Carpenters Group – Corporate Social Responsibility
09 March 2021
5 minute read
Eloise Sochanik was appointed to the role of Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity Lead to consolidate Carpenters Group’s activity in this area, and in recognition that we can build further on our ethos of inclusion, wellbeing, charity giving, and respect for the environment. Here she details Carpenters Group’s plans for 2021.
This has been the most unusual and challenging of years, but Carpenters Group have been determined to use the opportunities this altered world has presented and consider how we can do more, do it better, and continue investing in the right people, the right skills and the right technology.
The events of 2020 have highlighted even more keenly the role that we have to play in society, and we have redoubled our efforts to work with clients, suppliers, employees and our communities to deliver real impact.
From the outset, we’ve made it clear to colleagues who have caring responsibilities that we will be flexible to accommodate their work life balance, ensuring that our working families and carers feel supported and empowered, whatever form this may take. In 2020, we anticipated that we would need to do more in relation to mental health and therefore appointed a network of Wellbeing Champions who took part in Mental Health First Aider training and are now skilfully able to support colleagues across the business. Every champion is incredibly passionate about mental wellbeing and they meet regularly to support each other through potentially challenging conversations with colleagues. That everyone is talking about this subject so openly in the workplace is a real win for us. We have also invested in online Pilates classes and a monthly meditation session to provide people with the chance to try something new that can help to calm and soothe. Carpenters have remained conscious throughout that people’s personal circumstances have been affected across the board, and times are hard for many – whether through mental health concerns, bereavement, partner redundancies and a host of other difficult situations.
Supporting Our Communities
We work closely with a number of grassroots charities, John and Donna have always been incredibly passionate about helping the hungry and homeless. The devastation that we’ve seen this year has been unprecedented and the support that our colleagues have shown has been phenomenal. The Trussell Trust reported a soaring 81% increase in emergency food parcels from foodbanks in its network during the last two weeks of March 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. We recently pledged to support the Right to Food campaign as we believe that no one should go hungry and that the right to food should be enshrined in legislation. This step supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger, and, our corporate responsibility strategy is founded on the UNSDGs and the creation of effective actions and solutions.
Whether we’ve been taking part in virtual fundraising such as the Santa Dash in December, Running Around the World in 40 Days, various bake sales, or shifting our usual Christmas Rucksacks for the homeless appeal to virtual collections – impressively, we raised over £15, 000. Our business as usual practices also presented an opportunity to give back, and we’ve partnered with Fareshare and Fruidel who provide our office fruit deliveries to contribute up to 50% of our usual order value to local foodbanks. We also partnered with Autonet Insurance and Kindertons Accident Management to provide a van to L6 that was needed by the community association for delivering food to the most vulnerable. In addition we partnered with S&G Response to long term lease a van for New Beginnings, Improving Lives who also needed regular transport to support their communities.
Our key charity partner is The Inclusive Hub in Liverpool who empower people of all ages and abilities through exercise and education. We also became founding members of the Whizz-Kidz Business Alliance thanks to RSA Motability and are looking forward to growing that partnership and supporting the young people in their network.
Carpenters had already moved to a paperless office for most of our processes, but with the shift to home working, we’ve now all but eliminated paper from our operations. This has a great environmental benefit, as well as making our processes more efficient. More broadly, the new ways of working have allowed us to reconsider a number of our business as usual approaches, and having unlocked so much efficiency, the new ways are certainly here to stay. Like many office based businesses, we also calculated that we saved approximately 9k businesses travel miles and over 184k commuter miles per month in 2020. Our newly reworked environmental policy will form the basis of our approach moving forward which includes switching to renewable energy, increasing energy efficiencies, improved recycling and sustainable procurement.
Corporate Responsibility presents itself as a strategic lever in the wake of Covid 19 and whilst many initiatives have adapted and evolved, the ethos of giving back, of equal opportunities and valuing our colleagues and communities remains at the very heart of what we do.
Summary of CSR & Diversity in 2021
Communication Keeping teams connected, with our central message and with each other has been absolutely critical, as well as listening to everyone across the business. Our Ask the CEO initiative has worked because we have responded quickly and decisively – to situations that we may not otherwise have been aware
Collaboration Our most successful initiatives in the last year have been borne out of working together with our suppliers and clients, whose generosity continues to blow us away
Think Global, Act Local The spotlight on Black Lives Matter in 2020 affected everyone across the world and we, like everyone took the opportunity to evaluate our practices and processes and we also signed up to initiatives such as the #10000BlackInterns programme
Objectives You need to be clear on why you’re undertaking any activity but in the sphere of corporate responsibility it’s essential to understand exactly what you want to achieve, for us that has been retaining our character and culture, and using those strengths to continue to grow
Adaptability Fortunately, we’ve invested heavily in technology and we were able to pivot quickly into the virtual world, but the last year has shown that we need to be constantly evolving and considering new, broad challenges that we face as a society
Corporate Social Responsibility & Diversity Lead, Carpenters Group
Credit: Modern Insurance Magazine