Interview with Sedex Awards judge Mark Driscoll

With just over two weeks to get your entries in for the Sedex Responsible Business Awards, we asked judge Mark Driscoll for his thoughts on the importance of industry recognition, what he’s looking for and any tips for entrants.


What will you be looking for in an award-winning entry?

As judges we are looking for innovative projects and programmes that demonstrate tangible and significant impacts, benefiting suppliers and workers whilst celebrating best examples of responsible sourcing.  I will be looking for novel approaches, business models or forms of collaboration which have really transformed and improved the livelihoods of people and communities.  Alongside the demonstration of impact, I will be looking for projects which demonstrate how lessons and learnings could be replicated or scaled. Transparency. leadership and communication will be other key attributes we will be considering when judging the applications.


What advice would you give people who are thinking of entering the awards?

We welcome applications from around the world and encourage submissions from a wide range of buyer and supplier organisations large and small. If you believe that your project has made a difference to people’s lives at a community, local, national or global level, then do apply.

Think about those aspects which have made your project unique, how you have collaborated with others and those key ingredients which made your project so successful. Applications which have demonstrated collaboration can often be particularly powerful. Stories that show how you have engaged with suppliers, workers, farmers and local communities, demonstrating how they have benefited from the initiative are particularly insightful. Its therefore worth thinking about how these insights can be reflected in any application.

It’s certainly worth sharing your initial draft application with colleagues both inside your organisation and within the wider partner base to ensure you have captured all the salient points. There is an opportunity in your application to submit supporting evidence – sometimes pictures, news articles or evidence supporting how your initiative has been communicated can help the judges bring your submission to life!


Why do you think it’s important to celebrate the success of sustainability initiatives?

Around the world many organisations are working hard to overcome challenges. They are engaged in positive and transformational change, seeking to build sustainable, resilient value networks. In a world in which negative news stories often dominate our media headlines its vital we celebrate and learn from the positives. By sharing your stories, we amplify the power and potential of our networks to address critical global issues such as labour standards, fair wages and sustainable sourcing.  By sharing your stories, you will be able to connect with others working on similar issues. Others can learn from your success and most importantly, there is a real opportunity to scale or replicate this best practice without constantly reinventing the wheel.

Mark Driscoll is Founder and Director of Tasting the Future, a not-for-profit sustainable food systems consultancy. You can find him on Twitter at @DriscollMark.

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