2020 Categories & Criteria

Please click 'view criteria' button to view the full criteria.

All written entries for all categories must be no more than 1,000 words , and try to think about the judges when composing them. Use plenty of spacing, bullet points and paragraphs to construct your entry to make them easier on the eye. PDF and other multimedia entries are encouraged, and you can add personality to your entry too to make it stand out. If you are submitting a video, please keep it to FIVE minutes or less.


The bullet points in the criteria are just guidelines and don’t have to be answered individually in order – use them as a basis to create your entry and as a GUIDE ONLY. But please read them carefully as they will help you craft an entry that meets all the judges’ criteria. Don’t just feel you have to submit blocks of text, feel free to submit a PDF or even video entry if you are feeling adventurous – make your entry stand out.

But remember, word counts and time limits still apply to multimedia entries – judges will mark down if over word count or approved time.


The BusinessGreen Leaders Awards are free to enter, but in order to ensure we can invest in staging the awards the terms and conditions require that all short listed organisations commit to attending. Before you submit your entry please confirm you or a representative of your organisation are able to attend the awards on Wednesday 24 June 2020.

Company of the Decade – New for 2020*

To mark the 10th anniversary of the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards, this year we are seeking entries for the company of the decade – the firm that has done the most to advance the green economy cause over the past 10 years. The judges are looking for a truly inspirational businesses that has both embodied and promoted the values of the green economy throughout the 2010s, slashing its environmental impacts, embracing clean technologies and business models, and advocating for the system change that is enabling a new wave of sustainable economic development. Could your organisation be the BusinessGreen Company of the Decade?

  • How has your business supported the development of the green economy over the past decade?
  • What have been your most impressive green business achievements?
  • How have you engaged your customers, employees, and other stakeholders to build support for greener business practices?
  • How have you cut your environmental impacts?
  • What new green technologies and practices have you embraced over the past decade?
  • How do you plan to build on your green achievements in the coming years?

The Net Zero Now Award for Decarbonisation Strategy of the Year - New for 2020

The past year has seen the pursuit of net zero emissions move firmly into the mainstream following the UK's adoption of a legally-binding net zero target. As part of our Net Zero Now campaign, the inaugural Decarbonisation Strategy of the Year Award is open to any business that has unveiled a new emission reduction strategy in the past 18 months that supports the UK's wider net zero goals. Different businesses face different challenges as they seek to decarbonise and as such eligible strategies do not have to incorporate a firm net zero target at this stage. But the judges are looking for plans that incorporate clear and ambitious emissions reduction targets and a credible strategy for moving the business onto a net zero emission decarbonisation trajectory.

  • What emission reduction targets has your organisation set and how were the goals developed?
  • How do the targets support the UK's wider net zero emission goal?
  • How does your decarbonisation strategy aim to deliver on the new targets?
  • What steps have you taken to date to accelerate your emissions reductions?
  • How have you promoted your new strategy and worked with stakeholders to deliver on your emissions goals?

Green Packaging Project of the Year - New for 2020

The war on plastic waste has triggered a tidal wave of green packaging innovation as companies have rushed to develop innovative new approaches to slashing the environmental impact of their products. The inaugural Green Packaging Project of the Year Award aims to recognise the designs and innovations released in the past 18 months that have most effectively demonstrated the benefits from greener packaging. The judges are looking for projects that have both delivered demonstrable environmental gains while addressing all aspects of the packaging value chain.

  • How has your packaging innovation improved upon business as usual?
  • How has the new packaging been received by customers and stakeholders?
  • What challenges did the project have to overcome?
  • How can the new approach be scaled up to maximise environmental gains?

Green Building Project of the Year

The UK's climate goals cannot be met without a rapid overhaul of the country's building stock. The Green Building Project of the Year Award aims to recognise the most innovative and inspiring green building projects, which have pioneered new designs, techniques, and technologies in pursuit of improved environmental performance. The judges are looking for highly innovative and inspiring projects delivered over the past 18 months that have demonstrate how the highest environmental credentials also serve to boost a building's efficiency, performance, and attractiveness. The best entries will showcase the project and its green credentials, providing detailed data on its environmental characteristics, and an explanation of how the project was conceived and delivered.

  • What was the brief for the project and how was it successfully met?
  • What green innovations, technologies, designs, and/or techniques were deployed as part of the project?
  • What data can you provide demonstrating the project's environmental and wider performance?
  • How have occupiers and other stakeholders responded to the building?
  • To what extent are the approaches deployed in the project replicable and scalable across the wider building sector?

