Wales Award stories 2015

Rosie Sweetman, Director, Business in the Community Cymru, gives her reflections on the Responsible Business Awards in Wales.

The Responsible Business Awards in Wales shine a spotlight on the businesses tackling Wales’ social, economic and environmental challenges.

Rosie Sweetman, Director, Business in the Community CymruThrough this year’s Award entries, Welsh business has continued to demonstrate how the close alignment of values with commercial priorities can drive business successes. There was also increasing evidence of responsible business practices (RBPs) addressing workforce priorities. (Jump straight to the Award case studies).

Interestingly, the connection between responsible business and the workforce reflected in our recent online research, where being a “good employer” (treating employees fairly and with respect) was the most important sign that a business is responsible – ranking higher amongst employees than activities traditionally associated with ethical business such as giving to charity.

We also found that being perceived as a good employer has a significant impact on whether someone wants to work for a company. The vast majority (92%) of respondents said that, if they were in a situation where they had two identical job offers, whether the companies treated employees with respect would be an important part of their decision making. Whether companies promote health and wellbeing (86%), promote flexible working (79%), and diversity at work (71%) were also important factors cited for people deciding which company to work for.

Through the 2015 Awards entries we consistently heard from employers that they were looking to develop a talented, skilled, diverse and engaged workforce. Their RBPs were set against this goal, and can largely be broken down into two key areas of impact, recruitment and retention. Their entries evidenced how:

  • Volunteering provides professional and personal development opportunities

  • Working with schools builds a talent pipeline;

  • A positive working environment reduces absence and attrition rates

  • Members of Generation Y prioritise employers that reflects their values

  • A healthy, engaged workforce increases productivity

  • A diverse workforce strengthens a company’s performance.

It is clear from both the 2015 Award entries and our research that the outdated idea of responsible business as being about giving cash or ad hoc CSR activity is over. While these things do have positive impacts, there is far more to being a good business than philanthropy alone and the public and employees look for this.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the judges who kindly donated their time and energy to review and assess all of the Wales Awards entries. The support of our judges, our category sponsors, our event and media sponsors and our entrants themselves enable us to celebrate business as a force for good and inspire many other businesses to embed their responsible business practices. Thank you.

I hope each shortlisted and winning company, and all their employees, feel justifiably proud of their own achievement but also the success of the responsible business community in Wales as a whole. Together we are making a difference.

A.F. Blakemore & Son - A.F. Blakemore Education Matters Programme
Education Award, supported by UKCES 2014, Shortlisted, Reaccredited 2015, 2016

A.F. Blakemore supports schoolchildren in deprived areas where its staff live and work – improving their confidence, attainment and behaviour, while developing a pool of motivated future employees.


Published: June 2014
Categories: Education
Anglian Water outdoor display
Engaging Customers on Sustainability Award 2014, Big Tick, Winner, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

Anglian Water implemented the Keep It Clear campaign to educate customers on the disposal of fats, oils and grease (FOG) as part of its Love Every Drop strategy.

Published: June 2014
Categories: Global Goals
Asda trainees
Inspiring Young Talent Award 2014, Big Tick, Highly Commended, Reaccredited 2015, 2016

Customers are at the core of Asda’s business and it is proud of being in the heart of the communities it operates in. Many of these communities are seriously affected by youth unemployment and Asda has created the Opportunities for all Communities programme to offer a range...

Published: June 2014
Blakemore staff team
ASDA Enterprise Growth Award 2014, Big Tick, Winner, Reaccredited 2015, 2016

Blakemore Fine Foods helps small food and drink producers grow by providing them with logistics, business and technical support. This has boosted sales and opened up new markets.

Published: June 2014
A Blakemore driver delivering stock
Sustainable Products and Services Award 2014, Big Tick, Shortlisted, Reaccredited, 2015, 2016

Blakemore Logistics has identified two key environmental impacts and made strategic investments and operational changes to embed environmental sustainability into its core services. This includes reducing  CO2 emissions and waste to landfill through stakeholder engagement...

Published: June 2014
Inspiring Young Talent Award 2014, Big Tick, Reaccredited, 2015, 2016

Boots’ Let’s Inspire Initiative provides young people with the chance to access employment or further education opportunities by offering work placements, apprenticeships and graduate programmes.

Published: June 2014
Awards 2014 Big Tick planter
Arts and Business Corporate Responsibility Award, Finalist 2014, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

New Diorama Theatre was built by British Land, as part of the Regent’s Place campus, following consultation with local residents that revealed a need for a high-quality theatre building to act as a creative hub, promoting cohesion and providing a resource for the entire...

Published: May 2014
Participants on Capital One's ClickSilver programme on ITV's This Morning
Building Stronger Communities Award 2014, Big Tick, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

Capital One’s ClickSilver programme facilitates the mentoring of older people by university students, improving their digital safety, the students’ CVs, and bridging the social age gap.

Published: June 2014
GEM programme participants
Inspiring Young Talent Award 2014, Big Tick, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

Centre for Partnership created the GEM Programme to offer unemployed and under employed graduates work experience, a qualification and employment within the housing sector.

Published: June 2014
Children taking part in the E.ON Energy Experience
Education Award, supported by UKCES 2014, Big Tick, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

E.ON’s Energy Experience inspires school children to learn about energy through interactive events and online resources, while supporting business objectives and generating positive media coverage.

Published: June 2014
Categories: Education
EDF Energy: Zero Harm
Bupa Workwell Engagement and Wellbeing Award - Big Tick 2014, Shortlisted, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

EDF Energy has broadened its Zero Harm strategy to include the physical and mental wellbeing of employees, mutually reinforcing engagement and wellbeing – and achieving great results.

Published: June 2014
Solar array at Okehampton College
Education Award, supported by UKCES 2014, Big Tick, Winner, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

EDF Energy’s partnership with Okehampton College in Devon has encouraged students to consider a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, helping ensure a skilled future workforce and raising awareness of energy-saving.

Published: June 2014
Categories: Education
Inspiring Young Talent Award 2014, Big Tick, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

Freshfields seeks to improve social mobility and low levels of recruitment into law of young people from deprived backgrounds with its Insights work experience programme.

Published: June 2014
Participants on Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's Ready for Work programme
Work Inclusion Award 2014, Big Tick, Winner, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

By offering homeless people and ex-offenders work placements and job coaching, Freshfields helps them enter employment while saving money and increasing engagement amongst its staff.

Published: June 2014
Haggerston School pupils
Education Award, supported by UKCES 2014, Big Tick, Highly Commended, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

Freshfields’ partnership with Haggerston School in Hackney is improving the employability of students, increasing employee volunteers’ skills and building the firm’s reputation with clients.

Published: June 2014
Categories: Education