Awards Categories, Process & Criteria

The Responsible Business Awards in Northern Ireland are the most prestigious and respected awards championing responsible business.

On this page you’ll find key dates and detailed information on each category, including the questions, word counts and marks available in each section.

Please note the following:

  • Making an entry is completely free of charge
  • You can enter as many categories as you like – criteria for all categories is further down this page
  • You can enter with different projects/initiatives/activities in the same category
  • Your entry might be relevant for more than one category – you can enter the same project/initiative/activity across as many relevant categories as you like 

SCORING

Online entries are worth 50 marks out of a total of 100. If your company is a finalist and moves to the next stage, the remaining 50 marks can be achieved at the judging panels, which will be held on the 25 and 26 June 2024. The date of the judging panels will be different for each category and will be confirmed following the announcement of the finalists. At the judging panels, finalists will present their entry in-person to three non-BITC judges.

We will celebrate and announce the winners of the 2024 Awards at a special gala event at the ICC Waterfront Hall on 5 September 2024. We look forward to receiving your entries and seeing you at the Awards event later in the year.

AWARDS KEY DATES

USING THE AWARDS ENTRY PLATFORM – JUDGIFY – TO MAKE YOUR SUBMISSION

Each person who wishes to submit an entry on behalf of their company should register on Judgify, the Awards entry platform, which will open for entries on 1 February. Following registration, you will be able to choose the category or categories you wish to enter via the dropdown menu. You can start and then save the entry form to be completed at a later date, and edit your entries (even the submitted ones) until the final Awards closing date 5:00 PM on 26 April 2024. You must officially submit the entry before the deadline to move on to the next stage of the process. If you are already registered on the platform you won’t need to do so again.

CATEGORIES, QUESTIONS, WORD COUNTS AND SCORING

Entry questions, word limits and marks available in each category are outlined below. As well as the scored questions, you will be asked to provide a brief description of your organisation (200 words – no marks) to set the context for the judges.  You can also be able to submit up to five supporting images along with your submission – although this is not necessary.  The following file type(s) are allowed: jpg, jpeg, png. File size must be smaller than 50 MB.

SHORTLISTING AND JUDGING

After the entry period closes, all entries will go through a shortlisting process to decide on the finalists. All finalist organisations will go through to the next two stages of judging, carried out by three judges external to Business in the Community. These judges will score online entries out of 50 and meet all finalists at the in-person judging panels at Innovation Factory, Belfast, to award the remaining marks – a maximum of 50. If shortlisted, you will be allocated a 30-minute interview slot and are asked to give a five-minute verbal presentation to the judges and answer some questions. This is an opportunity for entrants to bring their entry to life! Two people from finalist organisation can attend the interview panel and presentation slides/flip charts etc are not allowed.

If you have any questions about the Awards entry and judging process, please contact suzi.mcilwain@bitcni.org.uk.

Good luck!

 

AWARD CATEGORIES CRITERIA

Click on a category below to see the information needed for your submission, word limits, and marks available in each section.

Please remember – you will also be asked to provide a brief description of your organisation (200 words – no marks) to set the context for the judges.  You are also able to submit up to five supporting images along with your submission, although this is not necessary.

 

NI Responsible Company of the Year

Climate Action

Collaborative Action

Diversity & Inclusion

Employer of Choice

Impact in your Community

Nature & Biodiversity *NEW*

One-to-Watch

Responsible Business Ambassador

Responsible Product/Service

Responsible Technology Innovation

Skills & Education *NEW*

Wellbeing at Work

 



For the company that best demonstrates a pioneering approach to responsible business,with an established commitment to making positive impacts across its people, the planet and the places where it operates.

Unlike the other twelve categories in the Responsible Business Awards in NI, this top Award category is open ONLY to private sector companies that are members of Business in the Community in Northern Ireland and that have achieved CORE – The Standard for Responsible Business.

From your CORE submission, we already know how well you are doing in terms of leadership & governance and stakeholder engagement and what policies and processes you have in place. In this supplementary application, we want to know more about what you are doing to encourage other companies to embrace the benefits of responsible business and how you are being innovative in your approach to responsible business. We are also particularly interested in the impact of your activities on your business and on wider society. There are 50 marks available in total, as outlined below.

