Back in 2012 Thomas Kolster put together what was possibly the first list of creative ‘Awards for Good’ in his seminal Goodvertising: Creative Advertising that Cares book.
There were 12 including Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (Grand Prix for Good), D&AD (White Pencil), The One Club for Creativity (One Show: Green Pencil), Effie Worldwide (Goodworks), Golden Drum International Festival of Creativity (BestACT) and International Advertising Association (Socially Responsible Communications) and European Association of Communications Agencies (CARE).
Since then, not only have those awards expanded their repertoire of relevant categories but most of the other similar creative awards have added a category or several. And the ‘best of show’ or ‘grand prix’ of those shows are now often being awarded to those campaigns and initiatives winning the ‘For Good’ categories. At the same time, there’s also been explosion of other awards celebrating Social Impact, Sustainability, SDGs, CSR and others ways brands are behaving responsibly by putting people and planet first.
Thomas has judged many of the top awards from Cannes Lions to D&AD and that’s why he’s running a webinar early next month on the necessary hacks need to win them and create real impact:
In the meantime, we’ve put together the following list to give you a flavour of what’s out there. It forms part of compiling a more comprehensive one and calendar. In this sample, we have focused on those accolades that are awarded by panels of judges, rather than where awards are based on a set of metrics or KPIs.
Brand Impact Awards
Future PLC’s Brand Impact Awards is linked to their Computer Arts mag and CB: Creative Bloq. They also include a Social Impact award alongside their market-sector category awards and Best of Show ones that rewards how branding and design can make a real difference to the world. It’s not one that can be entered directly, but forms part of the entry submission.
Brandweek Constellation Awards
Ad Week’s Brandweek Constellation Awards recognizes the marketing efforts of brand teams across 33 categories. This includes the Best Team effort on Brand Purpose that awards the “best brand teamwork any cause-related initiative.”
Since compiling our original list, Cannes Lions have expanded their Awards for Good category, which “recognizes and celebrates the use of creativity to positively impact not only businesses and brands, but also the world at large.” The category now includes the following awards:
• Grand Prix for Good
• Glass: The Lion for Change
• Sustainable Development Goals Lions
• Unstereotype Alliance
The related regional awards also include Awards for Good categories. We’ve included links to those being awarded in 2020:
The Care Awards where co-founded by the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA) and ACT Responsible. Their aim is to highlight the advertising industry’s contribution to society by rewarding creativity’s contribution to social impact and environmental campaigns.
Core77 Design Awards
These awards recognize “excellence in all areas of design enterprise.” They include the Design for Social Impact category that is focused on those design projects that directly benefit social, humanitarian, community or environmental causes.
D&AD Impact has evolved from their White Pencil that rewards creative excellence that makes a difference, and now helps highlight and accelerate “creative ideas that demonstrate the potential of driving positive change.” This includes a 12-month programme of mentoring, training, promotion and bursaries for winners of the D&AD’s Future Impact category.
Effies: Positive Change
The Positive Change Effie Awards are run in collaboration with the World Economic Forum to celebrate the promotion of greater good through marketing communications by brands and non-profits. There’s an Environmental and Social Good track, and entry is via their worldwide partner programmes.
EthicMark® award are now managed by World Business Academy. They recognize “socially responsible advertising and media communications that uplift the human spirit and society” in two categories: for profit and non-profit. They weren’t run in 2020.
Fast Company: Most Innovative Social Good Companies
Fast Company’s Most Innovative Social Good Companies award recognizes organisations large and small that are transforming industries and shaping society. Submission are individually evaluated by a team of Fast Company editors and reporters.
Global Good Awards
Previously known as the National CSR Awards, the Global Good Awards “recognize and reward organisations of all shapes and sizes that are making strides towards a better world for people, the planet and the global economy.” The majority of entrants are UK-based, but entries are welcome from anywhere in the world.
Global SDG Awards
The Global SDG Awards offers 17 categories as part of an international sustainability competition honoring outstanding business contributions to the UN SDGs and Global Goals. It celebrates the best and most visionary corporate responsibility and sustainability initiatives, programs and business models from around the world.
With their Creativity 4 Change mantra, the Golden Drum awards are primarily focused on entries from the Adriatic, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as those transcontinental countries which border mainland Europe. They are split into a number of groups, including the Social Good one that covers a wide range of communication activities that are judged on a basis of social relevance of their message and their creative excellence.
The Halo Awards are a CSR, cause marketing and corporate social impact award focused on initiatives where brand purpose and social impact intersect to help build a better world and the bottom line. Run by the team behind the Engage For Good platform, the awards honor corporate social initiatives and cause marketing, as well as showcase successful consumer engagement and employee engagement efforts.
One Club’s One Show awards offer a number of special awards including their Green and Sustainable Development pencils. There’s also their Next Creative Leaders awards, run in conjunction with the 3% conference that is squarely aimed at elevating the next generation of women leaders. A new ‘award for good’ category is due to be announced in November.
PR Week Purpose Awards
PR’s Week’s Purpose Awards are open to agencies, brands, public sector bodies, nonprofits and NGOs. They recognize activations in a number of categories that use “creative ideas to further positive causes and also to acknowledge the organizations and individuals behind them.”
Reuters Events Responsible Business Awards
Formerly run by Ethical Corporation before their acquisition by Reuters Events, the Responsible Business Awards celebrates responsible business excellence and that includes a 2 day virtual broadcast in 2020 to showcase the winners of the 13 categories.
The Drum Social Purpose Awards
The Drum’s Social Purpose Awards offer 18 categories and best of show that celebrate the people and brands making a marketing the world in a better place through responsible marketing.
The Index Project Awards
The Index Project Award acts as a catalyst for groundbreaking innovation that recognizes the most impactful and iconic solutions from tiny tools that diagnose disease to environmental moonshots saving our most vulnerable ecosystems.
Here’s some other resources you might find helpful:
Not so much of a list of relevant awards but more of a community of ‘act’ive’ people that aims to ‘Inspire, promote, and unite the advertising industry on social and environmental responsibility for a better world that includes Thomas (see more here). They also have a gallery of over 18,000 of the best social & environmental campaigns created by 3,000 creative agencies for 4,500 NGOs, associations & corporations from 110 countries. In addition, they have also co-founded the Care Awards in partnership with the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA). Last but not least, they also produce The Good Report in collaboration with WARC that ranks the world’s best use of creative communications to promote sustainability and social responsibility to raise awareness of major social and environmental issues.
Their extensive database of all things advertising-related doesn’t have a specific Awards For Good list but many of the creative, advertising and media awards they list do have a relevant category or several.
This appears to be the worlds largest free list of Business Awards, and they have a number of relevant International, Regional and National lists including:
They have also compiled a List of International Marketing Awards and Global Advertising Awards. This list doesn’t specifically highlight those that have a specific Award for Good or relevant category, but like the AdForum one mentioned above many of those listed will have something along these lines.
Thomas and judging:
And as mentioned, Thomas has been judging his fair share of awards in this space. Here’s a selection:
Cannes Lions Sustainable Development Goal Lions, D&AD White Pencil, D&AD Impact Award, Danish Digital Award, African Cristal Festival, The Drum Marketing Can Change The World Award, The Drum Do it Day, The Drum Social Purpose Awards, EthicMark Awards, Creative Conscience Award, Warc Purpose Awards, EACA Care Awards, The Global SDG Awards, Creative Circle Impact & Effectiveness Award, The Cristal Goodvertising Grandprix, White Square, Creative Circle.
If there are any awards or resources that you think should also be included then please get in touch via the comments below.