Apply

Who can apply?:

All categories with the exception of the Green Team award are open to any* Scottish based business or social enterprise that contribute to the sustainable development of Scotland.

The Green Team Award is open to all public and private sector organisations including charities.

*Current partners and sponsors of the VIBES Awards are not eligible to enter.

What Category?

There are nine categories:

  • Innovation
  • Management (250+ employees and <250 employees)
  • Environmental Product or Service
  • Hydro Nation Water Innovation
  • Sustainable and Active Travel
  • Circular Economy
  • Green Team
  • Best Micro Business

There is also a special commendation for adaptation to climate change as part of all categories.

You can apply for more than one category. Have a look at our decision tree to find out which category is best suited for your business. 

Application process:

The application process is split into three stages:

- Stage 1: application form is a one page summary designed to draw out information particular to each award category and to enable the judging panel to assess your application. Please find application forms per category below.

- Stage 2: Applications scoring highest in stage 1 will be shortlisted and invited to provide further information in stage 2 of the process.

- Stage 3: Applications scoring highest in stage 2 will be selected as finalists and will receive a judging site visit

When:

Applications open on 13th March and close at 5pm on 27th April. For more information have a look at our key dates.

Innovation Award

Innovation Award

The Innovation Award recognises businesses, partnerships, collaborations or individuals within a business that have developed, innovative technologies, products, practices or services that bring environmental and business benefits. This category highlights the ability of businesses to promote sustainable consumption, reduce environmental impacts and create new business opportunities


The innovation could be a novel way of, for example, product design; change of a process to re-use waste, heat, energy, water; product re-use, repair and remanufacture; innovative business models; effective supply chain and cross-sectoral collaboration to reduce waste and/or use of raw materials. It may also include a collaborative approach with other organisations or within your own organisation.


The technology can be, but does not have to be, new or high tech. The application can utilise an existing technology and /or modification of an existing technology for a new product or service. Entrants’ product may have already been developed and in the marketplace, or it may still be in the development stage.

 

Management Award

Management Award

The Management Award recognises businesses with the strategic vision and management systems that enable them to continuously improve their contribution to Scotland’s sustainable development. This award is for the holistic management of sustainability within a business across all functions.

A business with a successful application will be able to demonstrate management systems that:

  • Have improved environmental performance e.g. through resource efficiency, staff and supply chain engagement, climate risk management etc.
  • Have achieved associated economic and social benefits, such as cost savings, providing local employment opportunities, engagement with local schools, colleges, community groups, charities etc.
  • Have incorporated targets and indicators for monitoring and reporting performance.
  • Have included the opportunity to engage stakeholders to provide feedback that can be used, where practical, to help shape decisions.
  • The organisation must show that it is leading the field and setting an example that others will be inspired to follow.

There are two awards:

  • Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME): <250 employees
  • Large: > 250 employees.

In addition to the management award there is an opportunity for a commendation award for adaptation to climate change within this category.

 

Environmental Product or Service Award

Environmental Product or Service Award

The Environmental Product or Service Award recognises businesses that have developed, or are developing, a product or service that brings environmental and business benefits. This category highlights the ability of products and services to promote sustainable consumption, reduce environmental impacts and create new business opportunities.

Entrants should have considered the entire environmental lifecycle of their product or service, i.e. material extraction, production, distribution, use and disposal.

The product or service may be a new or modified design, or the innovative application of an existing one, that promotes more sustainable patterns of production and consumption. Entrants’ product or service may have already been developed and in the marketplace, or it may still be in the development stage.

Circular Economy Award

Circular Economy Award

The Circular Economy Award recognises businesses that can demonstrate a circular approach to material use and business function.

This category is aimed at businesses that can demonstrate how their product or services address the principles of the Circular Economy, which should include one or more of the following elements:

  • Circular product design and innovation
  • Product re-use, repair and remanufacturing
  • Innovative business models
  • Materials substitution
  • Effective supply chain and cross-sectoral collaboration
  • Re-use of waste, heat and energy.

A Circular Economy approach ensures that materials are retained within productive use, in a high value state, for as long as possible.  It focuses on reshaping business and economic systems so that waste is ‘designed out’ of how we live. 

Sustainable and Active Travel Award

Sustainable and Active Travel Award

The Sustainable and Active Travel Award recognises businesses that have provided a significant reduction in their environmental impact from the introduction of active travel and sustainable transport activities. This could be through;

  • Installing technology that reduces the need to travel, such as conference call systems
  • Setting up a cycle to work scheme
  • Encouraging walking, cycling and public transport use
  • Encouraging visitors to use sustainable and active travel
  • Introducing walking meetings
  • Providing pool bikes / electric bikes
  • Cycling mileage re-imbursement
  • Providing facilities for active travel e.g. cycle parking, shower, changing, drying facilities
  • Using ultra-low emission vehicles where travel by car is the only available option
  • Any other initiatives that have been implemented to reduce your transport impact on the environment
Green Teams Award

Green Teams Award

The Green Team Award rewards teams that have recognised the importance of working as a team to deliver environmental improvements. A green team can be within an organisation or between organisations.

This award can apply to organisations (public and private sector) or collaboration between different organisations to achieve efficiencies.

  • Successful green teams comprise people from different departments and levels of seniority. This helps to ensure that ideas are varied and dynamic.
  • A key attribute needed from green team members is enthusiasm.
  • Team members do not have to be ‘green.’ Indeed, those who understand the commercial imperative of resource efficiency can be powerful in motivating others to act who have similar attitudes.

Benefits that a green team can offer can include:

  • Cost savings – reducing costs associated with waste, energy and water;
  • Attracting and retaining talent – supplying transferable, in-office skills, improving employee morale and satisfaction, reducing staff absenteeism;
  • Influencing others at work and at home;
  • Customer expectations – strengthening brand and increasing market share;
  • Regulatory compliance – staying ahead of legislation;
  • Aligning practices with values – walking the talk; and
  • Sharing best practice – within the organisation and to a wider audience.
Hydro Nation Water Innovation Award

Hydro Nation Water Innovation Award

The Hydro Nation Water Innovation Award recognises businesses, partnerships and collaborations that have specifically developed innovative products, practices or services in the area of water treatment and water technology.

The innovation could be a novel way of, for example,

  • reducing chemical use or removing priority substances,
  • recovering nutrients,
  • reducing energy or other operational costs of water use,
  • recovering energy or heat from waste water or sewage,
  • treating waste water,
  • creating value through the application of circular-economy principles,
  • providing water services to remote communities.
  • Engaging diverse water users in transparent and consensus-based processes

Technology encompasses both hardware and soft approaches (e.g. processes), and does not have to be, new or high tech. The application can utilise an existing technology and /or modification of an existing technology for a new product or service but there should be gains in either efficiency or outcomes compared to the conventional technology that would be replaced. Entrants’ product(s) may have already been developed and in the marketplace, or may still be in the development stage.

Micro Business Award

Micro Business Award

An additional award for the best entry to any category from a company with less than 10 employees.

Our Sponsors & Partners

AdaptationScotland
Anglian Water Business
Energy Saving Trust
Greenvale AP
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Edinburgh centre for carbon innovation
Pernod Ricard
Scottish Enterprise
Farne Salmon
Scottish Water
ScottishPower
SEPA
The Scottish Government
The University of Stirling, Management School
Zero Waste Scotland

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