'Good citizens' of business world to be honoured

Some of the best-known companies in Britain have been short-listed in a ground-breaking awards scheme that recognises the highest standards of social responsibility and employee engagement.

British Gas, BP and Lloyds Banking Group are vying with each other in the Peer Awards for Excellence 2012, which are sponsored by The Independent.

At a time when the economy has slipped back into recession and corporate reputations are suffering, the awards highlight firms working to be good corporate citizens and individuals with a record for innovation.

Each of the nominees is invited to speak at the Peer Awards Conference on 12, 13 and 14 June. Their entries have been shortlisted under two headings: corporate social responsibility and people and performance.

Stephen Citron, director of the awards, said: "The finalists will present their innovative work, receive much-valued acknowledgement from their peer community, have a chance to win a prestigious national award and the opportunity to influence and have an impact on the thinking of their fellow professionals."

Issues on the agenda include protecting the environment through the supply chain, educating local communities and using social media.

Those expected to attend and present at the event include McDonald's, which will discuss its online employee engagement programme, Coca Cola Enterprises, which is being recognised for its recycling efforts, and Mitie, the outsourcing company, whose training teams are being honoured. Also featuring among 30 shortlisted firms are Channel 4, the news broadcaster CNN and the cruise giant Royal Caribbean.

"The Peer Awards are different because they are not only about the winning," added Mr Citron. "They focus more on sharing and celebrating the outstanding inspirational and practical ideas that underpin the entries.

"The conference is not only about presentations and networking. You have many opportunities to gain lasting insight from speakers... about how they are overcoming real challenges."

Finalists hope to emulate last year's overall winner, Georgina Havers, principal training specialist at PPD, for her work on online training and web conferencing. The runner-up was Tara Mulqueen, duty manager and member at The People's Supermarket, with an entry about their community co-operative and its strong links with local farmers.

Entries will also be showcased online. Votes can be cast on the website before the winners are announced at an awards ceremony later this year.

For details of how to attend the conference or vote, visit thepeerawards.com.

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