QUESTIONS AND SCORING

ADVOCACY & LEGACY | Word limit: 600 words, 20 marks available

Advocacy

  • What have you done to actively encourage responsible business or sustainability within your customer base and how is this evaluated?
  • Have you made efforts to educate and upskill your supply chain to help them embrace responsible business?
  • Do you support other groups or organisations with a social purpose, thus enabling and encouraging wider societal benefit?
  • What efforts do you make to share your commitment to responsible business and success in this arena with your peers and the wider business community, thus spreading good practice?

Legacy

  • Demonstrate your longevity of both approach to responsible business and the impact of your actions. You may show this by an overarching approach to People, Planet and Place; or you may choose to focus on one specific area.

BUSINESS AND SOCIETY IMPACT | Word limit: 750 words, 30 marks available

In this section, we want to know about the positive impact your sustained commitment to responsible business has had on the business, its people, the places where it operates, and the planet.

  • How has the company derived benefits as a result of its commitment to responsible business, including (as appropriate): financial benefits, market share, people development, company learning, product and process innovation, creativity; employee involvement and motivation and any additional benefits?
  • How has the company positively impacted on the planet, its employees and the places where it operates as well as on wider society through its responsible business strategy and activities? This may include, improvements in environmental impacts, enhanced wellbeing of employees, learning and personal development, improved community resilience and sustainability or more specific impacts on an issue or cause and any additional benefits.
  • Explain how you have consulted with partners and other stakeholders in the development of your initiatives over time to ensure they are impactful and adding value.

Click here to start your entry. 


For the organisation that best demonstrates a significant commitment and contribution to climate action in Northern Ireland.

You should focus on a specific climate action project/initiative or on a range of activities which represent your organisation’s overall approach to climate action.

You should convey the importance of this work to the organisation, what motivates you to take action, and emphasise any aspects you consider to be particularly innovative or compelling. Describe how this project relates to the way the organisation manages its approach to climate action, particularly in relation to your local business activity and its impacts.

Your project/initiative may have been running for a number of years, however, to be eligible for this Award, elements of it must have taken place in 2023 and/or 2024. Responsible business examples in your submission must demonstrate how you have gone above and beyond your core business purpose. The submission should not be a general overview of your organisation’s environmental/climate strategy.

QUESTIONS AND SCORING

SECTION 1 | OVERVIEW | Word limit: 1,200 words, 30 marks available

  • Leadership – how senior leaders have been involved in the project/initiative
  • Strategy – Explain how your project/initiative relates to the organisation’s business strategy and wider goals and values, and what targets you set
  • Activities and processes – Outline the actions and activities that have been undertaken as part of the project/initiative, resources used and an indication of timescale. Please share how you manage, evaluate and report on this project effectively.
  • Stakeholder engagement – with whom have you engaged and how have you involved them in the project/initiative?

SECTION 2 | IMPACT | Word limit: 750 words, 20 marks available

  • Tell us how you measured success and explain how your project/initiative has benefitted your business, wider society and/or the environment
  • This section should be supported by data (qualitative and/or quantitative)

Click here to read about 2023 winner, Danske Bank.

Click here to start your entry. 


For the organisation that best demonstrates how it has maximised its positive impacts by going beyond its core business activities to collaborate with or support another organisation/s, business, or group, to make a greater positive impact on society and/or the environment.

In this category, we want to hear from organisations that have identified a social or environmental need and joined forces with and/or inspired and supported another/others to drive positive change.

This organisation will have demonstrated responsible business leadership throughout its value chain or through working effectively with a partner/partners. The actions and activities outlined in your entry may have been supported financially, but this is not a pre-requisite.

We are particularly interested in learning more about how the work of the collaborating parties complements each other to have a greater impact on the issue/s being addressed.

Your project/initiative may have been running for a number of years, however, to be eligible for this Award, elements of it must have taken place in 2023 and/or 2024. Responsible business examples in your submission must demonstrate how you have gone above and beyond your core business purpose.

