UK Sponsorship Awards Doubles Down on Sustainability for 2022

Green champion award, increased editorial coverage and industry poll all planned to drive industry’s environmental agenda

Tokyo 2020 may have been beset by pandemic-related problems, but it can rightly claim to be the most environmentally-friendly Olympics ever. True, there are those who argue that the event hasn’t gone far enough, but the fact is that Japan has shown the way forward in a range of areas such as renewable energy, carbon capture and commitment to recycling. For all stakeholders in the rights holder/event/sponsor ecosystem, there is now an opportunity to build on Tokyo’s achievement by adding their own innovations. 

New Green Champion Award

For its own part, the UK Sponsorship Awards is planning to place an even greater emphasis on the issue of sustainability within the industry. In addition to its annual Sustainability Sponsorship Award, which attracts more and more entrants every year, this year will also see the launch of a new award to identify the ‘greenest’ executive in the UK sponsorship sector. As part of UKSA’s Champions of Sponsorship programme, companies will be invited to nominate one of their colleagues who champions sustainability in all their actions. Free to enter, we are looking for executives who live by a green code and have attempted to instil a sustainable culture within their firm. Perhaps they have even introduced green thinking to their client.

Consultancy Sustainability Commitment

In addition to the above award, participants in the Consultancy of the Year categories will be expected to outline their own commitments to sustainability when entering. While the ultimate winners will not be decided on the basis of their green credentials, supplying a paragraph on sustainable initiatives will be a minimum requirement for entry. Depending on the quality of entries, there may also be a one off Green Consultancy of the Year award to signpost sector achievements.

Enhanced editorial coverage

In the run up to the 2022 Awards, UKSA will also launch two further green initiatives. Firstly, there will be a spotlight every month on a sponsor that is making waves in sustainability. This will take the form of a 500-word story under the banner Green Sponsor of the Month. In addition, UKSA will also be sending out a survey to companies later in the year to ask them what green initiatives they have introduced and the challenges they have faced. Responses will form the basis of an information tool that will then be shared with the industry in the run up to the COP climate change conference in Glasgow later this year.

Inspiration for workplace transformation

As many stakeholders in the commercial sector have discovered, commitment to the green cause is challenging – often running into shareholder resistance, or not being seen as a high enough priority by employees. But the mood is undoubtedly shifting – even among oil giants like BP. In part this is driven by consumers, who are increasingly concerned by the floods, fires and extreme heat that are disrupting the patterns of their daily lives. But there is also growing pressure from governments for businesses to change their behaviour before it is too late. The message for stakeholders in the sponsorship sector is to start changing their own behaviour to get ahead of the curve.

Not everyone is able to make the kind of quantifiable difference that oil, automotive and airline firms can bring about. But even the smallest firms can make contributions – which is why UKSA decided to launch an award centred on personal responsibility. For ideas about how your company and employees can helping create a grass roots culture in support of environmental regeneration, visit these links:

This Forbes article is eight years old, but a lot of the advice in it still stands up to scrutiny. From ideas about controlling energy usage to tips on avoiding waste, the Forbes article illustrates how going green can also be an effective way of cutting down on bills.

Waste technology company Enevo uses digital tech to help smart cities, companies and other commercial organisations reduce their waste-related operational costs and increase sustainability. One of its key tips is to perform a self-audit, to really understand the scale of the problem an organisation is facing. Other advice includes encouraging green transportation among employees and furnishing offices with second hand gear where possible. Getting in the habit of procuring green materials is also key to hitting environmental targets. 

This article suggests incentives are a way to encourage greener behaviour among employees. Staff could be rewarded for choosing a carbon neutral community option such as running, walking, cycling (and maybe skateboarding after Tokyo 2020). In particular, companies are encouraged to sign up to the government’s cycle2work initiative, a way of saving money on bikes and spreading the cost. It may seem a small point, but indoor plants are also a step in the right direction.

In this seven-point plan, written pre-pandemic, remote working comes up as a theme. In all likelihood, wfh will continue to play a part in company logistics going forward, with environmental gains accruing according. Like enovo, the author of this article sees benefits in exhibiting a degree of self-awareness. Setting up a green team is suggested as a way of making sure sustainability becomes a norm.

Finally, this is a good blog to read because it is penned by an exec who works within the sponsorship/marketing sector. Drawing on a range of interesting sources, Hill & Knowlton Strategies director, sports + partnership marketing, Anthony Scammell looks at the kind of strategies the sports sector could introduce to help fire up the climate change debate. Especially interesting is the optimistic note Scammell strikes: “I believe sport can be a potent catalyst for climate action. A gamechanger for raising awareness and rapidly shifting opinions.” 

The same could be said for sponsorship as a whole. After all, the sector is packed with great communicators – many of whom are perfectly capable of moving the needle on this crucial social/business issue.

Next week – Green Sponsor of the Month: Ecotricity


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