Circular Economy Project of the Year

The Circular Economy has moved from concept to viable business model in recent years and this award aims to recognise those businesses that pushed the approach into the mainstream. Open to any project that has pioneered genuine circular economy thinking, in the process curbing waste levels and creating circular resource flows in accordance with the waste hierarchy. The judges are looking for innovative projects that have not just reduced overall waste levels, but have demonstrated the viability of circular economy models and services, delivering broader financial and competitive benefits to an organisation or community and helping to engage a range of stakeholders with circular economy issues in the process.

  • What was the goal of your circular economy project and how was it achieved?
  • How did you make the business case for the project?
  • How did you overcome barriers to deployment?
  • What data can you provide to demonstrate the project's success?
  • What environmental and commercial benefits have resulted from the project?
  • How does the project embody circular economy principles?
  • How scalable is your approach and what can other organisations learn from your experience?

Communications Agency of the Year

Open to any communications, advertising, marketing and/or PR agency that has successfully promoted green businesses and communicated the merits of the green economy and sustainable development over the past 18 months. The judges are looking for an organisation that has significantly raised the profile of its clients' green products, services and/or activities through innovative multi-platform campaigns, while also engaging a wide range of audiences with effective messaging that encourages them to embrace more sustainable products and behaviours. The strongest entries will showcase the agency's approach to communicating green messages, provide clear evidence of the successful campaigns it has orchestrated, and demonstrate how it works to enhance its own environmental performance.

  • What green business campaigns has the agency worked on and how has it delivered impressive results?
  • How has the agency developed its campaigns in order to reach a designated target audience and ensure green messages secure effective cut-through?
  • What steps has the agency taken to curb the environmental impact of its own activities?
  • How has the agency helped clients improve their standing within the green economy?

Company of the Year

BusinessGreen's flagship award is open to any business with a UK presence that has embodied the values and advanced the cause of the green economy over the past 18 months. The judges are not looking for perfection, but they do want to hear from organisations that are genuinely committed to developing new and more sustainable ways of doing business, and can demonstrate tangible progress towards ambitious environmental and sustainable development goals. The best entries will provide detailed evidence of the initiatives they are undertaking to reduce their environmental impacts, develop new clean technologies, products, and services, and promote the wider green economy.

  • What commitments has your organisation made in the past 18 months to improving its environmental performance?
  • How much progress have you made towards your green goals over the same period?
  • What makes your businesses' sustainability strategy stand out from that of its peers?
  • What steps have you taken to promote the wider green economy to your employees, customers, and stakeholders?
  • What can other organisations learn from your company's experience?

Consultancy of the Year

Open to any consultancy or advisory firm that has helped organisations deliver substantial and quantifiable improvements in their environmental and commercial performance over the past year. The judges are looking for innovative thinking and a commitment to promoting fundamental changes in business models that help clients prepare for the technological and economic transitions that define the green economy. Successful entries will show how green consultancies have helped clients navigate emerging trends and embrace the new technologies and techniques that drive green performance improvements, while also helping to promote new thinking on how to overcome environmental challenges.

  • What green consultancy services have you provided in the past 18 months and how have you effectively promoted sustainable behaviour amongst your clients?
  • Can you provide specific examples of how you are helping clients to adapt to emerging green opportunities and risks?
  • What evidence can you provide of how your organisation is reducing its own environmental impacts?
  • How are you helping to shape and promote the wider debate on the future of the green economy?

Marketing/Advertising Campaign of the Year

Open to any business that has successfully promoted green products, services, or achievements to customers, prospective customers, and/or stakeholders over the past year. Successful entrants will demonstrate an inspiring green marketing and/or advertising campaign that resonates with its target audience and has clearly led to increased customer or stakeholder engagement. The judges are looking for highly innovative green messaging that avoids marketing clichés and identifies new and effective approaches for driving demand for green businesses. The best entries will provide an insight into the campaign's backstory, clearly set out what the campaign was trying to achieve and the techniques it used to deliver on its goals, and provide compelling data demonstrating its effectiveness.

  • What was the rationale and goal for your green marketing/advertising campaign?
  • How did you identify the target audience and tailor the campaign to reach them?
  • How did the campaign embrace new and effective approaches to green communications?
  • What evidence can you provide detailing the success of the campaign?
  • What can other organisations learn from your campaign?

