Diageo named NI Responsible Company of the Year

Hundreds of local business leaders from across Northern Ireland gathered for a glittering gala to celebrate business as a force for good at the Responsible Business Awards on Thursday 2 June

More than 500 business people gathered at Belfast Waterfront Hall on Thursday 2 June to see Northern Ireland’s leading responsible companies be recognised and rewarded for their actions.

Global drinks giant, Diageo, picked up the top award – NI Responsible Company of the Year on the night. 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.

Allstate NI achieved UK recognition in the BUPA Employee Wellbeing Award category, for the second year in a row, for its employee wellbeing initiative – Energy for Life. Phoenix Natural Gas was also reaccredited for a further year in the Santander Responsible Small Business Award category.

Sponsored by Electric Ireland and in association with Ulster Business Magazine, the annual awards celebrate firms in Northern Ireland that are making a difference by taking practical action to address pressing social and environmental issues – transforming communities and changing lives. The winners were as follows:

  • NI Responsible Company of the Year, sponsored by BT – Diageo Northern Ireland
  • Resource Efficiency Champion, in partnership with WRAP – ASDA
  • Business and Biodiversity, in partnership with Ulster Wildlife – AES UK & Ireland
  • Employer of Choice, sponsored by Arthur Cox – Firstsource Solutions Ltd
  • Employability Champion, sponsored by Huhtamaki Foodservice Delta – Farrans Construction
  • Community Impact Champion, sponsored by Belfast Harbour – Henderson Group
  • Education Partner, sponsored by Allen & Overy – Carillion Energy plc
  • Marketplace Leadership, sponsored by Fujitsu – Encirc
  • Workplace Health and Wellbeing, sponsored by Benenden – Seagate Technology

Roy Adair, Chair of Business in the Community NI and Chief Executive of Belfast Harbour, said: “The Responsible Business Awards provide a valuable platform to showcase and share responsible business practices. It was a close call for the judges in many categories, as the standard of entries continues to exceed expectation. All of the finalists are organisations that are leading the way in responsible business practice.

“These awards are the perfect vehicle from which businesses can learn from one another, can grow and can develop. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of our winners and those who were shortlisted for being truly inspirational. I hope that the achievements of the winning companies will encourage others to put responsible business at the heart of what they do.”

The keynote speaker, Matthew Burton from the hit series ‘Educating Yorkshire’, spoke to the audience about his passion for education and the vital need for business to be involved in schools at all stages – from early years through to post-primary and further education. Two young people who have come through the care system – along with their business mentors, who worked together through the Aiming Higher project – showed the raw edge and enormous impact business can make in society. Guests were also treated to a spectacular display of stilts, fire and silks artists, and they also enjoyed  music by the Ulster Youth Orchestra and entertainment by Jack Pack, the contemporary swing pop group that became famous on Britain’s Got Talent.