Responsible Business Awards in Northern Ireland

Are you committed to building a better workforce? Are you contributing to a sustainable economy? Are you supporting your local communities to thrive? In a year when the pandemic has impacted everyone, is your business a responsible one?

If your answers are yes, then enter this year’s Responsible Business Awards in Northern Ireland.

For more than 16 years, these Awards have showcased transformational stories of businesses taking real action to build thriving communities and have celebrated those businesses demonstrating strong, inclusive leadership, who continually innovate to tackle pressing social issues and to repair and rebuild our planet.



  • Awards opened for entries: Wednesday 31 March 2021
  • Closing date for entries: Friday 11 June 2021
  • Shortlisting: 14 – 25 June 2021
  • Judging Panels (online): w/c 9 August 2021
  • Awards event (online): 7 September 2021            

Top tips for entering

Throughout your application, please clearly identify what actions your business has taken during the COVID crisis to meet the criteria for each award category. We appreciate that for this awarding period, the numbers impacted by your work may be lower than those for a established programme and allowances will be made for this.

Find out more


If you require any further information, please email Clare Mercer.



    For the company that best demonstrates positive impacts across its people, the planet and the places where it operates and encourages other businesses to follow their example. Eligibility – This 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. ENTER NOW
    Asda employs approximately 4,000 colleagues in its 17 stores and Distribution Centre in Northern Ireland. The breadth and depth of Corporate Responsibility at Asda includes: supporting local communities; investing in skills and support for colleagues with its “hire for attitude, train for skill” approach; developing local supplier opportunities; committing to environmentally sustainable retailing; and driving down costs for consumers. These outcomes are delivered through the Creating Change for Better pillar of Asda’s business strategy. Asda is exceptionally proud of the impact the business is making in Northern Ireland including: delivering 20,000 volunteer hours in the community each year; supporting triple negative breast cancer research at Queen’s University; major food poverty partnerships with Fareshare and Trussell Trust; and in the past year colleagues have excelled in ‘Feeding the Nation’ and supporting the vulnerable throughout the Covid pandemic.

    For the organisation that best demonstrates its commitment and action to recruit, retrain and retain people 50+. ENTER NOW
    Belfast City Council’s Age Friendly Belfast defines an Age-friendly City as an inclusive and accessible urban environment that promotes active ageing. It vision is that ‘Belfast will be a city where older people live life to the full’ and it operates under four key themes: Physical Infrastructure, Social Inclusion, Health and Wellbeing, Financial.

    For the organisation that best demonstrates excellence in creating and developing a diverse and inclusive workplace which offers opportunities for all. ENTER NOW
    Established in 1847, Belfast Harbour is Belfast's port authority and operates the principal maritime gateway on the island of Ireland. The harbour estate covers an area of 2,000 acres representing 20% of Belfast City area and is also Northern Ireland's logistics and distribution hub and home to major businesses. Belfast Harbour has had a long association with Business in the Community – more than 20 years. It has supported a wide variety of initiatives and takes its own approach to responsible business with determination and strong commitments. In recent years, the Harbour has developed strong initiatives to see the organisation embrace diversity and inclusion and is proud to support this responsible business award category this year.

    For the organisation that best demonstrates how its actions have helped raise the aspirations and achievements of young people (aged 4-19) through a solid business education partnership. ENTER NOW
    Allen & Overy LLP is an international law firm with 44 offices in 31 countries. The Belfast office, which is home to a Legal and Shared Services Centre, first opened in 2011 and now employs almost 500 people. Over the last seven years it has enjoyed partnerships with local schools, demonstrating its belief that it has an important role to play in helping young people to reach their full potential and build strong foundations for their future careers. Allen & Overy wants its efforts to have a long-term impact, and it looks forward to creating new learning opportunities that instil confidence and encourage young people to broaden their horizons.

