#Award: …Guardian Sustainable Business Awards 2016; categories and criteria

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Whether you are a big multinational, tiny social enterprise or something in between, the judges will be looking for those genuinely advancing sustainable business

As they read your entry, the judges will be asking:

  • How effectively does the project or initiative meet the specific criteria of the category entered?
  • Is there evidence of measurable, sustainable change as a result of the project?
  • Does the project go above and beyond standard sustainability practice?
  • What were the challenges the project had to overcome?

This year’s categories are as follows:

Bold move

Sometimes it takes a bold move from one company to push the boundaries on sustainability. This award will recognise organisations that can point to one truly risky, groundbreaking step they have taken to advance sustainability which could pave the way for other businesses.

Built environment

An award for innovative redevelopments or new-build projects that are at the leading-edge of approaches to reducing the built environment’s negative environmental impacts and raising its positive social impacts.

Carbon and energy management

Reducing a companies’ emissions is key to meeting carbon reduction targets. This is an award for initiatives that take a holistic approach to measuring, managing and reducing emissions.

Collaboration

An award for a project that breaks down traditional barriers. We are looking for examples of several partners working together in non-traditional ways towards a goal that delivers truly sustainable outcomes.

Communicating sustainability

Inspiring action on sustainability issues is key. We’re looking for standout examples of campaigns that have engaged and entertained, eliciting action and leading to tangible shifts in behaviour.

Diversity and inclusion

It is critical that companies are a reflection of the society in which they operate and a strong workforce is a diverse one. This award recognises an organisation’s understanding that innovation and success come through including different perspectives and experiences. We are looking for organisations which prioritise diversity, be it around race, gender, culture, sexuality, ability, age or other aspects either within their own workforces or as part of external projects.

Finance for good

Finance feeds into the world we are building and good financial models are a very important tool in making it more sustainable. This award is for an organisation that has shown leadership by developing financial models or tools that produce social, environmental and business benefits.

Net positive

It is no longer enough to do less bad. Progressive businesses are seeking ways to be regenerative in their activity. This award is for those businesses that are taking tangible steps towards making a net positive contribution to communities, society and the environment.

Social impact

Business has huge potential to contribute positively to society. This award is for a project or initiative that seeks to solve a challenging social issue while simultaneously creating shared value for the business.

Startup of the year

A startup is a company set up to solve a particular problem or challenge. They are companies associated with innovation, impact and future thinking. This award celebrates early stage companies with sustainability at their heart and an idea with the potential to scale up. To be eligible, companies must have started to trade between 1 January 2011 and 31 July 2015.

Supply chain

Global supply chains are vast and complex. This award is for projects that embed respect for human, economic and environmental rights across a business or product’s supply chain.

Waste

From circular principles applied to design, to projects achieving zero waste and remanufacturing initiatives, rethinking waste is vital. This award is for projects or products that are at the cutting edge of waste innovation.

Water

Water sustainability will be one of the defining challenges of our time. This award will recognise an organisation that can demonstrate its commitment to water sustainability through projects, technologies, designs or policies that improve water availability, access or quality.

Special awards: nominated by readers and voted for by the public

Leader of the year

An award voted for by Guardian Sustainable Business readers to reward a business leader who has shown dedication and bravery in progressing the sustainable business agenda, both within their own organisation and in the sector as a whole.

Unsung hero of the year

The credit for sustainability initiatives tends to go to high profile senior executives but the hard graft involved in turning a vision into reality often goes unnoticed. The unsung hero of the year award is for an employee in the engine room of sustainability who has gone beyond the call of duty to drive change in their organisation.

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