Employee Engagement Campaign of the Year

Open to any business, large or small, that has made a concerted effort to engage employees in green behaviour change and emission and waste reduction initiatives over the past year. The judges are looking for ambitious, innovative, and effective programmes that have raised awareness of environmental issues and demonstrably led to environmental performance improvements across the organisation. Leading entries will explain how the campaign was developed and what it aimed to achieve, demonstrate how barriers to employee engagement have been overcome, and show how support for green best practices amongst colleagues has been secured and maintained.

  • Why was a green employee engagement initiative needed in your business?
  • What steps did you take to overcome opposition to green behaviour change?
  • How did you identify your target audience, grab colleagues’ attention, and build support for green action?
  • How have you maintained support for green behaviours amongst colleagues?
  • What could other organisations learn from your campaign?

Energy Efficiency Project of the Year

Open to any project that has successfully delivered significant energy efficiency gains over the past 18 months, in the process highlighting the wide range of benefits associated with energy efficiency improvements. The judges are looking for ambitious projects that have deployed innovative technologies, techniques, and/or financial models to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, infrastructure, and/or transport systems. The most compelling entries will provide an overview of how the project was delivered, clear metrics detailing the energy efficiency gains that resulted, and an insight into how the project could prove a trailblazer for wider efficiency improvements.

  • What was the goal of the project and how was it achieved?
  • How did you make the business case for the project?
  • How did you overcome barriers to deployment?
  • How significant were the energy efficiency gains the project delivered
  • What wider environmental and commercial benefits resulted from the project?
  • What can other organisations learn from your experience?

Entrepreneur of the year

Entrepreneurialism is critical to the success of the green economy and as such the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards is seeking to recognise those business leaders that have stood out over the past 18 months through their successful efforts to build vibrant and innovative green businesses. Open to any entrepreneur who has founded and run a successful green business, the award is aiming to celebrate the best in green entrepreneurship. The judges are looking for an individual who has demonstrated true entrepreneurship and took a risk to build a new, exciting, and innovative green business, and has delivered significant progress over the past year. Successful entrants will be able to demonstrate how they identified a gap in the market, developed a business capable of meeting demand for a new and innovative green product or service, and have since taken successful steps to grow their organisation.

  • How did you identify the opportunity for your green business?
  • What barriers did you have to overcome to found your business and how did you succeed in turning your vision into a reality?
  • What evidence do you have of the company's success over the past 18 months?
  • How do you plan to build on your recent success?
  • What could other organisations learn from your experience?

ESG Investor of the Year

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is one of the defining trends for the investment industry in recent years, providing investors with the opportunity to mobilise support for greener industries and reduce exposure to unsustainable business practices. This award is open to any investor with a UK presence that is proactively taking steps to enhance their ESG products and credentials. The judges are looking for investors who can demonstrate how over the past 18 months they have successfully enacted ESG policies and evolved their investment strategy to support the green economy and tackle environmental and climate risks. The leading entries will provide a clear explanation of the company's ESG strategy and activities, evidence of how effective the strategy has proven, and an insight into how the investor has helped to drive greener business practices and improved climate risk management across its portfolio.

  • How has your organisation developed and enacted ESG investment approaches?
  • Can you give examples of some of your most successful ESG investments and/or engagements?
  • How have clients and assets responded to your ESG investment strategy?
  • How have you responded to climate and environmental risks that might impact your investments?
  • How have you helped shape the wider debate about the growing role of green finance in the economy?
  • What can other organisations learn from your experience?

Green Infrastructure Project of the Year

The net zero transition is, at its heart, an infrastructure challenge. The Green Infrastructure Project of the Year is open to any infrastructure project that aims to curb environmental impacts while delivering state of the art services to the public. The criteria cover, but are not limited to, smart grid, smart city, public transport, water infrastructure, and/or ecosystem services and natural capital initiatives. The judges are looking for projects that have taken clear steps to prioritise environmental performance and deliver the green infrastructure projects that will be critical to the development of a genuinely sustainable, net zero emission economy. The best entries will feature a clear explanation of the project's environmental aims and aspirations, an overview of the progress made over the past 18 months, and evidence demonstrating how the goals are being met.