QUESTIONS AND SCORING

SECTION 1 | OVERVIEW | Word limit: 1,200 words, 30 marks available

  • Leadership – how senior leaders have been involved in the project/initiative
  • Strategy – Explain how your project/initiative relates to the organisation’s business strategy and wider goals and values, and what targets you set
  • Activities and processes – Outline the actions and activities that have been undertaken as part of the project/initiative, resources used and an indication of timescale. Please share how you manage, evaluate and report on this project effectively
  • Stakeholder engagement – with whom have you engaged and how have you involved them in the project/initiative
  • Championing responsible business – how your project or initiative has been, or could be, used to inspire others

SECTION 2 | IMPACT | Word limit: 750 words, 20 marks available

  • Tell us how you measured success and explain how your project/initiative has benefitted your business, wider society and/or the environment
  • This section should be supported by data (qualitative and/or quantitative)

Click here to read about 2023 winner, Kier.

Click here to start your entry. 


For the organisation that best demonstrates excellence in creating and developing a diverse and inclusive workplace that offers opportunities for all.

In this category, we are looking for organisations that are committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. A focus on recruitment and people development through responsible approaches, such as inclusive leadership and inclusion strategies, are key factors the judges will be looking for in this category.

Please convey why diversity and inclusion are of utmost importance to the organisation and emphasise any aspects of your action that you consider to be particularly innovative or compelling.

Your project/initiative may have been running for a number of years, however, to be eligible for this Award, elements of it must have taken place in 2023 and/or 2024. Responsible business examples in your submission must demonstrate how you have gone above and beyond your core business purpose.

QUESTIONS AND SCORING

SECTION 1 | OVERVIEW | Word limit: 1,200 words, 30 marks available

  • Leadership – how leaders have been involved in the project/initiative
  • Strategy – Explain how your project/initiative relates to the organisation’s business strategy and wider goals and values, and what targets you set
  • Activities and processes – Outline the actions and activities that have been undertaken as part of the project/initiative, resources used and an indication of timescale. Please share how you manage, evaluate and report on this project effectively
  • Stakeholder engagement – with whom have you engaged and how have you involved them in the project/initiative
  • Championing responsible business – how your project or initiative has been, or could be, used to inspire others

SECTION 2 | IMPACT | Word limit: 750 words, 20 marks available

  • Tell us how you measured success and explain how your project/initiative has benefitted your business, wider society and/or the environment
  • This section should be supported by data (qualitative and/or quantitative)

Click here to read about 2023 winner, Danske Bank.

Click here to start your entry. 



For the organisation that best demonstrates how it is committed to creating a culture where employees thrive, and adopts an agile, flexible, and strategic approach to employee retention and development. 

In this category, we are keen to see how your organisation is living its values by creating a supportive and inspiring culture for employees and is taking an agile, flexible, and strategic approach to employee retention and development.

We want to see evidence of where an organisation takes measures to maximise the full potential of its employees, through initiatives, policies and practices that help employees to thrive in their roles.

We are keen to see examples of how an employer engages with and listens to its employees, invests in their development to help them achieve their potential, and recognises their progress and successes.

Click Please note, that to be eligible for this category, the activities outlined in your entry must have taken place in 2023 and/or 2024.

QUESTIONS AND SCORING

SECTION 1 | OVERVIEW | Word limit: 1,200 words, 30 marks available

  • Leadership – how leaders have been involved in action to make your organisation better for its people, the planet, and the places where it operates
  • Strategy – Explain how your company integrates responsible business into its business strategy to help create a positive workplace culture. How does this fit with wider goals and values, how is it agreed, and what targets are set around this?
  • Activities and processes – Detail activities for employee retention, development and learning, and resources allocated, and timelines. Describe how these initiatives were effectively managed to achieve objectives and how they foster an inclusive culture. How do you evaluate and report on these objectives?
  • Stakeholder engagement – How do you consult, engage, and communicate with your stakeholders about learning and development opportunities?
  • Championing responsible business – How has or could your organisation’s actions and activities be used to inspire others?

SECTION 2 | IMPACT | Word limit: 750 words, 20 marks available

  • Tell us how you measured success and explain the benefits to your people, the business, wider society and/or the environment
  • This section should be supported by data (qualitative and/or quantitative)

Click here to read about the 2023 winner, Heron Bros.

Click here to start your entry. 


For the organisation that best demonstrates a positive impact on communities, going beyond its core business to invest time, resources, and expertise to tackle one or more key social issues.

