Responsible Business of the Year 2018

*Please note, entries to the Responsible Business Awards have now closed. The announcement of the Responsible Business Awards Longlist will be made during Responsible Business Week on 23 April.​

For pioneering businesses that have integrated sustainability across their business and are demonstrating commercial success as a result. 

A responsible business, by creating healthy communities and a healthy environment, achieves long-term financial value.

Successful companies in this category will be showing purposeful leadership and aiming to be a force for good. They will be using their relative scale and core business strengths within their major markets to address some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges. The business will take an inclusive, two-way approach to customer experience and communications. It will leverage its leadership position, including its membership of Business in the Community, to influence others to address key issues ranging from youth unemployment and skills shortages, to depletion of natural resources and the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Previous winners include: Scottish Power, BT, The Co-operative Group, BHP Billiton, M&S, United Utilities, Unilever, Wates, Jaguar Land Rover, National Grid, Fujitsu, Veolia and our current Responsible Business of the Year 2017, Anglian Water.

Becoming Business in the Community’s Responsible Business of the Year offers unique opportunities both for the winning company, as well as the potential to grow the movement working alongside Business in the Community. This may include profile raising opportunities in the form of sponsorship of events, however your entry is not conditional on taking up sponsorship of the Gala Dinner.


  • This category is open exclusively to members of Business in the Community.
  • The application should focus on the organisation’s core business, and to this end, an entry cannot be made by a strategic business unit.
  • Businesses of any size can enter and will have an equal chance of winning, as entries will be assessed against the scoring guide and not against each other. The judging panel may decide to award a small business winner in parallel to a large category winner.


  • Approach to responsible business underpinned by purpose and values

A responsible business understands and articulates its purpose, conveying why the business exists and the impact it wants to have on the world. This must be used to guide and inform commercial strategy, product range, innovation, new ways of working and workplace behaviours. The company’s purpose must be underpinned by its values, which determine the boundaries within which the business operates and creates a culture of responsibility.

  • Governance and Transparency

The leaders of a responsible business are inclusive and accountable, balancing short-term pressures with longer term resilience. Checks and balances are robust and strategy and operations are transparent. Responsible businesses use reporting to make decisions that rest on sound data to drive change and build trust.

  • Stakeholder engagement and collaboration

A responsible business identifies and considers all stakeholders and understands how its operations affect them, in order to find solutions that maximise value for all. Businesses actively identify opportunities to collaborate with a range of stakeholders to find solutions to environmental and social challenges.

  • Supply Chain

A responsible business maintains transparency and expectations of responsible business practices across the supply chain. It goes beyond basic risk management and compliance and drives change on the issues where the business has the most impact, fostering social and environmental sustainability.

  • Products and Services

A responsible business’ products and services deliver social and environmental value while creating economic growth. A responsible business will understand the different impacts of products and services throughout their whole lifecycle, from research and development to disposal. A responsible business will ensure sales practices are ethical and will engage customers and clients in responsible behaviour.

  • Digital Transformation

A responsible business anticipates the unintended consequences of digital transformation and drives smart forms of economic growth on a finite planet, reducing poverty and inequalities, and improving lives.

For help completing your entry please download the guidance document and scoring guide.

Contact details

For more details, please contact the category expert Maria-Jose Subiela, Head of Benchmarks, Insights and Innovation:

Deadline: 17:00 GMT on Friday 9 March 2018

The application process

Applicants are asked to complete the online application form, which is divided into three parts:

I. Company details (non-scored section). This section provides assessors with a good understanding of the makeup of the business. We also ask for a quote from your CEO to help assessors understand the support provided from the top of the organisation.

II. “Why should your business be Business in the Community's Responsible Business of the Year?” In no more than 1,500 words, your answer to this question should address the criteria below, with a balanced view of past achievements and future commitment to action. Please do not include any video evidence (links/URLs) in this section. This statement should be written with the expectation that it will be published on the Business in the Community website if your company is recognised in our Awards Longlist. This statement should reflect the Chief Executive’s (or equivalent) position on being a responsible business.

III. Links and evidence. Applicants can include a list of six relevant URL links to supporting evidence in the public domain. Please specify the purpose of including the link, and the relevant pages of any documents/ timeframe within a video to ensure the panels review the most relevant supporting evidence, as assessors only have a limited amount of time to review applications on the assessment day.

The assessment stage

All eligible entries will go forward to a panel of external assessors and senior Business in the Community staff to select the Awards Longlist, as well as the top-scoring finalist companies. This panel will use the scoring guidance included at the end of this document and will take account of the evidence provided in the application form and the URLs. Please note that if you provide lengthy documents and reports, the assessors will be focusing predominantly on the most relevant pages so please ensure that you make it clear which sections support your application. The award results will be revealed to every entrant mid-April, and we will publicly announce the Awards Longlist including the finalists during Responsible Business Week in the Financial Times Special report: Responsible Business. A summary of the finalist entries will be published on the Business in the Community website.

The judging stage

Finalists will be invited to present to an independent panel of business leaders chaired by Peter Simpson, CEO Anglian Water, our Responsible Business of the Year 2017, in central London. The finalists will be asked to present:

  • How responsible business and higher purpose are integrated into their core strategy, products and services

  • How they take practical action to address responsible business issues publicly

  • Their future strategy to increase trust in business

  • How the business contributes to thought leadership

  • How they propose to partner with BITC to help build the wider movement of responsible business.

Based on these criteria, the judging panel will select Business in the Community's Responsible Business 2018.

In association with our media partner The Financial Times.


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