Liveable City awards launched

Over 100 UK businesses attended the launch of the Liveable City awards this week, at the Corporation of London's Guildhall. This is the fourth year of the awards which are designed to promote sustainable business practice among both the City of London's financial community and businesses throughout the UK.

The 2005 awards were presented in partnership with the UK Social Investment Forum, Future Forests Ltd, The Bridge House Trust, The London Sustainability Exchange, The Society for the Environment, The London Sustainable Construction Project and Earthwatch.

Speaking at the launch, Emma Howard Boyd, Chairman of the UK Social Investment Forum said: “Sustainable development is key to the future of the UK’s financial services sector. By forming a benchmark for success, the Liveable City awards are a must for any institution that takes this area seriously.”

The awards categories include sustainable and ethical investment and asset management; air quality and contributions to climate change; transport and traffic management; energy and water; and biodiversity.

Last year’s award was won by ISIS Asset Management for their work on a range of governance and socially responsible investment issues, including controversial areas such as bribery and corruption.

Keith Satchell, CEO of Friends Provident the majority shareholder in ISIS said that, as a large and long term investor in markets, he could see the benefits of sustainable development.

“In order to provide consistently good returns for our investors, we need to be able to invest in companies that are flourishing in thirty years, not just now. That means being able to anticipate and adapt to significant challenges such as climate change – as well as addressing issues which can affect company valuations today, such as poor labour standards or health and safety records.”

However, Mr Satchell added that this was not solely about ethical or moral considerations.

“One of the challenges of our work is proving that such risks do indeed relate to shareholder value. However, we are increasingly able to see, and to measure financially, circumstances in which our intervention as an active shareholder has protected or enhanced shareholder value,” he said.

Last year entrants ranged from the likes of ISIS Asset Management and UBS AG, to British Land, BAA Heathrow, BT Group Plc, EMI, MJ Gleeson Group Plc, Blind in Business and Shape.

The closing date for entrants this year is December 1st 2004.

By David Hopkins

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