In this category, we want to see how the organisation manages its approach to delivering a positive impact on local communities, including detail on achievements and key success points.

In particular, describe how you engaged with your community for the best outcome of your actions, and emphasise any aspects of your activities or initiative that you consider to be particularly innovative or compelling.

Please also outline how you have engaged your employees in your project/initiative.

Your project/initiative may have been running for a number of years, however, to be eligible for this Award, elements of it must have taken place in 2023 and/or 2024. Responsible business examples in your submission must demonstrate how you have gone above and beyond your core business purpose.

QUESTIONS AND SCORING

SECTION 1 | OVERVIEW | Word limit: 1,200 words, 30 marks available

  • Leadership – how leaders have been involved in the project/initiative
  • Strategy – Explain how your project/initiative relates to the organisation’s business strategy and wider goals and values, and what targets you set
  • Activities and processes – Outline the actions and activities that have been undertaken as part of the project/initiative, resources used and an indication of the timescale. Please share how you manage, evaluate and report on this project effectively
  • Stakeholder engagement – with whom have you engaged and how have you involved them in the project/initiative
  • Championing responsible business – how your project or initiative has been, or could be, used to inspire others

SECTION 2 | IMPACT | Word limit: 750 words, 20 marks available

  • Tell us how you measured success and explain how your project/initiative has benefitted your business, wider society and/or the environment
  • This section should be supported by data (qualitative and/or quantitative)

Click here to read about 2023 winner, Norbrook.

Click here to start your entry. 

For the organisation that best demonstrates a significant commitment and contribution to improving biodiversity and the natural environment in Northern Ireland.

You should focus on a specific nature and biodiversity-positive project/initiative or on a range of activities which represent your organisation’s overall approach to nature and biodiversity.

You should convey the importance of this work to the organisation, what motivates you to take action, and emphasise any aspects you consider to be particularly innovative or compelling. Describe how this project relates to the way the organisation manages its approach to the natural environment, particularly in relation to your local business activity and its impacts.

Your project/initiative may have been running for a number of years, however, to be eligible for this Award, elements of it must have taken place in 2023 and/or 2024. Responsible business examples in your submission must demonstrate how you have gone above and beyond your core business purpose. The submission should not be a general overview of your organisation’s environmental/climate strategy.

QUESTIONS AND SCORING

SECTION 1 | OVERVIEW | Word limit: 1,200 words, 30 marks available

  • Leadership – how leaders have been involved in the project/initiative
  • Strategy – Explain how your project/initiative relates to the organisation’s business strategy and wider goals and values, and what targets you set
  • Activities and processes – Outline the actions and activities that have been undertaken as part of the project/initiative, resources used and an indication of the timescale. Please share how you manage, evaluate and report on this project effectively
  • Stakeholder engagement – with whom have you engaged and how have you involved them in the project/initiative
  • Championing responsible business – how your project or initiative has been, or could be, used to inspire others

SECTION 2 | IMPACT | Word limit: 750 words, 20 marks available

  • Tell us how you measured success and explain how your project/initiative has benefitted your business, wider society and/or the environment
  • This section should be supported by data (qualitative and/or quantitative

This is a new category for 2024.

Click here to start your entry. 



A member organisation that has joined Business in the Community since January 2022 and has made significant progress in the development and implementation of its Corporate Responsibility (CR) Strategy.

Describe how the organisation has embraced responsible business since January 2022, highlighting key achievements and successes.

Judges will want to clearly see how corporate responsibility action has made a positive impact on your organisation and emphasising any aspects you consider to be particularly unique, innovative or compelling will add weight to your submission.

QUESTIONS AND SCORING

SECTION 1 | OVERVIEW | Word limit: 1,200 words, 30 marks available

  • Leadership – how leaders have promoted responsible business
  • Strategy – Explain how your responsible business activity relates to the organisation’s business strategy, wider goals and values. What is your vision for the future in terms of responsible business?
  • Activities and processes – Outline your responsible business activities, including resources used (donations, people, financial) and an indication of timescale. Please share how you manage, evaluate and report your activities effectively
  • Stakeholder engagement – with whom have you engaged and how have you involved them in the project/initiative
  • Championing responsible business – how your actions/activities have been, or could be, used to inspire others

SECTION 2 | IMPACT | Word limit: 750 words, 20 marks available

  • Tell us how you measured success and explain how your action has benefitted your business, wider society and/or the environment
  • This section should be supported by data (qualitative and/or quantitative)

Click here to read about 2023 winner, Viberoptix.

