Rewarding Leadership in Fashion

For CO, leadership means having the courage to do the right thing - and doing it well. The CO leadership awards put the spotlight on businesses with great products or services - that maximise benefits to people and minimise impact on the environment.

Winners gain recognition and a higher search ranking on the CO site - increasing the profile of your business to leading press and buyers.

See previous winners

For updates on the awards, join CO or subscribe to our newsletter.

  • Award categories and rewards

    There are two award categories:

    1. The CO Leadership Award

    Any business that operates in the fashion industry and meets at least four of our six leadership criteria is eligible for a CO Leadership Award. (See Criteria & How to win for further details).

    Winning businesses benefit from:

    • A leadership award badge displayed on CO business profile and for use in emails, websites and social media.
    • Higher search ranking and therefore more profile on CO, increasing visibility and traffic to your profile.

    2. The CO 10 Award

    Any business that meets all six of the six leadership criteria is eligible to be shortlisted for a CO 10 award. This shortlist is reviewed by a panel of high profile judges, leaders, buyers and influencers in the fashion industry.

    Ten winners gain a CO 10 award that increases search ranking and profile on CO. In addition, CO 10 award-winners gain promotion to the CO network through newsletters, social media, and through our media and network partners.

  • Why Apply

    CO is the world’s leading sustainable sourcing and information platform for the fashion industry, used by thousands of buyers, brands and suppliers.

    Gaining a CO leadership award will underline your commitment to sustainability and best practice. Winners benefit from a higher search ranking on the CO site, which will make your business more visible to our members.

    CO members include representatives from leading retailers such as Farfetch, Net-a-porter, Selfridges, ASOS and Saks Fifth Avenue, luxury brands from Kering to Burberry, Prada and Stella McCartney, and global corporates from H&M to Inditex, Nike and M&S, as well as hundreds of other brands, retailers and suppliers.

  • How to Apply

    CO Leadership awards are open to all businesses operating in the fashion industry - in any capacity, regardless of size or location.

    To enter the awards:

    1. If you don't have a business profile, create a business profile on CO
    2. Complete your business profile to at least 60%, ensuring that all sections are complete. (see % completion to the right of your personal dashboard)
    3. That’s it! The CO awards team will review all business profiles completed to this level and consider them for a leadership award.

    Awards applications will open again in July 2022. However business profiles are reviewed monthly by the CO awards team - we aim to support businesses over the line to gain an award. We therefore recommend that you create a profile for advance review in order to increase your chances of success.

  • Benefit from the application process

    Applying for an award gives your business the opportunity to be recognised. At the same time the process supports you to create the most effective profile for your business on CO, based on what our buyers are looking for to make decisions.

    Therefore, whether or not your business gains an award, the process of improving your profile on CO will increase the effectiveness of your presence on the site.

Criteria & How To Win

The CO Leadership Awards recognise leadership across six different areas of fashion business: Mission, Business model, Products / Services, Impact, Roadmap, and Communications.

To gain a CO Leadership award, your business needs to achieve a good standard in at least 4 out of the 6 award criteria, including criterion 1 (Mission) and criterion 3 (Products and Services).

We don’t set a limit on the number of businesses that qualify for leadership. Our team are keen to help your business meet the standard - and to support your success.

To be selected for the prestigious CO 10, your business needs to excel in all six criteria.

Read what makes a winner - and why last years winners won

Read more about each award criterion and what the awards team are looking for, below:

  • 1. Mission

    Is sustainability and ethical best practice enshrined as a core principle within your company’s mission?

    Complete these sections of your business profile on CO to inform us about your mission:

    • Mission statement (in the 3D snapshot section of your profile)
    • Sustainability section - it will help the awards team if you have uploaded or included links to your sustainability policies
  • 2. Business model

    Does your company’s revenue and profit model maximise benefits to people and minimise impact on the environment?

    For example, through encouraging sustainable consumption of long-lasting or quality products, repair, rental, profit-sharing, or donations to charitable causes.

