‘The busi­ness com­mu­nity has so many great sto­ries about the good work it does’

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - Dave Bald­win

When Ama­zon’s stock mar­ket value hit $1 tril­lion last month, you might have ex­pected a cho­rus of praise. But as some cel­e­brated its his­toric achieve­ment in join­ing Ap­ple in the $1 tril­lion busi­ness club, oth­ers com­plained about its dom­i­nance and voiced con­cern about its work­ers’ rights and wages. For all its suc­cess, Ama­zon gets the bad head­lines too.

Every com­pany comes in for crit­i­cism at some point. It comes with the ter­ri­tory. But many busi­nesses make un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated con­tri­bu­tions to so­ci­ety through pro­vid­ing mean­ing­ful em­ploy­ment, sup­port­ing the econ­omy and op­er­at­ing re­spon­si­bly. A large and grow­ing num­ber also give some­thing back by do­ing good work in their com­mu­ni­ties.

This sum­mer, Brad­ford ac­coun­tancy group Naylor Win­ter­s­gill signed up to the Give Brad­ford 100 Club. This fan­tas­tic scheme en­ables in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses to sup­port the re­gion’s dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties through a £1,000 an­nual mem­ber­ship fee. 100 Club mem­bers in­clude Leeds Brad­ford Air­port, York­shire Build­ing So­ci­ety and in­di­vid­u­als in­clud­ing Nick Garth­waite, pres­i­dent of Brad­ford Cham­ber of Com­merce, and Ker­sten Eng­land, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Brad­ford Coun­cil.

At a time when the cor­po­rate sec­tor is closely scru­ti­nised, more com­pa­nies need to shout about their good work. Schemes like the 100 Club let them do their bit and demon­strate their com­mit­ment.

Giv­ing some­thing back is noth­ing new: walk around Brad­ford and look at the ar­chi­tec­tural legacy of in­dus­trial gi­ants like Ti­tus Salt and Sa­muel Lis­ter. I would love to see a new gen­er­a­tion of phi­lan­thropists putting up stun­ning build­ings in my home city. But there are more re­al­is­tic ways to help.

There’s a fancy name for a com­pany do­ing its bit for so­ci­ety: Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity (CSR). Many com­pa­nies will al­ready be do­ing CSR with­out re­ally re­al­is­ing it.

It ranges from sim­ple things like char­ity fundrais­ers in the of­fice.

Larger com­pa­nies have more com­plex, am­bi­tious CSR agen­das. Prov­i­dent Fi­nan­cial works with Par­tic­i­pate Projects, a lo­cal char­ity which pro­vides sup­port and ad­vice to third sec­tor or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Prov­i­dent sup­ports cul­tural life by back­ing the Brad­ford Lit­er­a­ture Fes­ti­val. Su­per­mar­ket gi­ant Mor­risons’s CSR ac­tiv­ity last year in­cluded sup­port­ing a na­tional char­ity to re­dis­tribute meals to those in need and work­ing with 400 com­mu­nity groups to re­dis­tribute more than 3.4 mil­lion sur­plus food prod­ucts.

You may have heard of ‘Rais­ing the Bar’, a scheme backed by West and North York­shire Cham­ber of Com­merce, which cel­e­brates the work that com­pa­nies do in the com­mu­nity. At its glit­ter­ing awards cer­e­mony last year, the Broad­way Shop­ping Cen­tre won in the econ­omy cat­e­gory for bring­ing new busi­ness to the city and law firm Gor­dons won in the ed­u­ca­tion cat­e­gory for its ap­pren­tice­ship scheme.

The 2018 awards cer­e­mony is in Novem­ber – if your firm does good in the com­mu­nity, con­sider an ap­pli­ca­tion.

York­shire Build­ing So­ci­ety de­serves an honourable men­tion. In May, it won the Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity Team of the Year cat­e­gory at this year’s Third Sec­tor Busi­ness Char­ity Awards.

When the 100 Club launched in Novem­ber 2017, its aim was to get 100 mem­bers to join. Num­bers are ris­ing, but more are needed. Com­pa­nies will al­ways have their crit­ics, but the busi­ness com­mu­nity has so many great sto­ries about the good work it does.

If we want them to be heard, we need to start shout­ing about it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.