Tried and tested tips to help you win sustainability awards

Amy Foster, Account Director

Awards are an excellent way to celebrate successful projects. External recognition of best practice rewards achievements whilst also creating some healthy competition with colleagues or industry peers. Working towards a submission can be a strong motivator to start and build momentum around an initiative.


The Green Apple Awards recently marked their 25th anniversary: as one of the longest running schemes to commend the sustainability advances made by organisations The Green Organisation is a leader in the field. The Property Management category champions the sector and promotes solutions to its’ specific sustainability challenges.


I particularly like the fact that judges looks beyond financial investment, which isn’t always available, and supports effort as well as celebrating innovative approaches taken to implement environmental best practice.


Following Savills’ success at the 2019 Green Apple Awards, particularly for waste and recycling results, here are 5 tried and tested tips to help you develop award winning projects (and fill those trophy cabinets!):


1. Start with a strategy

Work with your waste management partner to set your own waste and recycling strategy; it doesn’t have to be overly complicated, remember small changes DO make a difference. Identify the problem to tackle or behaviour to change and be specific about the issues and solution. You could select 3 key objectives which are achievable and measureable.


Plan ahead because change takes time; weeks fly by but it’s projects with strong, clear results which win awards.


2. Make sure the plan is achievable

Understand the resources available for your project; how will the objectives be achieved? and what will the benefits be for your organisation? A strong waste management company will support you with this.


You don’t need to spend thousands on the latest piece of technology. Often focussing on core best practices on-site will result in big improvements – and until the basics are in place the full benefits of investing in expensive equipment are not realised.


Also, be realistic with timeframes for awards. Rather than rush a submissions it is better to enter the following year with a robust and well thought out entry demonstrating tangible results which will be noticed by the judges.


3. Track the project (and adjust direction if you need to)

Expect challenges! Projects rarely run completely to plan – don’t be afraid to revisit the strategy and adjust if need be. Deadlines for stages of the project can be useful to help keep things on track.


4. Measure results

As part of the planning stage choose what to measure and collect data before making any changes to record the starting point. Note the changes implemented, what worked, and most importantly - the benefits of the project (financial, social and environmental).


5. Craft a winning application

The best award entries are clear and concise. Many submission forms have fairly low word limits so it’s important to make every word count and create a compelling case for your entry to win. Bullet points, achievement highlights and quantified results work well for strong answers.


Electronic submission forms are the norm and they are not always easy to use. For example some have time limits whilst others can’t be saved half way through and need to completed in one go. It’s often useful to work on answers, and any supporting documents, separately offline then paste in the finalised responses with attachments which enhance the story.


Lastly, watch the deadlines – both for entries and any submissions fees – to ensure all that hard work isn’t wasted.


Good Luck!


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Awards are an excellent way to celebrate successful projects (fill those trophy cabinets in 2020!)
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