Click here to start your entry. 



For an individual who has made a significant contribution to responsible business practice within their organisation and in the wider business community, with a positive impact on people and the planet.

The Responsible Business Ambassador Award is for an individual who has made a significant contribution to responsible business practice within their organisation and in the wider business community, with a positive impact on people and the planet.

This person will be a champion of responsible business, someone who leads by example and engages and inspires others to make positive changes that tackles key social and/or environmental issues.

We will want to see examples of how this person has introduced and driven the delivery of innovative solutions that aim to tackle these issues, and we are keen to learn more about how they have engaged others inside and outside of their own organisation to drive change and make a greater impact.

QUESTIONS AND SCORING

NAME AND TITLE OF NOMINATED PERSON | Word limit: 20 words, 0 marks available

NOMINATION SUMMARY | Word limit: 150 words, 0 marks available

  • Please give a brief summary about why you are submitting this nomination

RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS LEADERSHIP | Word limit: 500 words, 15 marks available

  • How has this person demonstrated responsible business leadership, giving consideration to the person’s actions and activities that benefit people, the planet and/or communities in Northern Ireland? If this is thanks to their corporate role, please also add any personal actions they may have taken.

IMPACT | Word limit: 500 words, 15 marks available

  • Please provide examples of impact and/or things that have been made possible due to this person’s leadership.

ADVOCACY | Word limit: 500 words, 20 marks available

  • How has/is this person inspiring others to take action and advocating for responsible business within their own business sector or beyond?

Click here to read about 2023 winner, SHS Group.

Click here to start your entry. 



For the organisation that best demonstrates its use of innovative solutions to tackle an environmental or social challenge.

Describe how your organisation has been innovative in redesigning existing or creating new products or services (tangible, practical or digital) to help influence positive customer behaviour.

In this category, we’re looking for projects or approaches that show leadership on the responsible business agenda – contributing social, economic and environmental benefits to wider society. We are particularly interested in how the products or services help customers be more responsible and/or sustainable in how they live their lives and what the organisation is doing to raise awareness about the importance of more sustainable lifestyles.

Your product/service may have been available for a number of years, however, to be eligible for this Award, elements of it must have taken place in 2023 and/or 2024.

QUESTIONS AND SCORING

SECTION ONE | OVERVIEW | Word limit: 1,200 words, 30 marks available

  • Leadership – how leaders have been involved in the project/initiative
  • Strategy – Explain how your project/initiative relates to the organisation’s business strategy and wider goals and values, and what targets you set
  • Activities and processes – Outline the actions and activities that have been undertaken as part of the project/initiative, resources used and an indication of timescale. Please share how you manage, evaluate and report on this project effectively
  • Stakeholder engagement – with whom have you engaged and how have you involved them in the project/initiative
  • Championing responsible business – how your project or initiative has been, or could be, used to inspire others

SECTION 2 | IMPACT | Word limit: 750 words, 20 marks available

  • Tell us how you measured success and explain how your project/initiative has benefitted your business, wider society and/or the environment
  • This section should be supported by data (qualitative and/or quantitative)

Click here to read about 2023 winner, Vyta.

Click here to start your entry. 



For the organisation that best demonstrates its use of innovative technology to make a positive impact on people, planet and/or the communities where it works.

In this category, we are looking for an organisation that has identified a social or environmental challenge and is using technology to help address the issue.

This may be done by the organisation itself, or it may have worked in partnership with another company, charity, community group or school/college, to identify an issue and work on a solution that incorporates innovative technology.

Emphasise any aspects of your organisation’s approach that you consider to be particularly innovative or compelling.  >

Your project/initiative may have been running for a number of years, however, to be eligible for this Award, elements of it must have taken place in 2023 and/or 2024. Responsible business examples in your submission for this category are allowed to have been completed on a commercial or pro-bono basis, but demonstrating where you have gone above and beyond will gain you more points.

