Ordinarily, I’m on Team Entrant. Rooting for an organisation that has poured blood, sweat and tears into an industry award submission, in the hope of gaining deserved, independent recognition for their work.
Sometimes that’s because we write award entries for our clients – and we have a pretty impressive track record I must say!
In other instances it’s purely because we’ve watched our clients grow, evolve and change the face of their technical sector, so – however biased we might be – we’re genuinely sitting with fingers crossed that they’ll scoop a trophy to evidence their efforts.
But last week I headed to London to sit on the other side of the table. I had the task of a discerning judge at the National Recycling Awards.
Organised by MRW magazine, this scheme is something of an industry stalwart. It’s widely acknowledged as the equivalent of an industry ‘Oscar’ with a place on the shortlist regarded a significant achievement, let alone a win.
So, whilst spending a stifling day in a small, city centre meeting room may not be everyone’s idea of fun, it was a huge honour to be invited to join Team Judge.
My particular task was to sift carefully through the eight finalists for the Corporate Recycler of the Year category. Recognising everyone from waste management specialists to ordinary companies who have taken large environmental strides this year, this category was certainly one with stiff competition.
Each organisation faced a tense twenty minutes – a 10 minute presentation to hopefully seal the deal, before a 10 minute grilling (I mean, interview) by my fellow judges and I. We looked for evidence of innovation, supply chain dialogue, creative thinking and results-driven progress, to name just a few criteria.
I’m sure I also speak for my peers John Twitchen and Toni Waters when I say that the standardon the day was high. We heard some incredible stories both from organisations that are new to resource-savvy thinking and established brands that just don’t stop pushing boundaries when it comes to waste hierarchy excellence.
This made the day difficult and inspiring, in pretty much equal measures. The decision was unanimous – which certainly helps – but we did admit that there are certainly some ‘ones to watch’ for next year too.
Whilst we know who the deserving winner is, the results won’t be revealed until the glittering London Hilton ceremony on 28 June. All we can say is, watch this space…
My advice for organisations considering entering the National Recycling Awards or any other competition in the next 12 months..? Give it a go! Pack your entry full of as many facts and nuggets of evidence as possible, and don’t assume the judges know everything about your business. Give as detailed an insight as you can – within the word count – and be clear on why this is different/worthy of a winner’s status. I’m also keen to see the likely longevity of success too, so an idea of future plans and projections is also helpful.
To MRW, a special thanks for extending the invitation for me to judge. Having worked in communications for the environmental sector for nearly 10 years, I hope I can support you next year too!