenich

“No rock has been left unturned by Gilbert Ghostine in his quest to make sustainability his company strategy, go-to-market and internal business culture. Very impressive, clear impact recognised by the CDP and industry leaders in the field. His achievements are 100% scalable and indicate a new innovative approach to business.”

WINNER: Paul Rice – Fair Trade USA

“As founder of Fair Trade USA, Paul Rice has championed the cause of farmers and workers in the Global South (and now in the US as well) for decades – generating close to $500 million for workers and farmers in the process. His disruptive thinking and restless ambition for the Fair Trade movement stands out as an inspiration for business leaders across all sectors.”

Partnerships of the Year Award

Symrise's Vanilla for Change partnership was up for the Partnerships of the Year Award.

• ABN AMRO – Joining forces to identify human trafficking
• John Hancock | Vitality – John Hancock Vitality and Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
• Fairphone – Joint forces to tackle child labour: from gold mine to electronics
• Walgreens Boots Alliance – Boots UK and Macmillan cancer support partnership
• Think Forward Initiative
• Unreasonable Impact (Barclays)
• Skipton Building Society – Skipton building society and AccessAble
• Just Eat – Just Eat and Notpla: reducing plastic usage in the takeaway industry
• Symrise – Vanilla for Change: Purposeful partnership delivers positive progress
• Microsoft – Microsoft and Pact Partnership to eradicate child labour in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
• Ship Recycling Initiative – Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative
• NextWave – NextWave Plastics
• The Body Shop – Community trade plastics from India

HIGHLY COMMENDED: ABN AMRO – Joining forces to identify human trafficking

“Follow the money – while it is still early days, this project is very scalable in the financial industry and an easy sell once the systems are in place. Very exciting initiative. Judges will keep a close eye on its progress.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative

“An ambitious multi-stakeholder initiative wielding transparency as a market-driven tool to drive change in a hugely important industry. Bravo!”

SPECIAL MENTION: Just Eat and Notpla: Reducing plastic usage in the takeaway industry

“An excellent example of repurposing in this challenging sector.”

WINNER: Fairphone – Joint forces to tackle child labour: from gold mine to electronics

“A brave, determined and bold move forward to tackle a very challenging topic. An approach that many others could follow and, in turn, deliver sizable change.”

Clean Energy Award

• Acciona – Science-based emission reductions combined with offsetting for a carbon neutral company / Acciona Mobility
• AB InBev – Budweiser renewable electricity announcement with Lightsource BP
• Lundin Mining – Clean energy transition initiatives
• DSM – DSM’s clean energy transition
• Resolute Forest Products – Resolute: Responsibly managing our carbon footprint
• T-Mobile – T-Mobile renewable projects and strategy
• Nissan Motor Company – Grid integration as a way to allow every vehicle to be electric: Vehicle to Grid
• Ingersoll Rand – Sustainability becomes integral to global business strategy
• Maersk – Maersk’s Zero Carbon 2050 target
• Kimberly-Clark – Renewable energy initiative
• Santander – CDC Solar: Clean energy for the tomorrow we want today

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Nissan Motor Company – Grid integration as a way to allow every vehicle to be electric: Vehicle to Grid

“This is a project that goes to the next level via a disruptive business mode. They’ve adopted an innovative approach to involve consumers in the energy transition.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: DSM’s Clean Energy Transition

“The Responsible Business of the Year is not resting on its laurels and continues to strive to raise the bar. DSM have set ambitious clean energy targets, and these run throughout the business. Well done.”

WINNER: Maersk’s Zero Carbon 2050 target

“Ocean shipping is notoriously hard to decarbonise. Maersk has set the standard with its own robust carbon target and is working in collaboration across the sector to help the maritime freight industry as a whole take a more ambitious and responsible stance on its environmental impact. An excellent example of a company leading from the front.”

Reporting and Transparency Award

• CEMEX – Understanding the net value we create for society
• Maersk – A.P. Moller: Maersk Sustainability Report 2018
• Intel – Creating value through transparency
• Shell – Shell Sustainability Report 2018
• SOK Corporation – Radical transparency for human rights due diligence
• ABN AMRO – ABN AMRO Impact Report 2018
• Ship Recycling Initiative – Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative
• Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) – Living Progress Report
• Citi – Citizenship at Citi
• Merck – Merck Corporate Responsibility Report 2018

HIGHLY COMMENDED: HPE Living Progress Report

“HPE's report, with accompanying website, provides a clear overview of its sustainability strategy and actions, aided by a separate summary report for the hard data. Judges were impressed with HPE's willingness to provide details of its suppliers and their sustainability progress.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Intel – Creating value through transparency

“In addition to its robust measurement framework, Intel's reporting approach stands out for the flexibility of its format. Not only does the physical report comes in different lengths (from 4 to 16 to 64 pages), but information is provided in various web-based versions that answer to stakeholder's demand for personalised information that is easy to access.”

WINNER: Maersk – A.P. Moller: Maersk Sustainability Report 2018

“A short, impactful report with clear accounting principles making this a winning submission. Bravo.”

Diversity and Inclusion Award

• Firmenich – Thriving on difference!
• Lundin Mining – Celebrating inclusion and diversity
• Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) – Leading diversity through an inclusive culture
• Shaw – The Shaw Way: A business and talent strategy built on a foundation of diversity and inclusion

HIGHLY COMMENDED: HPE – Leading diversity through an inclusive culture

“Starting with a strong commitment from the top, HPE is moving beyond cultural, gender diversity to create a more inclusive economy through its supplier diversity program with industry-leading benefits.”

