What the Sustainable City Awards mean to us.
By Mathilde Batelier
This is the time of year where we let the excitement fill us with the promises of new discoveries and surprises within the world of organisations that exist throughout the UK and beyond. The Sustainable City Awards are always a marvellous time of sharing and learning about the new ways that organisations promote and implement sustainability, no matter their sector, size or background.
LSx is thrilled to be running the Awards for the third year and is very eager to discover the exiting projects the participants will bring out this year. The fact that it is, indeed, the third year of running the Awards also allows us to reflect on their meaning and the message they intend to promote.
“What are the Sustainability City Awards?” You might be asking this if you have never heard of such a thing before, and you would be right to ask! If you fall into this category, or maybe you just need a reminder, here is a small summary. The Sustainable City Awards have been running since 2001. Originally organised and funded by the City of London, the Awards evolved throughout the years, offering the opportunity for an increasing number of organisations to participate and get the chance to win in several categories touching upon integrating sustainability in health, mobility or energy matters.
What you need to remember is that ANY organisation can participate and it’s free of charge!
The Awards offer the possibility to run in different categories, whether focused on health, transport or even how to manage resources. The goal of offering a wide variety of categories is to give organisations the possibility to run for the Awards, no matter what their sustainable move, project or scheme is.
Because, yes, it is partly about winning a competition and presenting a project to a wider audience. However, it is mostly about engaging discussion and debate on the means and ends of implementing sustainability within organisations, as they form a huge part of how the world is run. Indeed, sustainability is commonly put forward as this daunting and mandatory change that organisations are going to be bound to adopt soon, but have no idea how to do it.
It’s quite common to read of or hear about organisations that feel paralysed by the simple idea of implementing sustainability within their structure. Most asked questions usually evolve around: How can I do it? What would it be for? Does it actually change anything?
These questions are legitimate, and don’t worry, you are far from being alone. Even the champions of sustainability today have asked these questions, in fact they are an essential part of the process toward putting sustainability into action. These Awards provide an opportunity to discuss with others about what your view on sustainability is and how you think it should be put into action.
We cannot encourage organisations enough to participate: the more people, the more open and the more interesting and diversified the conversations on sustainability will be. The Awards are also a great chance to meet like-minded people, exchange on what has been done so far and get inspired overall!
While you ponder whether or not to apply, here are a few tips about how to achieve sustainability within your organisations, making them safer for the people and for the planet.
- Know where your organisation stands by analysing where the biggest challenges lie: waste management, energy efficiency, air pollution? You will be able to tackle the problem only by understanding what the problem is.
- Engage people: talk about sustainability, what people would like to see in the organisation, how it could be put into practice… They say communication is key, and this is definitely valid for implementing sustainability!
- Never forget that most of what you can start with is free or low-cost: whether is it about cutting down your waste or reducing your energy bill, you will save money in the long run while benefiting the planet.
- Educate: educate yourself and educate others around you. Learning about the problem will only bring about solutions. Furthermore, learning about sustainability allows people to engage on the matter and make the issue theirs!