Image for 20 smart ideas that helped make the world better in 2022

20 smart ideas that helped make the world better in 2022

From biofertilisers that boost crop yields to a project that repurposes western e-waste, we look back at the winners of last year’s Global Good Awards

From biofertilisers that boost crop yields to a project that repurposes western e-waste, we look back at the winners of last year’s Global Good Awards

Sustainability – whether it’s around the environmental impact of the underwear you just bought, or how you heat your home – is a topic on many people’s lips. Although we tend to hear more about the laggards than the leaders, there are scores of people, projects and companies driving real change. Each year, the Global Good Awards champions the best of the best.

In 2022, given the urgency needed, the panel of judges has introduced strict new thresholds and will no longer award ‘gold’, the top level of recognition, solely because an entrant has scored the highest in a category. Instead, the winners will have to reach minimum scores of 80 per cent for gold, 75 per cent for silver and 70 per cent for bronze. 

“We’re finally waking up to the enormous mountain we have to climb in this decade,” the award’s founder, Karen Sutton says about the decision. “Serious action can and will save our very existence. We cannot wait until 2029 to start.”

Here’s who took home the trophies this year. All were awarded gold unless otherwise indicated. 

Best campaign of the year

Hubbub, Ellipsis Earth and McDonald’s, UK

Hubbub and Ellipsis Earth used drones and artificial intelligence to identify and map the different types of litter dropped across much of Dorset’s beaches, parks and urban spaces. The Neat Streets campaign then used those insights to introduce novel interventions, such as glow-in-the-dark bins, funded by McDonald’s. Litter was reduced by 75 per cent and city leaders in Glasgow are now interested in trying something similar.

Image: Hubbub

Technology for good

Dayrize, Netherlands

With greenwashing prevalent in many industries, consumers are crying out for more transparency. But product impact assessments have historically cost brands thousands of pounds and taken months to secure, putting them out of reach for most. Dayrize is the world’s first tech solution to evaluate the impact of a product in minutes using artificial intelligence. Judges called it “brilliant and much needed technology”, and were impressed to see that 500 brands have already signed up. 

Image: Dayrize

Best product of the year (joint ‘silver’ winners)

Sherwin-Williams, US

High bisphenol-A (BPA) exposure has been linked to long-term health problems, despite it commonly being used to preserve the contents of tins. Not exactly an appetising thought. After 10 years of research, paint and coatings manufacturer Sherwin-Williams has developed the world’s first non-BPA coating technology. It can be used in steel and aluminium cans across food, beverage and cosmetic products, and launched this year. 

Lightfoot, UK

Devon-based Lightfoot, a fleet management and driver coaching technology business, uses in-cab prompts and rewards to encourage drivers to adopt safer, greener driving habits. Its new platform was developed with behaviour experts from the University of Bath, and they now work with the likes of Tesco, Asda, Arnold Clark and Aviva to make deliveries go that extra green mile.

Image: Sherwin-Williams

Sustainable supply chain of the year

ofi (Olam Food Ingredients), UK

Food supplier ofi launched ‘Cocoa Compass’ in 2019, a plan to create a sustainable cocoa supply chain by 2030. It aims to help farmers earn a living income, eliminate child labour, and ensure the natural world is protected. Working across nine countries including the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Brazil, ofi trains farmers in sound agricultural practices, distributes millions of trees for agroforestry and income diversification, and has launched a child labour monitoring app.

Image: Ly Le Minh

Game changing innovation of the year (joint ‘gold’ winners)

Pivot Bio, US

Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser accounts for more than 2 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, pollutes the world’s waterways and negatively affects biodiversity. But farmers have had little alternative until now. Pivot Bio has developed ‘Proven 40’, the world’s first ‘biofertiliser’ of its type on the market. It helps farmers maintain yields for crops such as corn, wheat, oats and barley, through targeted fertilisation using microbes.

Octopus Energy, UK

The panel agreed that Octopus Energy is leading the way in transforming their core home heating offering, by ensuring access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all. In 2021, the company began offering a heat pump solution at the same cost – to install and run – as a gas boiler, and committed to training 1,000 new heat pump engineers per year. It’s “an excellent response to the heat pump challenge, helping accelerate this much-needed innovation into the mainstream,” the judges said.

Image: Pivot Bio

Circular economy

Genuine Solutions, UK

Since 2005, Genuine Solutions has prevented more than 9,000 tonnes of electronic waste from ending up in landfill, by recovering, reusing and recycling smart devices and accessories. The B Corp has built an extensive network of resellers and customers in more than 50 countries, and works with partners such as Three to distribute repurposed technology to Ukrainian refugees and other disadvantaged people in the UK. The judges said they liked this company’s “commitment to make preloved items more desirable than new”.

Image: Bruno Gomiero

Climate action: race to net zero


The digital services consultancy CGI has set some ambitious net zero goals. By 2026, it aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46 per cent for its own operations, and 46 per cent for business travel. The company has installed solar panels at its Bridgend offices, is trialling an ‘internet of things’ solution to monitor and reduce energy usage and has installed 30 electric car charging points. As part of its net zero commitment, CGI will also ensure that at least 50 per cent of its suppliers have set their own targets by 2026 too.

Image: CGI UK

Employee engagement and wellbeing

Lamington Group, UK

The judges were impressed with ‘Team Planet’, a campaign created by the property investor and developer, Lamington Group, which incentivised employees to make sustainable choices. Those included embracing a plant-based diet, eliminating the use of single-use plastics, and planting a vegetable patch. The group has also opened what it says is the world’s first net zero carbon hotel in London, reduced its energy consumption by 50 per cent and plans to open more net zero hotels in Belfast, York, Glasgow and Manchester. 

