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.

Applying for the CO leadership awards is easy. All you have to do is complete a business profile on CO (it’s free). Read more below, and check out the award Criteria and How to Win for more details.

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

  • 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. Create a free business profile
    2. Complete your business profile to at least 60%, in particular ensuring that the awards-related sections are complete (these will be indicated with a yellow icon)
    3. That’s it! The CO team will review all business profiles completed to this level and consider them for a leadership award

    The final deadline to complete your profile on CO in order to be eligible for an award is Friday 18th January. However, we encourage all applicants to complete business profiles at the earliest opportunity, as our awards team meets weekly to review business profiles.

    We will also be offering guidance to businesses that have created profiles to help them to meet award criteria throughout October-December, so the earlier you get started, the more chance you have at being selected.

    Winners will be announced in February 2019.

  • 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 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.

  • 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
  • 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. All business profiles created on CO are reviewed for the awards.

  • How does CO decide on winners?

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

    We shortlist and review business profiles against our criteria on a weekly basis. Profiles that meet at least 4 of the 6 criteria are shortlisted for leadership awards.

    Profiles that excel in all 6 of the 6 criteria are shortlisted for the CO 10. After the awards close in January, final decisions will be made. The CO10 shortlist will be reviewed by our judging panel in February 2019.

  • 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 will gain 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?

    Winners are announced in February 2019.

  • 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. More details on this will be announced in early 2019.

    However we do know that nothing beats a party in person - so we are working on developing an annual physical event that brings members together to celebrate leadership. Stay tuned.

  • How can I use my award badge?

    The CO Leader badge includes the year of the award and will be automatically featured on your business profile once announced in early 2019.

    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.

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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.

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