  • How has the project curbed environmental impacts while delivering effective infrastructure and/or natural capital to the public?
  • How did the project ensure environmental performance was prioritised?
  • What challenges did the project have to overcome?
  • What clean technologies or green processes have been used to enhance the environmental performance of the project?
  • What can other green infrastructure projects learn from your experience?

Innovation of the Year Award

One of our most coveted awards, innovation of the year is open to any project or product that has demonstrated genuine innovation in the pursuit of improved environmental performance over the past year. The judges are looking for a technology, service, or business model that promises to deliver significant environmental gains, be it through deep cuts in greenhouse emissions, energy use, water consumption, waste production, biodiversity impacts, and/or other improvements. The strongest entries will showcase a genuinely unique technology, service and/or business model that challenges current business thinking, promises tangible environmental benefits, and has clear potential to tackle a pressing environmental issue. They will explain how the technology, service and/or business model was developed, detail how it is being used, and provide information on plans for its future deployment.

  • What makes your green technology, service or business model truly innovative?
  • How will it help deliver large scale environmental improvements?
  • How could your innovation be applied across the wider economy?
  • How big is the market opportunity your innovation addresses?
  • What are your plans to drive adoption of your innovation?

Leader of the Year | *Entries & nominations*

Who should be named the BusinessGreen Leader of the Year 2020? We are seeking nominations for a CEO or senior executive who has driven the development and adoption of more sustainable business models and/or cutting edge environmental initiatives over the past 18 months. The judges are looking to commend an inspiring leader who has not only been instrumental in driving positive environmental change at their organisation, but has also helped to make the wider case for the accelerated development of a green economy. The strongest contenders will provide clear evidence of the successful initiatives and programmes they have led, provide an impression of their commitment to and understanding of green business issues, and demonstrate how they have helped colleagues and peers embrace green business models and policies.

  • Why are you/the nominee one of the top leaders working in the green economy today?
  • How have you/the nominee promoted green business practices and the development of a sustainable economy?
  • What green business initiatives have you/the nominee worked on in the past year and what evidence can you provide of their success?
  • How have you/the nominee helped encourage colleagues and partners to embrace green practices?

Lifetime Achievement Award *Nominations welcome*

This special award will go to a green business leader who worked to advance the cause of the green economy throughout their entire career. The winner of the award will be selected by the BusinessGreen team with input from our judging panel. However, if you would like to nominate a green business figure who you think is particularly deserving of the BusinessGreen Lifetime Achievement Award then comments on their merits will be taken into consideration.

Manufacturer of the Year

Open to manufacturers that have taken steps to cut their environmental impact and support the transition to a greener economy, this award will celebrate those innovative organisations that are pioneering green manufacturing best practices and principles, and/or producing new clean technologies and products. The judges are looking for manufacturers who have taken proactive steps to enhance the efficiency and/or improve the environmental performance of their operations, while embracing new clean technologies or approaches. The best entries will include a clear explanation of the steps your organisation has taken in the past year, an insight into the rationale for your green measures, and detailed information and/or data on the environmental gains that have resulted.

  • What steps has your organisation taken to improve its environmental performance and curb the impact of your manufacturing operations and processes?
  • What green goals have you set and how much progress have you made towards them in the past year?
  • What makes your businesses sustainability strategy stand out from that of its peers?
  • What steps have you taken to promote the wider green economy to your employees, customers, and stakeholders?
  • What can other manufacturers learn from your company's experience?

Politician of the Year *Nominations welcome*

This special award will go to the politician who has done the most to advance the cause of the green economy in the past year. The winner of the award will be selected by the BusinessGreen team with input from our judging panel. However, if you would like to nominate a politician who you think is particularly deserving of the BusinessGreen Politician of the Year accolade then comments on their merits will be taken into consideration.

Renewable Energy Project of the Year

Renewable energy is the lifeblood of the green economy and this year's Renewable Energy Project Award aims to recognise those developments that have best demonstrated the cutting-edge innovation that defines the sector. The award is open to any renewable energy project delivered by an organisation with a UK presence that has demonstrated a wide range of the environmental and economic benefits associated with clean energy deployment and development. The judges are looking for renewable energy projects of any scale that deliver technical innovation, effective community and stakeholder engagement, and green jobs. The best entries will provide a clear picture of how the project was developed and delivered, metrics on its performance, and a sense of how the project can act as an exemplar for future developments.

  • What was the goal of the project and how was it achieved?
  • How did the project overcome any barriers to deployment?
  • What innovations did the project embrace to enhance its performance?
  • How did the project engage with a range of stakeholders?
  • What could other projects learn from your project's approach? 

