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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.

Environment

How to be More eco-Responsible in 2018

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eco-responsible
Shutterstock / By KENG MERRY Paper Art | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kengmerrymikeymelody

Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.

Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:

1. Energy – produce it, save it

If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.

It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.

While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.

energy efficient

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By My Life Graphic

Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!

2. Don’t be just another tourist

Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.

3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly

eco-friendly

Shutterstock / By Khakimullin Aleksandr

We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t  mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.

To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.

It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.

4. Know thy recycling

People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.

People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.

5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool

Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.

All in all

The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.

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Energy

Top 5 Changes You can Make in Your Life to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

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reduce carbon footprint
Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love? - Image from Shutterstock - https://www.shutterstock.com/g/thodonal88

In a world, where war rages and global warming threatens our very existence, the inhabitants of earth need to be extra vigilant in their efforts to go green. This includes reducing your carbon footprint on the earth and leading a more sustainable life.

Many homeowners feel perplexed by all of the options available to reduce their carbon footprint. They may even feel (falsely) that making their household more green will fail to make that much of a difference in the fight to save our planet.

Even a single home going green has a massive impact on the environment. We can win this battle on home at a time. If you’re interested in accepting the challenge of making your household a green home, read on below for a few of the top changes you can make in your life to reduce your carbon footprint. We all stand to benefit from making the earth safer for future generations – and your wallet won’t complain when you start to see the savings in annual energy costs.

Switch From Dirty Energy to Clean Solar

The ION Solar reviews tell it all–solar is the best way to go. Whether your goal is to slash your energy bills, or to reduce your carbon footprint, the sun is a fantastic source of renewable energy.

It’s important to get past the hype from solar installers. Instead, listen to the plethora of impartial customer reviews that mention everything from a $20 energy bill, to the incredible feeling of knowing that you are doing your part by going green and minimizing harmful emissions in to our atmosphere.

The average investment is $15,000 to $30,000 for installation and purchase of solar panels. Optional battery power packs can help provide consistent power during both night and day. And many government agencies provide federal, state or local grants to help offset upfront investments in clean energy.

Depending on which installed you choose, your household may qualify for low-interest or zero interest loans to cover the up-front cost of your installation. And the loan payments are usually less than your current monthly power bill.

It really is a win-win, as home buyers are looking for homes that feature this technology – meaning solar power installation improves the resale value of your property.

Home Modifications

And there are a number of additional home modifications that can help improve the energy efficiency of your home. A programmable thermostat can better manage energy consumption from home cooling and heating systems while you’re away from home. And weather stripping your doors can help keep cool air in during the summer, and warm air in during the winter.

Of course, energy conservation starts at home. And this includes setting a powerful example for your kids. Teach your children how to close windows, strategically keep doors open or closed based on airflow, and encourage them to leave the thermostat alone – opting for adding or removing layers of clothing instead.

Unplug Appliances and Shut Off Electronics

Unplugging your appliances when they aren’t in use, such as the toaster and the coffee maker, has more of an impact than you might think. Set your TVs and stereos on sleep timers, instead of letting them run around the clock. The cumulative impact of wasteful electronic device usage is horrible for our environment – putting unnecessary strain on our electrical grid.

Recycle

One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by recycling. You are already throwing this stuff away anyway, right? It doesn’t take much more effort to just put recyclables in a separate container to be recycled, now does it?

Oh, and did I mention that you can earn money for recycling? Yes! Many cities and towns have recycling centers that will purchase your clean plastic and glass bottles for reuse.

Minimize Your Water Usage

Water is one of the easiest things to forget about when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. Preserve water by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Shorten your shower by a few minutes and turn down the heat on that water heater. You’ll be surprised at how much lower your water bill and your energy bill will be.

Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love?

These are just a few of the top ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and start living a greener lifestyle. And we aren’t factoring in all of the advantages that we’ll reap from public investments in a smarter energy grid.

From decreasing your water usage, to switching to solar for your home’s energy needs, you will feel good at the end of the day knowing you are doing your part to save the future of this planet for generations to come!

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