All awards are equal, but some are definitely more equal than others – as George Orwell might have observed.
For the first time in our history, amid tough competition, Carillion has received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise to recognise our contribution to sustainable development. One of just eleven recipients in that category, announced on the Queen’s 91st birthday, the Award acknowledges sector leadership in sustainability and a responsible business commitment balanced across environmental, economic and social impacts.
As we finalise our 17th Annual Sustainability Report, and after 5 years of our Sustainability 2020 ambition, it’s a great honour to have won the Queen’s Award. However, it’s exceptional to have won it for sustainability.
Despite many challenges across our international operations, our people change lives, protect the environment and build a better business through their commitments. It’s core to Carillion’s strategy, but becomes reality only through their efforts – regenerating regional economies, cutting carbon and waste, enriching biodiversity, working to eliminate modern slavery or volunteering as a job coach to help someone break an unemployment cycle and rebuild their life.
The Award review process included a detailed analysis of our relationships with employees, customers, suppliers and other external partners. We also had to demonstrate a strong commercial case for sustainability, integrated with our core strategy and a contribution to profit through sustainable behaviours and actions.
In an era of spin and fake news, it’s easy to be a sceptic or maybe even criticise corporate responsibility as ‘green wash’. But those sceptics would miss the joy on a student’s face as the road-building project became an ‘environmental classroom’ to spark a lifetime of interest in nature.
They would miss listening to a young homeless girl quietly explain that her job placement and volunteer coach was helping her to rebuild a complex and challenged life. They would miss the thousands of workers who return safely to their families each evening through tireless investments in health, wellbeing and safety.
We’re working for a better environment, building a better business and shaping better communities where we work and live.
There’s a massive scale to what we do – dispersed across thousands of miles and three continents – and the sustainability we deliver is driven by our own people. Our programme is not only independently verified, it is fully backed up by evidence in an open and transparent way. Gaining the Queen’s Award recognises the value of investing in sustainability – it does matter, it does make a difference and does build a better long-term business for those who invest in us.
We will be able to use the esteemed Queen’s Award emblem for the next five years, but this journey hasn’t happened overnight – it’s been shaped for decades. And, it isn’t simply down to the strategy we were commended for, but it belongs to our teams who have collaborated with colleagues, customers, suppliers and international communities.
They can be justifiably proud.
In tough, competitive markets, we’re all ultimately linked by a shared tomorrow and shared ambitions to make it a better place. Winning the Queen’s Enterprise Award for Sustainable Development helps to show that doing the right thing will always be the right thing to do.