    Complete these sections of your business profile on CO to inform us about your business model:

    • 3D Business Snapshot - the ‘About’ section
    • Sustainability Section - Sustainable Business Model in ‘Company Practices’
    • Sustainability Policy - upload in the sustainability section if you have one
  • 3. Products / Services

    Does your business offer well-designed, high quality products and services that maximise benefits to people and minimise impact on the environment?

    Complete these sections of your business profile on CO to give us insight into your products/ services:

    • Portfolio - this is the most important part of business profiles for buyers. We (along with buyers on the site) will want to be able to judge the quality of products and services from this section. Professional imagery and clear descriptions make a difference.
    • Products & Services - detail is helpful here to inform the CO team
    • Sustainability section the ‘Company Practices’ section is important and will be reviewed by the CO team. Certifications and memberships should be uploaded if held, but are not essential to qualify for a leadership award.
  • 4. Impact

    Can your business demonstrate clear and specific positive impact on people and/or the environment through its operations?

    Complete these sections of your business profile on CO to give us insight into your impact:

    • 3D Business snapshot - in the ‘About’ section
    • Sustainability section - there is an opportunity here to upload information about your impact in sustainability reports & policies

    NB: Specific, quantifiable information is helpful here to support your case. Read this article on the Benefits of Sustainability Reporting for more guidance

  • 5. Roadmap

    Does your business have specific sustainability goals for the future? Have you built, or are you building, a roadmap towards those?

    Complete these sections of your business profile on CO to give us insight on your goals:

    • Sustainability Objectives (in the Sustainability section)
    • Sustainability Roadmap - also in the sustainability section - there is an opportunity to upload further information here

    NB: A great roadmap should include clear targets of what you want to achieve, by when, and how you will get there. Brief and concise is okay.

    CO has a comprehensive tool and guidance to help you to create a sustainability roadmap for your business, including templates to upload. See CO Sustainability Roadmap guidance.

  • 6. Communications

    Does your business have strong communications that raise awareness, change behaviour, and have an impact on the industry as a whole?

    For example (but not limited to): sharing the story behind the product or service, integrating the business’ mission into marketing campaigns, or collaborating with industry campaigns.

    Complete these sections of your business profile on CO to give us insight on your communications:

    • Portfolio here you can upload images, video, or PDF examples of messaging, communications, or campaigns that demonstrate the above
    • Business Snapshot - how you describe your business
    • Header image, logo and general copy on your profile - the CO team will be looking at how your brand communicates and engages people with your mission and story

    Read this article for recommendations on communicating to your customers about sustainability

  • I’m busy running my business. Why should I prioritise setting up a business profile on CO?

    CO will save you time running your business by matching you with suppliers, buyers, and information to help you get your products right - so it’s worth taking 30 minutes to set up a profile.

    A business profile will present your business to the CO sustainable fashion business community - which unites thousands of professionals and influencers from all over the world. At the same time, completing your profile makes you eligible for a leadership award.

  • Who is eligible?

    Any business operating in the fashion industry, with a completed profile on CO, is eligible for a CO Leadership Award. The awards are open to any business, including early stage startups and global players.

    Business profiles must be at least 60% complete, including the key sections outlined in the awards criteria, before they will be reviewed by the awards team.

  • I’ve got more than one business - can I apply with both?

    Absolutely. We will review all your business profiles that meet the criteria of being at least 60% complete.

  • How does CO decide on winners?

    Business profiles on CO are reviewed when they are at least 60% complete.

    The CO Awards team shortlist and review business profiles against our criteria on a regular basis in the lead up to the deadline. Profiles that meet at least 4 of the 6 criteria are eligible to be shortlisted for leadership awards. Profiles that excel in all 6 of the 6 criteria are eligible to be shortlisted for the CO 10.

    Final winners are decided through a combination of votes from the CO network, the CO Awards team, and for the CO 10, a panel of external judges.

  • How many CO Leaders will be awarded?

