Sustainability Leaders Awards 2021: Winners revealed at glittering virtual ceremony

Comedian Rachel Parris was on hand to announce the winners

The very best of sustainable business connected from the comfort of their homes for edie’s 2021 Sustainability Leaders Awards, which celebrate the individuals and organisations that are making sustainability ‘Mission Possible’, despite grappling with the worst impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.


Co-hosted by edie’s content director Luke Nicholls and renowned comedian Rachel Parris, the event marked edie’s first virtual ceremony in the 14-year history of the awards scheme.

A record-breaking year of entries saw 189 finalists shortlisted across 25 categories, with some of the evening’s standout individual winners including Willmott Dixon’s chief sustainability officer Julia Barrett – who was crowned the Sustainability Leader of the Year – and Bakkafrost’s chief executive Regin Jacobsen  – who scooped the Business Leader of the Year accolade. Meanwhile, Costain Group’s carbon manager Lara Young was named the Energy and Carbon Leader of the Year.

In the business categories, The Midcounties Co-operative was the only firm to take home two awards on the day – including the coveted Business of the Year award – while Virgin Media won the highly-entered Team of the Year award. Elsewhere, Nottingham City Council won the newly created award for the Green Recovery Initiative of the Year. 

And, in a surprise announcement on the day, Dame Polly Courtice, Director of the University of Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership, was revealed as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, joining the likes of Paula Polman and Jonathon Porritt in receiving the prestigious award for her services. You can view Dame Courtice’s acceptance speech in full, here.

Sustainability Leaders Awards 2021 – The winners

(In the order they were announced during the virtual ceremony)

Lifetime Achievement Award 

Dame Polly Courtice, Director, University of Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership

Building/Infrastructure Project of the Year

Tideway Legacy

Consumer Engagement/Marketing Campaign of the Year 

Zero Waste Scotland – Trial Period

Employee Engagement and Behaviour Change Initiative of the Year 

CBRE All Greens

Energy Management Project of the Year 

British Land Energy Efficiency Programme

Net-Zero Carbon Strategy of the Year 

LafargeHolcim Net Zero Climate Pledge

Social Sustainability & Community Development 

The Midcounties Co-operative

(Highly commended): The PepsiCo Foundation

Supply Chain Excellence


Sustainability Reporting & Communications 

Nestlé Cocoa Plan – Tackling Child Labour

Transport/Fleet Management Initiative of the Year 

DPD’s 25-25-25 vision

Waste and Resource Management Project of the Year


Water Management 

Barchester Healthcare and Demeter Water Solutions

Product Innovation of the Year 


Plastic Reduction and Innovation 

Colgate Palmolive

Circular Economy Innovation of the Year 


Consultancy of the Year 

Forster Communications

Green Recovery Initiative of the Year 

Nottingham City Council – Tackling Fuel Poverty to facilitate a green COVID-19 recovery

Investor of the Year 

Cyan Finance

Small Business of the Year 

Crystal Doors

Rising Sustainability Star 

Jonathan Ayton, Willmott Dixon

Team of the Year 

Virgin Media

Energy and Carbon Leader of the Year 

Lara Young, Costain Group

Sustainability Leader of the Year 

Julia Barrett, Willmott Dixon

Business Leader of the Year 

Regin Jacobsen, Bakkafrost

Business of the Year 

The Midcounties Co-operative

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners! 



edie staff

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie