This year’s Responsible Business Awards Gala Dinner was in partnership with Anglian Water, Responsible Business of the Year 2017, and was hosted by Sir Lenny Henry. Business Minister Andrew Griffiths was a special guest at the Gala and took part in a lively Q&A session with our Responsible Business 2018 Young Presenters.
The Awards Gala Dinner celebrated and championed the hundreds of inspiring businesses who entered the awards and who make a difference by taking action to build more inclusive workplaces, stronger communities and address global challenges.
Lloyds Banking Group was announced as Responsible Business of the Year for its commitment to tackling social and environmental issues through its Helping Britain Prosper plan. Among many achievements, they have made great progress against their target to train 1.8 million individuals, businesses and charities in digital skills by 2020, having trained more than 708,000 in 2017. The bank has also promoted awareness of the link between mental health and money problems, lent £13 billion to first-time homebuyers, supported more than 124,000 start-up businesses and created more than 1,200 new apprenticeship positions in the Group.
The small Responsible Business of the Year went to Salary Finance, a social business that provides affordable loans and credit for people struggling with debt or low income. Since 2016, over 4,000 people have taken out loans totalling £11.8 million. This resulted in borrowers saving almost £3 million in interest payments and helping them to get out of debt 6 to 12 months sooner.
Other winners included Aviva, who won the Ageing Workforce Award for its commitment to ensuring one million more older people are in the workforce by 2022. By teaming up with charities and organisations to develop a pioneering carers policy, mid-career MOTs and ambitious recruitment campaigns, the firm is attracting and retaining older workers, this year increasing the number of over 50’s in its own workforce by a third.
The Fujitsu Digital Innovation Award was won by Northumbrian Water Group who introduced a raft of digital data tools to reduce the impact of flooding on homes and communities after more than 3,000 of its customers experienced disruption from flooding in 2016.
Arup was named as winner of the UPS International Disaster Relief and Resilience Award for the technical infrastructure expertise for buildings that they donated to the disaster response in the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The business helped rebuild 16 existing neighbourhoods and relocate families living in six camps. Globally, the business has up to 100 staff offering volunteering at any one time and has 13,000 specialists that can be made available for disaster relief operations.
Other international winners include Mondelez International who won The Unilever Global Development Award. The food manufacturer empowers cocoa farmers across the world to increase productivity and income to ensure the global supply chain of cocoa is sustainable. The programme aims to transform the livelihoods and living conditions of more than 200,000 cocoa farmers and one million people in cocoa-farming communities between now and 2022. The company is investing $400m and will work in partnership with those on the ground in Ghana, Indonesia, Cote d'Ivoire, Dominican Republic, India and Brazil.
“ We know they will now use this award to inspire and teach others. They do Britain plc proud with their leadership on the responsible business agenda ”
Digital Champions Network founders revealed
Alongside the awards, nine founding members of the Digital Champions Network were announced at the Gala as the next stage of the Brave New World programme, focused on catalysing the responsible digital agenda in the UK. The founding members are: Accenture, Anglian Water, ARM, Aviva, Barclays, Fujitsu, PwC, Rolls-Royce and Unipart. The Champions Network, supported by Accenture, asks business to commit to priorities and actions which ensure an inclusive digital revolution that serves all. These are:
- Protect, support and empower customers by simplifying data practices; building inclusive digital access; and enabling more informed customer choices
- Embrace the changing nature of work by preparing employees with digital skills; anticipate automation with new roles; extending employer responsibility for the growing ‘gig’ economy workforce
- Deliver innovative products and services that serve society by designing technology with purpose; promoting sustainable consumption and partnering cross industry to design and scale solutions that benefit society
- Drive a transparent, inclusive and productive value chain by empowering suppliers with digital solutions and training; minimising the environmental impact of operations; using technology to address corruption, exploitation and environmental harm
Amanda Mackenzie, Chief Executive,Business in the Community, said: “Huge congratulations to all the winners on their success in this year’s Responsible Business Awards. From Lloyds promoting awareness of the link between mental health and money problems, to Arup helping to rebuild neighbourhoods and relocate families after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, all our award winners are putting responsible business practices at the core of their organisations and are helping our mission to create healthy communities with successful businesses at their heart. We know they will now use this award to inspire and teach others. They do Britain plc proud with their leadership on the responsible business agenda.
“The nine founding members of The Digital Champions Network are leading businesses who are showing that digital responsibility is now essential to being a responsible business in the UK.”