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Health and wellbeing initiatives to take centre stage at this year’s UK-wide Sustainable City Awards

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The City of London Corporation has announced that the 2016 Sustainable City Awards (The ‘Green Oscars’) are now open for entries. For 14 years, the awards have celebrated and honoured outstanding contributions to sustainability across sectors as diverse as buildings, health and wellbeing, climate change and food. This year’s awards focus particularly on the health and wellbeing category.

In April, a YouGov survey found that more than half of all employees suffer from burnout, severe anxiety and physical and emotional exhaustion in the workplace. The City of London Corporation hopes to recognise those organisations across the UK who put staff wellbeing at the forefront of their business strategy.

The prestigious awards, run by City of London Corporation attract the best UK organisations which are committed to sustainable initiatives.

Simon Mills, Head of Sustainable Development at the City of London Corporation, says:‘The UK-wide Sustainable City Awards are designed to recognise the sustainability initiatives of all businesses big or small across the full range of sectors.  This year, we are recognising those businesses and organisations which put the health and wellbeing of their staff at the top of their business agenda. We have had previous winners including the sustainable food initiatives, green entrepreneurs and ethical fashion. As an organisation, we are proud to be recognising the sustainability initiatives of such a wide range of businesses and organisations who have worked hard to ensure they are the pioneers of sustainable business development.’

The Sustainable City Awards are open to all types of UK organisations from the private, public and third sectors. Whether entries are from a multinational corporation or a community-run action group, the City of London Corporation would like to hear how businesses are ensuring staff wellbeing. The awards have been designed to allow all organisations, no matter how large or small to compete on an equal basis.

The diversity of the awards reflects the City of London Corporation’s commitment to sustainable growth and its recognition that organisations and firms, no matter what sector, collectively contribute to a sustainability agenda that will benefit current and future generations with jobs and growth underpinning the City’s mandate. From financial markets to fish-markets, and from parks to the arts, since 2001, hundreds of organisations – from cycling and traffic management initiatives to fashion up-cyclers and supermarket chains – have been recognised for their efforts to drive green growth.

The Awards this year will be held in the Lord Mayor’s residence, Mansion House, in March 2016.

To apply for any of this year’s Sustainable City Awards, visit the website: www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/sca for application and entry details.

CRITICAL DATES

– September 2015: Launch of awards

30th November 2015: Closing date for applications

– December-February 2016: Judging

– March 2016: Awards Ceremony

SUSTAINABLE CITY AWARD CATEGORIES

Sustainable Finance

In association with UKSIF

This category recognises and rewards innovation and best practice in all areas of sustainable investment and finance that support sustainable economic development, enhance quality of life and safeguard the environment.

The Farsight Award

In association with Gresham College, USS and Z/Yen

The Farsight Award recognises the best individual piece of analysis by an investment research institution which integrates traditional financial analysis with longer term issues such as climate change, corporate governance and human capital. Contributors to the London Accord will automatically be entered.

Tackling Climate Change

In association with The Institute for Sustainability and the Worshipful Company of Fanmakers

This category recognises and reward organisations who are taking steps to mitigate the effects of their activities on climate change or to adapt their operations to reflect the impacts climate change will have on their business.

Sustainable Travel and Transport

In association with Campaign for Better Transport

This category recognises and rewards innovative schemes which encourage people to make more use of sustainable forms of travel, transport and logistics, or which reduce the impact of traffic and transport on the environment.

Resource Conservation

In association with the Worshipful Company of Launderers and the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators

This category recognises and rewards organisations that are taking positive steps to improve resource conservation through reducing the consumption of water, gas or electricity.

Building Sustainable Communities (London only)

In association with the Worshipful Company of Patten Makers and the City Bridge Trust

This award is for voluntary organisations that can demonstrate their work makes a tangible difference to the sustainability of their locality by bringing people together, especially from across different communities.

Sustainable Buildings

In association with the CIOB and the Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors

This category recognises and rewards excellence and innovation in sustainable building design for new build and refurbishment projects.

Health and Wellbeing

In association with the City of London Health and Wellbeing Board

This category recognises and rewards businesses that have outstanding practice in relation to sustaining the health of their workforce: organisations that are doing really innovative work to recognise that their people are their most important assets, and creating work environments and cultures that promote and sustain all aspects of health and wellbeing

Sustainable Places

In association with British BIDS, the London Sustainability Exchange, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners

This category aims to recognise and reward organisations who work to create unique sustainable characters for town centres and industrial parks- not only enhancing the quality of life of all those who visit, work or live there but acting as a significant attractor for business investment.  For more information see the “This Year’s Theme” page on our website.

Responsible Waste Management

In association with the Clean City Awards Scheme

This category recognises and rewards best practice with respect to responsible waste management. Applicants should demonstrate innovative waste management practices particularly with respect to implementing the waste hierarchy of minimising waste, reusing and recycling materials. Judges will also be looking for evidence of how the organisation is tackling wider waste issues, such as compliance with Duty of Care Regulations and engendering pride in the local environment.

Air Quality

In association with Building and Engineering Services Association and Kings College London

The Air Quality Improvement category recognises and rewards innovation and best practice in reducing emissions of air quality pollutants and mitigating the effects of business activities on local air quality.

The Sir Peter Parker Award

In association with BCE Awards and WRAP

An award will be made to the organisation which best demonstrates leadership in sustainability. This organisation will be chosen from the winners and highly commended entries in each of the above categories.

Sustainable City Awards Overall Winner

The organisation that best demonstrates a pioneering approach to innovation and leadership in sustainability will be presented with the Overall Winner’s trophy. This organisation will be chosen from the winners and highly commended entries in each of the above categories by a high level judging panel comprising category partners and eminent guests.

Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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Energy

5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable

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sustainable homes
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By Diyana Dimitrova

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.

1. Weather stripping

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.

Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.

Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.

2. Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Olivier Le Moal

Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.

Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!

3. Low-flow water hardware

With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.

Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.

Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs

An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.

New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.

5. Installing solar panels

Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.

Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.

From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!

These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.

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