Responsible business gongs recognise COVID-19 impact

London’s top responsible business awards are back after a coronavirus-prompted hiatus – with a focus on how companies across the capital have responded to the pandemic.

The Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards are held every year by the City of London Corporation to celebrate businesses in London and beyond which go the extra mile to make a positive impact on society.

Nominations open today (SEP 22), the date the awards ceremony was originally due to be held before it was postponed to spring next year due to COVID-19.

This year’s awards include a new category recognising companies which have found creative or innovative ways to respond to social issues prompted by the crisis.

They are open to businesses of all sizes and sectors which build strong community relationships, tackle disadvantage or inequality, promote inclusion or boost skills.

Lord Mayor William Russell said:

“It’s hard to overstate the impact COVID-19 has had on businesses across London, but the response to this unprecedented crisis from businesses and voluntary organisations has been magnificent to see.

“The Dragon Awards are about shining a light on companies across London and beyond which work with communities and the voluntary sector to have a positive impact on people and places.

“I look forward to seeing many examples of how firms have adapted existing responsible business programmes or launched new ones to tackle issues caused by, or exacerbated by the pandemic.”

This year, the awards are being organised for the first time by Heart of the City, the City Corporation-funded charity which supports hundreds of small and medium-sized enterprises with their responsible business programmes.

Sir Harvey McGrath, Heart of the City Chairman, said:

“Every day we see the social impact made by the businesses we work with, from supporting local charities to increasing the diversity of their workforce to developing more ethical products or services.

“We look forward to recognising the efforts businesses have made during the pandemic, whether it’s supporting the mental wellbeing of staff during lockdown or helping to support local communities battling COVID-19.”

The Dragon Awards are part of the City Corporation’s commitment to working in partnership with businesses, charities and neighbouring boroughs to create a more responsible, inclusive and competitive London

Nominations can be made online at www.dragonawards.co.uk until Tuesday, 1 December with judging to take place in February and March. The awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, 29 April, with the format to be confirmed, dependent on what coronavirus protective measures are in place at the time.

A video of the Lord Mayor introducing this year's Dragon Awards is here: https://youtu.be/eDFt6ry646c

Lord Mayor's Dragon Awards Categories

- The Lord Mayor’s Award for Innovation during COVID-19

Celebrates businesses that have developed creative ways to benefit London communities during the pandemic and have been responsive to social issues that have emerged or worsened during the crisis, such as inequality, homelessness, physical and mental wellbeing or food security.

- Inclusive employment award

Celebrates businesses that remove barriers to employment and progression for disadvantaged, under-represented or minority groups, creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

- Boosting social impact award

For businesses which use their resources, expertise and influence to support small businesses, social enterprises or charities in London to start up, grow or become more sustainable and impactful.

- Regional Impact Award

Celebrates businesses with a London presence that are using their influence and resources to strengthen regional communities and have an impact beyond the capital.

- Heart of the City Award

Celebrates businesses that have begun to have a social impact in London within the last three years and have demonstrated a strategic commitment to tackling social issues and put the foundations in place to deliver sustainable impact into the future.

- Community Partners Award

Celebrates community organisations working in partnership with businesses to achieve excellence in social impact and recognises good practice and innovation in building and maintaining effective cross-sector partnerships that benefit London. The community organisation should apply on behalf of the business.

- The Lord Mayor’s Special Award for Sustainable Investment

Aimed at promoting development of sustainable and green finance, the award is open to companies whose investment activities or advice has delivered competitive financial returns while also having a positive impact on society or the environment.

Notes to editors

- The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally successful UK – www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

- The City of London has had a Responsible Business Strategy in place since 2018 that focuses on ‘Individuals and communities flourish’ and ‘The planet is healthier’

- The City Corporation boosts young people’s employability through partnerships with City firms on apprenticeships, mentoring and paid work placement schemes

- In partnership with the Social Mobility Commission and Social Mobility Foundation, the City Corporation launched the world’s first Social Mobility Employer Index, which ranks the top 75 UK employers who have taken most action to improve social mobility in the workplace, incentivising firms to improve access to top quality jobs for candidates from all backgrounds

- The City Corporation plays an active role in the Financial Services Skills Commission, which aims to meet the acute skills gap and improve the diversity, inclusion and progression in the financial services sector

- The City Corporation has invested in in-house Mental Health First Aid Instructors, and to date over 100 employed have been trained. The City Corporation promotes health and wellbeing in the Square Mile through its Business Healthy Campaign

- The City Corporation celebrates diversity and is a proud signatory to the Women in Finance and Race at Work Charters

- City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, gives £25 million a year to charitable and community organisations and works closely with the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, which runs City Giving Day, a celebration of the City’s philanthropic and responsible business activities

- The City Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, has allocated £11 million to the London Community Response, set up to help charities deal with the impact of coronavirus, and has also given over £1.7 million in one-off grants to 202 organisations it already supports to help them offset lost income resulting from the pandemic.