UK Green Business Awards: 10 top tips to help your entry stand out

BusinessGreen staff
clock • 6 min read
UK Green Business Awards: 10 top tips to help your entry stand out

Judges at the UK Green Business Awards lift the lid on what makes for an award-winning entry

There is just under a month left to get your entry in for the second annual UK Green Business Awards and be in with a chance of winning one of the country's most prestigious business accolades.

To help you prepare an entry that can show your company, team or project in the best possible light we caught up with some of our judges to get some exclusive tips on what makes for a good entry.  

Check out the advice below, and we look forward to reading your entries showcasing the very best of the green economy.  

 1. Look to inspire

The UK Green Business Awards are designed to celebrate and inspire the green economy, and the best entries take that on as their mission. You want to showcase what you do best, how you are delivering real progress, and the positive impacts you are having both as a business and as a player in the wider net zero transition. As UK Green Business Awards judge Maria Nazarova-Doyle of IFM Investors explains, "this is your chance to inspire, to tell the story of your organisation's purpose and passion, so put the energy and emotion into the entry".

"It shouldn't read like a formal tender document: capture the imagination of the judges instead," she adds.

2. Tell a story

The best entries create a sense of narrative and tell a story about how an organisation, individual or project delivered on its mission. How did the story start? Who were the main characters? What challenges did you overcome along the way? Where will the story go next? Why does it all matter?

"Think about the story you want to tell and why, not just the details of what you did," advises Julia Giannini from Bupa Group. "Impact is as much about the bigger picture and the vision you're driving towards, as it is the real-world change you are driving today. Help us judges join the dots on that bigger picture."

3. Provide evidence

A good story can pull the judges in, but an entry also needs to be backed by evidence and data. Every entry should answer the basic journalistic questions of who, what, where, when, why, and how, before then providing further supporting evidence. Judges want to know the scale of environmental savings and economic benefits, as well as much information as can be provided on the investment behind a given project. Stats and partner testimonials can instil confidence a company or project is really delivering on its promise and allay any concerns over 'greenwashing'. 

4. Make it timely

Lots of companies have been working for a long time in advancing their green mission, but the UK Green Business Awards are focused on progress and achievements made over the past 18 months. The judges want to hear about your track record, but it is important to make it clear what has been achieved in recent years and why 2024 is the year your organisation deserves recognition.

"An important question is: why this year?" explains Mike Pitts at Innovate UK. "Make it clear why the last 18 months have been game-changing as far as your entry goes. Overall, I look for ideas that have scale of impact and can be rolled out to great effect. Innovative approaches and real results (with firm evidence) will always excite the judges."

5. Read the criteria and consider all the awards

You would be surprised how many entries can fail to address the questions posed in the criteria for each category. Given the breadth of the green economy, the categories are deliberately wide-ranging in their nature, but the criteria are there to provide a steer as to what the judges are looking for. The best entries address the questions posed, while still telling a story as to what made their project successful.

It is also worth considering which categories are most suitable for your business. Entries in multiple categories are welcome, but it is important they are tailored to address the different criteria.

6. Keep to the rules, including the wordcount

The judges have a lot of entries to get through, so keeping entries concise and sticking to the wordcount is hugely welcomed. "Less is more," says James Cole at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainbility Leadership (CISL). "Judges have lots of long applications to read and need to get to grips with your project quickly. Put the most important things first and only add more detail (if you really need it) at the end. That way the judges can orient themselves quickly and dig in if they need to."

As Nazarova-Doyle notes, the rules do matter. "Judges are strict but fair," she says. "As long as the award rules are followed, this already gives the submission a better chance of scoring higher points." 

7. Clarity is key

The judges are all respected and experienced sustainability professionals with expertise in multiple areas, but they may not be experts in your particular industry or technology. As such, it pays to provide real clarity on what it is you do and why you are doing it. Acronyms or technical terms are likely to need explaining and do not take it as read that everyone will instinctively understand what is unique or innovative about your approach. The best entries tend to be the most accessible, providing a clear explanation as to how what a company or project does, how it meets the entry criteria, and why it deserves to win.

8. Engage your team and partners

You may have been integral to a project, but the best entries are often a team effort. It can be really helpful to secure perspectives from colleagues or partners on what they think should be highlighted and would make for a compelling entry. They can also sense check any claims and help make sure an entry reads well, which inevitably increases the chances of it catching the eye of the judges.  

9. Don't aim for perfection

The UK Green Business Awards are designed to celebrate and showcase the best of the green economy, but when it comes to measuring progress and impact the judges understand not all baselines are equal. Over the years, the Awards have recognised carbon intensive and ultra-low carbon business alike and the categories are designed to support the transition towards more sustainable business models for all industries.

When it comes to sustainability and decarbonisation no business is perfect and the judges do not expect perfection when assessing the entries to the awards. If you can demonstrate real progress and a genuine commitment to developing green business models and technologies then you could be in with a chance of winning, even if you are only starting out on your sustainability journey.

10. Make sure you can attend the awards

One of the best aspects of the UK Green Business Awards is the way they can bring together a community of businesses and leaders who are committed to advancing the green economy. If you are entering, do take the time to check you and your team are able to attend the gala awards ceremony and dinner at The Brewery in central London on the evening of Wednesday 12th June. You wouldn't want to miss out!

The top 10 tips can also be viewed at the UK Green Business Awards website here.

You can enter the UK Green Business Awards 2024 now. The deadline for entries is midnight on March 1st.

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