More than 500 business leaders gathered for a glittering gala dinner to celebrate business as a force for good at the Responsible Business Awards in Northern Ireland on Thursday 1 June.
Gathering at Belfast Waterfront Hall, hundreds came to see Northern Ireland’s leading responsible companies recognised for their outstanding contributions to their people, the planet and the places where they operate.
George Best Belfast City Airport picked up the top award on the night – NI Responsible Company of the Year. The event, which is run by Business in the Community, has become one of the most prestigious awards ceremonies in the Northern Ireland business calendar.
Sponsored by Electric Ireland, supported by JP Corry, and in association with Ulster Business Magazine, the annual awards celebrate firms that are making a difference by taking practical action to address pressing social and environmental issues – transforming communities and changing lives. The winners were:
- NI Responsible Company of the Year, sponsored by Diageo – George Best Belfast City Airport
- Building Stronger Communities, sponsored by Department for Communities – Ulster Bank
- Diversity and Inclusion Award, sponsored by BT – Queen’s University Belfast
- Education Award, sponsored by Allen & Overy – Farrans Construction
- Employability Champion, sponsored by Belfast Harbour – Marks & Spencer
- Environmental Leadership, sponsored by Arthur Cox – Lagan Construction Group
- Marketplace Leadership, sponsored by Fujitsu – AES UK & Ireland (Big Business); Suki Tea (Small Business)
- One-to-Watch, sponsored by Danske Bank – Belfast International Airport
- Wellbeing at Work, sponsored by Larne Port – Queen’s University Belfast
Roy Adair CBE, Chair, Business in the Community NI and Chief Executive, Belfast Harbour said: “The Responsible Business Awards are a valuable opportunity to showcase and share responsible business practices, but also to celebrate the great things that Northern Ireland businesses are doing throughout the year. With award entries up 20 per cent on last year, the judges had a tough time on their hands deciding the winners – the standard for entries was truly exceptional.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate each and every one of our winners, and those who were shortlisted, for leading the way in responsible business practice. I hope that the achievements of the winning companies will inspire others to put responsible business at the heart of everything they do.”
The keynote speaker, mental health champion and former professional footballer, Clarke Carlisle, spoke to the audience about mental health issues and his own experiences that lead to him to attempt suicide. Mr Carlisle now runs a mental health charity, The Clarke Carlisle Foundation for Dual Diagnosis, which seeks to help raise awareness of mental health issues co-occurring with drug or alcohol misuse. All proceeds raised from the raffle on the evening went to local mental health charity Mindwise.
Hosted by Barra Best and Tara Mills, guests at the black-tie event enjoyed an impressive display of local talent with a performance by Ulster Youth Orchestra, and music from over 100 children from four local schools before dinner. Following the meal, guests were treated to a spectacular display of shadow art by Ukrainian artists Fireflies Verba.