WINNER: Firmenich – Thriving on difference!

“A well-rounded approach to diversity embedded in the ethos of the company that is scalable to any industry worldwide. Impact is impressive. The judges look forward to seeing greater innovation in partnerships in the coming years.”

Diverstiy and Inclusion winners Firmenich.

Circular Innovation Award

• GSUK – GSUK and our circular innovation business
• AB InBev – Circular economy for food: Upcycling brewer’s grains
• Little Freddie – Little Freddie & Enval Pouch recycling scheme
• OMV – ReOil: Circular economy of oil2plastic2oil
• Brambles – Brambles’ circular economy
• Flex – Sinctronics, a Flex founded company, creating a circular economy
• AeroFarms – Feeding the world with closed-loop, high-tech indoor vertical farming
• Kimberly-Clark – The right to recycle programme
• UBQ – The most climate-positive material
• Shaw – Safe and circular flooring products
• Mondi – Paper where possible, plastic when useful: Sustainability be design

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Brambles' circular economy

“Brambles has transformed the global logistics industry by offering a circular alternative with tangible positive impact on the environment. Given its multi-country and multi-regional spread, it has scored highest in terms of scalability showing the success of its model.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Mondi – Paper where possible, plastic when useful: Sustainability by design

“Very innovative, completely scalable with tangible impact on plastics and how household goods can be transformed to be 100% recyclable. This is a highly impressive submission.”

WINNER: Flex – Sinctronics, a Flex Founded Company, Creating a Circular Economy

“100% circular innovation that takes e-waste and packaging waste as a whole, separating each material individually and transforming into new products. The project is perfectly scalable around the world, has excellent endorsement from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation with zero waste impact. A winning submission.”

Responsible Supply Chain Award

• CottonConnect – Transforming the world’s cotton, for good, with ultimate transparency
• Thai Union – Responsible sourcing
• Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) – Supply chain responsibility
• Intel – Advancing supply chain responsibility
• WWF – WWF/ Marks & Spencer better cotton initiative
• CHEP – Collaborative transport solutions
• Ship Recycling Initiative – Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative
• Google – Responsible Supply Chain Report 2018

HIGHLY COMMENDED: CottonConnect – Transforming the world’s cotton, for good, with ultimate transparency

“This submission supports cotton growers and their families in producing more sustainable crop in South Asia and China. Well done. The judges look forward to continued success inspiring similar initiative for this industry.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: HPE – Supply Chain Responsibility

“HPE is cascading science-based targets down their supply chain among their suppliers. This is critical for real change across the industry. Well done.”

WINNER: Intel Corporation – Advancing Supply Chain Responsibility

“Ground-breaking work on human rights in the supply chain particularly in tackling and abolishing recruitment fees. This work truly reflects a supply chain with sustainability at its core.”

Responsible Business Honouree Award

Mike Barry of M&S and Paul Polman with their Responsible Business Honouree Awards.

For the 2019 Awards Ethical Corporation revamped its Lifetime Achievement Award and renamed it the Responsible Business Honouree Award. The 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.

Mike Barry

"During his 14 years at Marks & Spencer, Mike Barry has been an undisputed leader in sustainability. He developed the ‘Plan A’ strategy, driving huge cuts in emissions, down 44% since 2007 and offsetting the remainder, the achievement of zero-waste to landfill, responsible sourcing, particularly in soy, palm oil and cotton, with M&S this year having 100% sustainable cotton. M&S has also topped the leader board for human rights in the Corporate and Human Rights Benchmark. For a relatively small retailer, M&S has had a huge impact globally. Congrats Mike!"

Paul Polman

Paul Polman has done more than any other businessman to bring sustainability to the global business agenda. Under his leadership, Unilever developed an ambitious vision to decouple growth from its environmental footprint, and to increase its positive social impact.

The fact that the Sustainable Livings brands have grown faster than the rest of Unilever’s brands, is always cited as proof that this approach makes business sense.

Polman has also been a leading figure on the world stage, instrumental in bringing business to the table in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, and taking personal leadership on pushing consumer goods companies to commit to ambitious action to remove deforestation. He may have left Unilever but is still active eradicating inequality and stemming climate change through a new organisation called Imagine.

The awards were sponsored by Absolute Genius and Studio Republic.
Absolute Genius partners with leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers to develop, grow and digitally transform organisations to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the 17 global goals that challenge the world to think differently about environmental, social and governance impact. We believe in creating a legacy by solving the world’s greatest challenges whilst growing economic value for shareholders, so the organisations we work with stand the test of time and are leaders in their field for generations to come. Our SDG score provides a unique overview of your organisations progress against the Sustainable Development Goals and our team of experts and partners help to lead the way towards long term company sustainability, investment and impact.
Studio Republic is a sustainable digital agency based in Winchester, here to future-proof your success. We’re creative, we're credible and we care.


All images: Jennifer Moyes Photography
Responsible Business Awards 2019  Lucy Siegle  Christine Diamente  AeroFarms  Kimberley-Clark  The Body Shop  BT  Orsted  Mike Barry  Paul Polman  Hannon Armstrong  Paul Rice  Fairphone  Maersk  Firmenich  Flex  Intel 

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