CSR and Recognising Environmental Excellence

Today sees the launch of the Climate Week Awards - a new accolade which aims to showcase the brightest and the best in eco-innovation. The hope is to then inspire others to follow in the footsteps of the winners.

Here I should declare an interest, I am working for Climate Week, which is a new national occasion to inspire individuals, communities and businesses. It’s first launching in the UK for the first time this year and running from 21st to 27 March before going global next year.

A host of big UK names are supporting the week, as they see the opportunity to illustrate the environmental elements of their CSR strategies. These range from the insurer Aviva, to EDF Energy, Kellogg’s, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), and supermarket Tesco. That such a range of companies are nailing their environmental colours to the mast shows how environment has become such an important issue for business.

The opportunity to recognise environmental innovation and excellence in awards is key as this is partly how we spread the word about what is happening and challenge others to take up the baton. These give CSR consultants and professionals an opportunity to get put their clients or their own companies forward and get recognised for those things of which they are really proud.
It really matters that we shout loudly about those businesses who are making a difference to climate change either through their CSR strategies, or through a new piece of technology.

In the UK at least, there is still a general apathy about the realities of climate change and a reluctance to believe that we need to change our behaviour. Even in the face of today’s news showing scientists’ predictions that Cambridge in the UK and New York City could end up under water due to global warming, there is a worrying lack of action.

Research commissioned by Climate Week found that one in five people in the UK do not act on climate change because they don’t believe others are doing their bit to save the planet. One in ten said they’d do more if their friends, family or neighbours demonstrated a bigger commitment to saving the planet.

Consequently, the power of big brands, like Kellogg’s, backing Climate Week, and demonstrating the steps they are taking, helps debunk the myth that nothing is happening. A national occasion of this sort provides a focus for businesses CSR activities and help draws attention to the need for a change in lifestyle.

The more people see and hear about the actions others are taking to combat climate change, the more likely they are to join in. The same research showed that people were very influenced by their friends, and of those that were 84% didn’t want to be the odd one out. By recognising the great and the good in environmental innovation the more the battle against climate change will become the norm.

Companies with a base in the UK are eligible to enter the Climate Week awards online via www.climateweek.com/awards

Photo credit: Franco Folini