AN eclectic mix of London City stalwarts and independent businesses will come together on Thursday to celebrate their green credentials, at the City of London Corporation’s annual Sustainable City Awards.

Competing across 12 categories are banks, asset managers and construction groups – alongside a slew of smaller enterprises that make up more than half of the shortlist.

The Farsight Award is the one that the banking world has the biggest stake in, with microfinance projects at JP Morgan up against sustainability research by Sarasin Bank and Unicredit, Deutsche Bank’s water market study and Credit Suisse’s look at electric vehicles.

Responsible investment is rewarded too, with Newcastle-based ethical investment co-operative Shared Interest facing competition from F&C Asset Management’s program to promote socially responsible investment.

The ceremony, hosted by Environment Agency chair Lord Smith, will take place at Mansion House, with the diverse list of invitees bound to lead to some interesting dinner table conversations.

Where else, for example, would you find magic circle law firm Linklaters shortlisted for its responsible waste management alongside Mexican restaurant Wahaca and compostable food-packing firm Vegware?

Looking for some off-the-beaten track travel tips? Look no further than a recent column by author David Nicholls published on the Guardian site on Saturday. But where is it that the intrepid Nicholls suggests as a family-friendly holiday destination?

Er, none other than “Egypt: A short-haul family adventure”. Notwithstanding the riots rocking the country this week, Nicholls is keen to explain the rationale for his recommendation: “The challenge, then, was to go somewhere a little different... a place where we could both explore the city and also swim, snorkel and lie very still for no apparent reason.”

As for his city exploration, he enthuses about the capital’s markets: “This was Cairo at its most exhilarating, a riot of noise, smells and colour... It’s a vibrant, commercial metropolis, and the frustrations are a small price to pay for the wonders and surprises of the place.”

The account makes an interesting contrast with the Foreign Office’s current travel narrative, also issued on Saturday: “We advise against all but essential travel to Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Suez.”

Each to their own, eh?

As years go, 2009 will rarely be remembered as a classic. The economy was still in the grip of recession and the Labour government was thrashing around in its protracted death throes. But for wine buffs, 2009 could go down as the best vintage of the last decade. Even while the pick of the bunch is still in the barrel, connoisseurs are snapping up this year’s must have Burgundy. Get in fast before it’s all gone...