- Total entries up 40%
- International entries see significant year-on-year increase
- Judging panel expands to accommodate growth in entries
- Canon Young Champion category open until 21st May
Overall, entries across all 17 categories are up 40% on 2020 and there has been a significant increase in entries from companies and organisations from outside the UK too. Karen suggests that the move to a virtual event – announced last November – may be a factor.
“As a UK awards programme – and previously only open to companies with a UK presence until 2018 – we’ve normally seen 80%-90% come from the UK. This year global entries (those outside UK) have grown to 40-45% with entries coming in from all over the world including New Zealand, Australia, Canada, USA, Thailand, Taiwan, UAE, India and Africa to name a few,” she says.
Another reason for the swell in entries, Karen believes, is down to the introduction of the COVID Crisis Champions Award. A free-to-enter category (for those entering another category and to any public sector healthcare services), this award recognises and celebrates organisations which have gone the extra mile in responding to the impact of the pandemic – whether on a local, national or global level. “It’s been humbling to see the number of entries for this category. We’ll be splitting them into two groups: those organisations with under 250 staff and those with over 250 to allow for two gold, two silver and 2 bronze winners. Efforts such as these needs special recognition,” she explains.
As a result of the number of entries to this category, GGA has had to draft in more judges to help support the existing 32-strong team. New to the panel are John Sage, corporate responsibility manager at Tideway (sponsor of Company of the Year category); Estelle Levin-Nally, a recognised leader in human rights; Joey Tabone who has recently helped develop and lead a Covid-19 related business initiative called the National Business Response Network with BiTC; and Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, a sustainability professor from the University of Cambridge. You can see their full bios, along with those of the other judges here.
Given the global pandemic and the challenges of the past 12 months, Karen admits that last autumn she had her doubts whether the awards would be running in 2021 at all. “During lockdown I did consider skipping a year but how wrong I would have been! It’s been truly inspiring to see how organisations have stepped up in unprecedented times, going the extra mile for their communities and keeping sustainability on the radar. I can’t wait to listen in on the judges Zoom calls, scheduled for 1st-3rd June, to find out more about who’s made the shortlist!”
While the main deadline for the awards is now closed, the free-to-enter Canon Young Champion of the Year category remains open until 21st May. So, if you know a young person campaigning for a good cause around a social or environmental issue, aged between 9-21, then why not nominate them or encourage them to enter? Entries are accepted from the champion themselves, their parent or guardian, or the organisation for which they are championing. You can submit an entry to this category, sponsored by Canon EMEA, here.