'Responsible' Diageo take all the plaudits at Business in the Community awards

Accepting the diageo award are Lynn Graham, Jorge Lopez and Claire Hutchinson from Diageo with Kieran Harding of Business in the Community (left) and Alex Crossan representing sponsors BT (right)

GLOBAL drinks giant Diageo claimed the night's top accolade at the Business in the Community-run Responsible Business Awards in front of 500 guests in Belfast's Waterfront Hall.

The maker of Guinness and Smirnoff was named Responsible Company of the Year at the 11th running of awards which celebrate firms in Northern Ireland which are making a difference by taking practical action to address pressing social and environmental issues.

Allstate NI achieved UK recognition in the BUPA Employee Wellbeing Award category for the second year in a row, for its employee wellbeing initiative Energy for Life, while Phoenix Natural Gas was also reaccredited for a further year in the Santander Responsible Small Business Award category.

Other winners in the awards - sponsored by Electric Ireland and in association with Ulster Business Magazine - included Asda, AES UK & Ireland, Firstsource Solutions, Farrans Construction, Henderson Group, Carillion Energy, Encirc and Seagate Technology

Roy Adair, chairman of Business in the Community NI (, said: “These awards provide a valuable platform to showcase and share responsible business practices. They are the perfect vehicle from which businesses can learn from one another, grow and develop, and I congratulate all the winners and those short-listed for being truly inspirational.

"I hope the achievements of the winning companies will encourage others to put responsible business at the heart of what they do.”

Keynote speaker Matthew Burton from the hit series ‘Educating Yorkshire’ spoke to the audience about his passion for education and the vital need for business to be involved in schools at all stages – from early years through to post-primary and further education.

Two young people who have come through the care system and their business mentors, who worked together through the Aiming Higher project showed the raw edge and enormous impact business can make in society.

Guests were also treated to a spectacular display of stilts, fire and silks artists, music by Ulster Youth Orchestra and entertainment by Jack Pack, the contemporary swing pop group that became famous on Britain’s Got Talent.

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