Image: Andrei Botnari 

Rewarding with purpose The Global Good Awards recognise organisations that are blazing the trail for purpose-driven sustainability and ethical leadership Find out how to enter today
Environmental behaviour change (‘silver’ winner)

Keep Britain Tidy and Newham Council, UK

There are more than 1m fly-tipping crimes in the UK every year. Newham Council, in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy, aimed to tackle this crisis with behavioural science, through its Better Streets programme. As well as educating residents about the impact of dumping rubbish, the team used crime scene investigation tape (printed with “illegally dumped rubbish under investigation”) on any fly-tipping, and stencilled messages such as, “dumping rubbish wastes £££ for your community”. Incidences reduced by 64 per cent and the campaign has since been rolled out borough-wide.

Image: Andrew Baker

Covid crisis champions

ACF Technologies, UK

The UK’s vaccine deployment was among the fastest in the world, with millions of doses delivered. But that wouldn’t have been possible without ACF Technologies and the appointment scheduling system it delivered in record time, and at unprecedented scale. The judges acknowledged that IT systems are difficult to design and implement in the NHS at the best of times, but said this was “an amazingly speedy and robust response”.

Image: CDC

Community partnership of the year

Solidaridad Network Asia, Stahl, PUM and the Leather Industry Association of Uttar Pradesh, India

Five years ago, a multi-year partnership was announced to clean up the Ganges River and support the Tamil Nadu region in northern India, where almost 600 artisanal leather manufacturers are located. The project offered training on better tanning practices, solid waste management and occupational health and safety. As well as improving conditions for tannery workers, the programme helped protect the livelihoods of small-scale farmers who rely on the water for irrigation, and dramatically increased the quality of the water used by the local population.

Image: Solidaridad/Elsa Scholte

Educational excellence

Sky, Adobe and We Are Futures, UK

The Edit is a digital storytelling challenge aimed at young people aged eight to 18, to build media literacy skills and boost the diversity of talent entering media professions. In 2022, participants were tasked with creating a 90-second video news report on either climate change or equality, diversity and inclusion. An estimated 78,000 students took part, many of whom were from areas of lower socio-economic status. Last year’s winners included a primary school in Bolton and secondary school in Torquay, whose news stories encouraging others to ‘#GoZero’ appeared on Sky News.

Image: Thomas Park

Best startup enterprise

Y.O.U Underwear, UK

Y.O.U Underwear is the highest-scoring B Corp in the UK, and top fashion B Corp globally. It specialises in ethical underwear made from Gots (global organic textile standard) certified, Fairtrade cotton, and donates two pairs for every one purchased. The recyclable undies are also made in a factory in India that prioritises sustainability and helps fund access to education for women and girls.

Image: Y.O.U Underwear

Individual leader of the year

Rachel Hodgdon, International WELL Building Institute, US

Last year’s bronze winner has been given the top prize in 2022 for her work as CEO of the International WELL Building Institute. Hodgdon is leading a movement to advance human health through better buildings, more vibrant communities and more equitable organisations. Her latest focus is on the development of a new rating that will help companies measure their progress against diversity, equity and inclusion, while giving them a roadmap for improvement. She also previously founded the Center for Green Schools, which deployed more than 750,000 volunteers to transform schools on every continent.

Image: Joy Asico/Asico Photo

Canon young champion of the year

Gold ‘under 21’ winner – Nabilah Chowdhury, School Strike 4 Climate, Australia

Nabilah Chowdhury may only be in high school but she’s leading the charge when it comes to building a better world. She is heavily involved with conservation projects, participates in UN Youth Australia as a delegate, and was one of the key organisers for School Strike 4 Climate in Sydney. The judges said she has “made substantial impact with passion” and believe she has “a strong voice for a great cause”. 

Gold ‘under 16’ winner – Netra Venkatesh, SpunkGo, Dubai

As the founder of SpunkGo, Netra Venkatesh leads a group of female students that organise free life skill webinars on topics such as leadership, empowerment and social media marketing for young women in Africa and central Asia. SpunkGo was launched during the pandemic and now has 5,000 members across 20 countries, with sessions presented by a range of experts. The judges called Venkatesh a “very deserving young champion”.

Image: Chang Duong

Global good SME of the year

JPA Workspaces, UK

Too often, office renovation involves ripping out the old and shipping in the new. But it doesn’t have to. JPA Workspaces works in business, education and healthcare settings, and runs a successful community furniture programme. It has rehomed almost 5,000 items of unwanted furniture in the UK, diverted more than 25,000 away from landfill, and saved clients over £1.5m by reconfiguring and refreshing existing furniture. It also has a range of ‘circular support services’, from repair shops to reupholstery.

Image: Jason Goodman

Global good company of the year

St James’s Place, UK

Proving that ESG (environmental, social and governance considerations) and commercial success can go hand-in-hand, wealth management company St James’s Place (SJP) hit a record high of £154bn in funds in 2021. That’s despite the firm turning down 60 per cent of prospective clients that did not meet their responsible investment standards. Fund managers are monitored specifically on responsible investing and the integration of ESG factors into their decision making. It’s all part of its mission to use money as a force for good.

Image: Edward Howell
Main image: Priscilla Du Preez

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