    For the organisation that best demonstrates a significant commitment and contribution to environmental sustainability in Northern Ireland through an initiative or project. ENTER NOW
    At Heron Bros, sustainability has always been at the core of everything it does. Through the delivery of landmark construction projects, it focuses on five key pillars: Responsible Business, Resource Efficiency & the Natural Environment, Community & Partnering, People & Workforce and Business through Innovation. Heron Bros continually strives to be at the forefront of responsible business in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and Republic of Ireland. Winner of the 2018 NI Responsible Company of the Year title, Heron Bros is proud to champion responsible business and is passionate about encouraging other businesses to do the same.

    For the organisation that is demonstrating a more innovative and inclusive approach to employability activities in Northern Ireland. ENTER NOW
    George Best Belfast City Airport has long been associated with Business in the Community and was named NI Responsible Company of the Year in 2017. George Best Belfast City Airport is a single-runway airport in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Situated in County Down, it is adjacent to the Port of Belfast and is 3 miles from Belfast City Centre. The airport began commercial operations in 1983 and was known as ‘Belfast City Airport’ until it was renamed in 2006 in memory of George Best, the professional footballer from Belfast. The airport takes responsible business seriously and has developed a number of its own flagship projects, including its IGNITE Leadership programme and its High Fliers Apprenticeship initiative. Regular commitments to community, charity and educational partners makes George Best Belfast City Airport a force for good in its local community.

    For the business that best works in partnership with local communities to address long-term social and economic needs. ENTER NOW
    Arthur Cox is one of Ireland's largest law firms. It is an ‘all-island’ law firm with offices in Dublin and Belfast. The firm also has offices in London, New York and Silicon Valley. The practice encompasses all aspects of corporate and business law. For almost 100 years, it has been at the forefront of developments in the legal profession in Ireland. It strives to deliver superior levels of service, building relationships that grow over time and developing specialist industry knowledge to help its clients achieve their goals.

    For a *recently joined* Business in the Community member that has made significant progress in the development and implementation of its CR strategy *This category is open to members who joined from January 2018 onwards only. ENTER NOW
    Ciena is a networking systems, services, and software company. It is driven by a relentless pursuit of network innovation—enabling its clients to adapt within ever-changing environments to deliver richer, more connected experiences for their business and users. Ciena is committed to Corporate Social Responsibility practices and its policies are designed to help Ciena operate as a supplier of choice, an employer of choice, and a neighbour of choice around the globe.

    For the organisation that can best demonstrate how it has used digital solutions in a project or initiative that in turn tackle a social or environmental issue. ENTER NOW
    Allstate Northern Ireland is the largest IT company in NI with over 2400 employees. Allstate NI is a subsidiary of the Allstate Corporation who are one of the largest property and liability insurance companies in the US as well as a Forbes 100 and Fortune 100 company. Established in 1998, Allstate NI provides a range of innovative, critical business support services to their parent company including technology, data, cybersecurity and finance with office locations in Belfast, Strabane and Derry/L’Derry.

    Recognising organisations that are developing innovative products or services that inspire responsible customer behaviour and encourage more sustainable lifestyle. ENTER NOW
    It is Translink’s mission to deliver a transformation in public transport, providing integrated services which connect people, enhance the economy and improve the environment, enabling a thriving Northern Ireland. Translink is committed to responsible business and was the winner of this category in 2019.

    For the organisation that demonstrates excellence in inspiring and supporting its employees to prioritise their health and wellbeing and embrace positive lifestyle choices. ENTER NOW
    Larne is renowned as a premier Port in Ireland. It handles over 300,000 freight units a year, as well as 220,000 tourist vehicles and 845,000 passengers. It is operative 24 hours per day, seven days a week, with up to 20 arrivals and departures daily to and from the ports of Troon and Cairnryan. Larne Port has been a great supporter of the Responsible Business Awards in Northern Ireland for the past four years, and in particular the Wellbeing at Work category, demonstrating its eagerness to be a good employer itself and inspire others to take the wellbeing of their employees seriously and take action to develop happy, healthy and productive workforces.