QUESTIONS AND SCORING

SECTION 1 | OVERVIEW | Word limit: 1,200 words, 30 marks available

  • Leadership – how leaders have been involved in the project/initiative
  • Strategy – Explain how your project/initiative relates to the organisation’s business strategy and wider goals and values, and what targets you set
  • Activities and processes – Outline the actions and activities that have been undertaken as part of the project/initiative, resources used and an indication of timescale. Please share how you manage, evaluate and report on this project effectively
  • Stakeholder engagement – with whom have you engaged and how have you involved them in the project/initiative
  • Championing responsible business – how your project or initiative has been, or could be, used to inspire others

SECTION 2 | IMPACT | Word limit: 750 words, 20 marks available

  • Tell us how you measured success and explain how your project/initiative has benefitted your business, wider society and/or the environment
  • This section should be supported by data (qualitative and/or quantitative)

Click here to read about 2023 winner, Ulster University.

Click here to start your entry. 


For the organisation that best demonstrates how its actions have helped inspire and support young people (aged 4-19) and/or people facing barriers to work to develop the skills they need for a successful working life.

For this category, we are looking for the organisation that best manages its approach to delivering a positive impact on the employability prospects of young people (aged 4-19) and/or disadvantaged groups of adults.

The judges want to clearly see an organisation’s impact, achievements, and key success points. Emphasise any aspects of your entry that you consider to be particularly innovative, impactful or compelling.

Your project/initiative may have been running for a number of years, however, to be eligible for this Award, elements of it must have taken place in 2023 and/or 2024. Responsible business examples in your submission must demonstrate how you have gone above and beyond your core business purpose.

QUESTIONS AND SCORING

SECTION 1 | OVERVIEW | Word limit: 1,200 words, 30 marks available

  • Leadership – how leaders have been involved in the project/initiative
  • Strategy – Explain how your project/initiative relates to the organisation’s business strategy and wider goals and values, and what targets you set
  • Activities and processes – Outline the actions and activities that have been undertaken as part of the project/initiative, resources used and an indication of timescale. Please share how you managed, evaluated and reported on this project effectively
  • Stakeholder engagement – with whom have you engaged and how have you involved them in the project/initiative
  • Championing responsible business – how your project or initiative has been, or could be, used to inspire others

SECTION 2 | IMPACT | Word limit: 750 words, 20 marks available

  • Tell us how you measured success and explain how your project/initiative has benefitted your business, wider society and/or the environment
  • This section should be supported by data (qualitative and/or quantitative)

This is a new category for 2024.

Click here to start your entry. 


For the organisation that best demonstrates excellence in inspiring and supporting its employees to prioritise their health and wellbeing and embrace positive lifestyle choices.

The judges are interested in seeing a strategic approach to employee health and wellbeing; evidence of commitment from senior management; and evidence of investment in specific activities intended to tackle health and wellbeing priorities. Organisations should be able to demonstrate a means of measurement and evaluation of impact for the employee and the organisation.

Your submission should demonstrate that health and wellbeing are of key strategic importance and emphasis should be placed on aspects you consider to be particularly innovative or compelling.

Your project/initiative may have been running for a number of years, however, to be eligible for this Award, elements of it must have taken place in 2023 and/or 2024. Responsible business examples in your submission must demonstrate how you have gone above and beyond your core business purpose.

QUESTIONS AND SCORING

SECTION 1 | OVERVIEW | Word limit: 1,200 words, 30 marks available

  • Leadership – how leaders have been involved in the project/initiative
  • Strategy – Explain how your project/initiative relates to the organisation’s business strategy and wider goals and values, and what targets you set
  • Activities and processes – Outline the actions and activities that have been undertaken as part of the project/initiative, resources used and an indication of the timescale. Please share how you manage, evaluate and report on this project effectively
  • Stakeholder engagement – with whom have you engaged and how have you involved them in the project/initiative
  • Championing responsible business – how your project or initiative has been, or could be, used to inspire others

SECTION 2 | IMPACT | Word limit: 750 words, 20 marks available

  • Tell us how you measured success and explain how your project/initiative has benefitted your business and/or wider society
  • This section should be supported by data (qualitative and/or quantitative)

Click here to read about 2023 winner, GRAHAM.

Click here to start your entry.