    There is no minimum or maximum number of CO Leadership Awards allocated. All businesses on CO that achieve a good standard in at least four of the six criteria are eligible for a leadership award.

    The CO 10 awards are reserved for 10 businesses that excel across all six criteria, as selected by our external panel of judges.

  • When are winners announced?

    For updates on the awards, join CO or subscribe to our newsletter.

  • Will there be an award event?

    CO is a truly global platform harnessing the power of digital to bring people together. As such, award winners will be primarily celebrated online so that as many members of our community as possible can participate.

  • How can I use my award badge?

    The CO Leader badge will be automatically featured on your business profile once winners are announced.

    CO Leaders are also welcome to use the award badge on their own websites, emails or marketing materials, but not on products.

    Leadership awards apply only to the business and are an award, not a product certification (there are already many other great organisations out there doing that!). Therefore they should not be presented as such to avoid misleading consumers.

CO 10 Judges

This panel of industry leaders will be responsible for selecting the final CO 10 winners. To be eligible to be considered for the CO 10, businesses must meet all six of the winning criteria.

Amber Valletta

Actor, Model and Entrepreneur

Amber Valletta is the founder of Master & Muse, an online store for eco-friendly fashion brands operated by Yoox.

She is committed to advancing smarter consumption and environmental awareness through exciting entrepreneurial endeavours and brand partnerships. Amber serves as an adviser to One x One, The Conscious Design Initiative in partnership with the U.N. She is also a board member of the FIT Foundation and is a FIT Sustainability Education Ambassador.

Giorgio Belloli

Chief Commercial and Sustainability Officer, Farfetch

Giorgio Belloli is responsible for the commercial strategy and development of Farfetch. A member of the Farfetch Executive Board, Giorgio is an experienced player in the luxury fashion industry. He has developed and executed business strategies for luxury brands such as Miu Miu, Helmut Lang and Prada Linea Rossa, and held senior positions at Hussein Chalayan and Alexander McQueen.

Caroline Rush

Chief Executive, British Fashion Council

Caroline Rush is the Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council. She has 20 years of experience in Marketing and PR across both consumer and corporate communications. Caroline is championing sustainability and emerging UK talent through the British Fashion Council's 'Positive Fashion' campaign during London Fashion Weeks in partnership with Common Objective.

Dylan Jones OBE

Editor, British GQ

Journalist Dylan Jones is our leading menswear judge for the CO Leadership Awards. Through his roles as Editor-in-chief of British GQ, and as the Chair of London Fashion Week Men's, Jones' perspective on the best in menswear is second to none. He was previously an editor at i-D, The Face, Arena, The Observer and The Sunday Times; he has won Magazine Editor of the Year eleven times and is a New York Times best-selling author.

Clare Press

Founder, Wardrobe Crisis podcast and Author

Sydney based sustainable fashion journalist, Clare was the first ever VOGUE Sustainability Editor (for Vogue Australia, 2018-2020). She is the founder and presenter of the Wardrobe Crisis podcast. She has interviewed hundreds of fashion leaders and influencers, telling stories of positive change in the industry. Clare sits on the Australian advisory board of Fashion Revolution and is a Global Ambassador for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative.

Roland Mouret


Celebrating 20 years in design in 2017, Roland Mouret is best known for his iconic dresses and beautifully designed separates. His sharp tailoring and precise fit have earned him the title ‘Master of the Silhouette’, attributed to his ability to create a second-skin, or modern armour, to empower women. A founding partner of Common Objective, he is a strong supporter of sustainability, and believes in the power of creativity to find solutions.

Christine Goulay

Head of Sustainable Innovation, Kering

As Head of Sustainable Innovation at Kering, Christine’s work focuses on innovations that can fast track a transition to a sustainable and circular apparel industry. Previously, at Kering, she worked on sustainable sourcing. She also held senior roles at INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Initiative and the socially conscious apparel brand, EDUN LIVE (founded by Ali Hewson and Bono).

