The fifth, annual, Observer Ethical Awards, sponsored by Ecover, launches today – encouraging us to nominate companies and individuals who have have been active in finding practical solutions to environmental and social problems. Do you know of someone who has taken a stand and used innovative ways to bring about real change?

If so you can nominate in 4 categories –

  • Campaigner of the Year,
  • Politician of the year,
  • Online retailer
  • Local retailer.

Visit the Ethical Awards Site for more details of how you can nominate, and the amazing prizes you could win for taking part. You can also read all about the awards in The Observer Magazine, published January 24th.

The category we are really interested in, of course, is the fashion and accessories category, sponsored by Marie Claire.  Previous winners have included People TreeFinisterre and Terraplana.  The judging panel is chaired by ethical living journalist, and BBC One Show presenter, Lucy Siegle, and  includes; actors Colin Firth & Bonnie Wright, TV Presenters Ben Fogle, Sue Perkins and Kate Humble and business women Deborah Meaden & Jo Wood. The awards are open to fashion labels and retailers only – so if you are a designer fashion house or retailer, with a committment to sustainable fashion,  you need to get your entries in by March 12th. Equally if you know of an ethically and environmentally conscious fashion company, with innovative and exciting ideas, you might want to give them a gentle  nudge and encourage them to enter.

Last year’s Ethical Award Winner for Fashion, People Tree, create beautiful and caring clothing & accessories.  They help to alleviate poverty by working with 50 fair trade groups in 15 countries.  They work for the environment by using ecologically sound production and sourcing methods. People Tree are currently pleased to announce their spring/summer 2010 collection in collaboration with actress Emma Watson.  The collection is due to be launched late in February.

Take a look at the site for more details and an interview with Emma.