Small Business of the Year

This award is open to any business employing fewer than 100 people that is committed to playing a leading role in the low carbon transition through the development of new green products and services and/or the pioneering of sustainable business and operating models. The judges are looking for firms that over the past 18 months have demonstrated how they are looking to enhance their environmental performance across their operations and promote the importance of greener business models. Successful entrants will explain their rationale for pursuing sustainable business models, detail the steps they have taken to improve their environmental performance, provide clear evidence of their success, and showcase how they are seeking to catalyse green gains across the wider economy.

  • What steps have you taken to reduce the environmental impact of your organisation and/or the products and services it provides?
  • How did you develop a business case for pursuing greener approaches and what challenges did you have to overcome?
  • What evidence can you provide detailing your organisation's success over the past 12 months?
  • How do you plan to strengthen your sustainability strategy over the next 12 months?
  • What can other businesses learn from your experience?

Sustainability Executive of the Year | *Entries & nominations*

The annual Sustainability Executive of the Year Award aims to recognise those champions of the green economy that drive environmental progress in their organisation each and every day. Open to any executive working to promote and deliver corporate sustainability improvements and drive the development of the green economy, the award aims to celebrate the individuals who are at the heart of efforts to deliver truly sustainable business models and environmental performance improvements. The judges are looking for entrants who have led the delivery of successful sustainability programmes over the past year, working closely with colleagues and partners to develop and execute effective environmental initiatives. Leading entrants will provide an overview of their role and responsibilities, detail how they instigated and executed sustainability initiatives over the past year, and explore how they are contributing to the development of the wider green economy.

  • What sustainability projects have you/the nominee led this year?
  • To what extent has your/the nominee organisation's environmental performance improved?
  • How has your/the nominee's sustainability strategy impacted the wider organisation and its stakeholders?
  • How have you/the nominee contributed to the wider development of the green economy?
  • What evidence can you provide of green business innovation that you/the nominee have instigated and delivered?

Sustainability Team of the Year

Open to any sustainability team that has delivered significant and quantifiable environmental improvements for their business over the past year, helping to drive the transition to a greener economy in the process. This award aims to recognise teams that have had a clear impact on their wider organisation, raising awareness of green issues amongst colleagues, enhancing business competitiveness, and delivering tangible operational and environmental improvements. The judges will be looking for evidence of effective team-work, innovative promotion of sustainability strategies, and effective execution of green projects. Successful entrants will detail the sustainability projects the team has worked on over the past year, provide insight on how the projects were delivered, and offer evidence of how the team is at the cutting edge of sustainability thinking for its sector.

  • What sustainability projects has your team undertaken this year?
  • What evidence do you have of the success of these projects?
  • How has your team helped bolster overall commercial competitiveness, as well as environmental performance?
  • How has your team promoted green projects and initiatives across the organisation?
  • What strategies have you deployed that other businesses could learn from?

Transport Project of the Year

Open to any project that has served to cut the environmental impact of transport activities in the past year, be it through improved efficiency, reduced air pollution, lower carbon emissions, and/or other means. This award will recognise innovative and effective transport projects that have delivered new technologies or ways of working in order to successfully tackle the environmental and social costs associated with our transport infrastructure. The best entries will provide clear evidence of environmental savings, detail the business case for the project and explain how it was delivered, and explore how the wider transport sector can build on the project's success.

  • What was the goal of the project and how was it achieved?
  • What technologies and/or processes were embraced to deliver the project?
  • What environmental and commercial benefits result from the project?
  • How did you develop the business case for the project and overcome any barriers to delivery?
  • What could other organisations learn from the project and how can it help unlock wider environmental gains?

Young Sustainability Executive of the Year | *Entries & nominations*

Open to any green professional under the age of 35 who has helped to drive substantial environmental improvements across their organisation and/or the wider green economy. This award is looking for innovative young thinkers who have served to raise the profile of green issues, developed exciting new ideas to tackle environmental problems, and are on track to play a high profile role in the future development of the low carbon economy. Leading entrants will highlight their main sustainability achievements, demonstrate how they have made an invaluable contribution to their organisation, and showcase how they are helping to drive wider progress in the green economy as a whole. Over the past decade many of the young sustainability executives recognised by the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards have gone on to have stellar careers in the green economy. Could you be one of this year's finalists?