Brigitte Stepputtis

Head of Couture, Vivienne Westwood

Brigitte Stepputtis is the head of couture at Vivienne Westwood with over twenty-five years of experience in the fashion industry. She joined the label in 1990 and has since contributed to the success and growth of the Vivienne Westwood brand with her expertise in design, tailoring and pattern cutting in combination with economic strategy and a commitment to sustainable design.

Orsola de Castro

Co-Founder, Fashion Revolution

Orsola de Castro is an internationally recognised opinion leader in sustainable fashion. She ran a pioneering upcycling label, From Somewhere, from 1997 until 2014 during which designer collaborations included collections for Jigsaw, Tesco, Speedo, and four best-selling capsule collections for Topshop. In 2013, with Carry Somers, she founded Fashion Revolution, a global campaign which reached 275 million people during its 2018 Fashion Revolution Week.

Hassan Pierre


Hassan Pierre is an entrepreneur and co-founder of the hybrid luxury ethical fashion retailer, MAISON-DE-MODE. Pierre attended the prestigious, Parsons School of Design, and soon after launched the demi-couture label, Way It Should Be. He has extended his experience and voice to numerous panel discussions including the 2015 NGO Conference at the United Nations, was a judge for the Denim Challenge at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in 2016, has participated in numerous CFDA discussions and spoke at SXSW in March 2018.

Safia Minney

Fair Fashion Leader

Safia Minney is an internationally recognised pioneer of sustainable fashion and a leader of the Fair Trade movement. Safia launched Global Village in 1991 in Japan out of which the fair trade fashion brand People Tree was born. Safia has also most recently led sustainable footwear brand Po-Zu as Managing Director through a period of growth as they collaborated with Star Wars™ to produce a range inspired by the legendary cult film series. Safia is also the author of Slave to Fashion raising awareness of modern slavery in the fashion industry.

Cora Hilts

Co-Founder & CEO, Réve En Vert

Cora Hilts, Co-Founder and CEO of luxury sustainable e-tailer Rêve En Vert (REV), began her illustrious career at Christian Louboutin and Stella McCartney where she gained her love for design and the creative industries. Rêve En Vert has established itself as the premier online e-tailer of honest sustainable luxury, fashion, beauty and lifestyle. As a Forbes 30 under 30 winner and a Vogue UK contributor, Cora hosts numerous sustainability talks at Soho House, and is known for her sustainable fashion, beauty and lifestyle advocacy.

Christopher Stopes

UK Representative, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

Christopher is an expert in the development of sustainable and organic farming, food and textiles. With 30 years’ experience, working with government, NGO and corporate clients, he has driven engagement with organic value chains. He works as both UK and EU representative for GOTS, promoting the organisation’s gold standard for organic textiles based on the use of organic fibre. He serves on the UK Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) and was President (2009-18) of IFOAM EU Group, part of the global IFOAM-Organics International.

Ralph Goodstone

Founder, RG Sourcing Associates

Ralph Goodstone is a leading authority on International sourcing having had a long career working early on with Marks & Spencer and then a number of established brands on developing their supply base. He is the Vice-Chair of the Ethical Fashion Forum and a committed advocate of doing business better. As a consultant to the Fashion SVP Sourcing show he has championed the inclusion of sustainable exhibitors and seminars on thought leadership in business ethics.

Nikhil Hirdaramani

Director, Hirdaramani Industries

Nikhil Hirdaramani is a Director of the Hirdaramani Group, a 4th generation family business with apparel manufacturing facilities across Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Vietnam. There, he oversees the Group’s sustainability initiatives such as their Sri Lanka facility, Mihila, the first ever carbon neutral facility in Asia. Nikhil is currently serving as Vice Chair of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and has previously been the chairperson at the Sri Lanka Sustainability Forum.

Kerry Bannigan

Founder, Conscious Fashion Campaign

Kerry Bannigan is the Founder of the Conscious Fashion Campaign, an initiative supported by the United Nations Office for Partnerships, championing fashion innovators to drive awareness and advocacy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Kerry’s diverse acumen and innovative vision has led her to execute government initiatives across the world, and her key industry insight has advised initiatives including It’s On US launched by Barack Obama and Joe Biden, Global Citizen and the Fashion is GREAT Istanbul campaign in partnership with the British Embassy, Harvey Nichols and UK Trade and Investment.

Jack Ostrowski

Founder & CEO, Yellow Octopus Fashion & reGAIN app

Jack Ostrowski is a serial entrepreneur in sustainable fashion. He is the founder and CEO of Yellow Octopus Fashion, founder and CEO of reGAIN app, and a major investor and board director of Jack not just believes in, but also implements 'commercial sustainability' successfully by building profitable business models focusing on sustainable fashion. He is the recipient of multiple business awards, including The Queens’ Award for Enterprise. His mantra is “less bullshit, more good shit”.

Jette Ladiges

Partnerships Manager, WFTO

Jette Ladiges heads up partnerships at World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) a global network of organisations representing the Fair Trade supply chain. Prior to WFTO, Jette was Craft Product Co-ordinator at Trade Aid, and Operational Co-ordinator at Dual Design. She is an expert in fair trade sourcing for fashion.

John Mowbray

Founder, Ecotextile News

John Mowbray launched Ecotextile News in 2006. He is a leading global expert on textiles and the environment, a board member of the European OutDoor Conservation Association, and the founder of the Planet Textiles Summit on sustainability.

Thimo Schwenzfeier

Show Director Neonyt, Messe Frankfurt

Thimo Schwenzfeier assumes responsibility for all media relations for the international textile trade fairs Techtextil, Texprocess, Heimtextil and the sustainable fashion fair Neonyt. Thimo takes over additional responsibility as Show Director Neonyt, carrying out his duties in all fields related to a physical or digital presence of Neonyt as well as the international conference Fashionsustain. In 2019, Neonyt became one of Messe Frankfurt’s 60 textile trades fairs worldwide that actively integrate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and incorporates them in various formats.

Apply for a CO Leadership Award

The CO Leadership Awards open again in July 2022. Upgrade to the Leader package to receive support to achieve the leadership standard prior to that date.

CO Leadership awards are open to all businesses operating in the fashion industry - in any capacity, regardless of size or location. The awards celebrate commitment to great business practices that transform lives - and solve environmental challenges. Winners gain recognition and a higher search ranking on CO - increasing the profile of your business to fashion industry press, buyers, and influencers. CO has over 50,000 members, including representatives from leading brands and retailers such as Farfetch, Net-a-porter, Selfridges, ASOS, Kering, H&M, Nike and M&S, alongside thousands of SME’s. The CO site gains over 200,000 page views every month.

See previous winners

To enter the awards:

  1. If you don't have a business profile, create a business profile on CO
  2. Complete your business profile to at least 60%, ensuring that all sections are complete. (see % completion to the right of your personal dashboard)
  3. That’s it! The CO awards team will review all business profiles completed to this level and consider them for a leadership award.

Awards applications will open again in July 2022. However, members on the Leader package are supported to achieve the leadership standard and are reviewed for a CO award on a monthly basis. Upgrade today - we aim to support businesses over the line to gain an award.

"What makes the awards impressive is the comprehensiveness of its regard. We may not be surprised that luxury leaders such as Stella McCartney, Bottletop and Raeburn scooped prizes … We may, however, be moved by the recognition of Ethical Apparel Africa (EAA)...or the world’s first vertically integrated Fairtrade organic cotton supplier, The Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills.Bel Jacobs, Fashion journalist.

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Common Objective

Welcome to Common Objective - your hub for sustainable fashion business.

You've been redirected here from the Ethical Fashion Forum website because, as of May 2018, EFF is supporting its network through this new, online platform that helps fashion professionals succeed in the most sustainable way.

On CO, you'll be able to find even more great content and connections to help you do fashion better.

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