Corporate social responsibility

What does good CSR look like?

The following are just some examples of good CSR, as practiced by small, medium, and large Camden-based businesses but the sky is the limit!

If you'd like to investigate and analyse your business's CSR approach further you can undertake a Camden specific Responsible Business Check Up. This is an online tool that enables small and medium sized businesses to assess the gaps and strengths in their corporate responsibility approach and be signposted to local activities. The first 80 Camden-based companies to undertake the Check Up can do so for free by contacting Economic Development for the discount code.

Supporting the Camden Community

High Point Media are a small company based in Kentish Town. Out of a staff of ten, two are apprentices! Tanya started with High Point back in 2010 and did so well she was kept on and progressed into Sales Support. Jim started in 2011 and completed his Advanced Apprenticeship in Business Administration. High Point see apprentices as a great way to build their staff team. Carey Fitzgerald, Managing Director, says: “There is no degree in film distribution – we needed candidates who were dedicated to staying with us and learning the industry from scratch as well as appreciating the opportunities we have in a small, growing company. Apprenticeships have absolutely filled this gap for us”.

Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) are a social enterprise who run leisure centres across London, including Camden’s. GLL run an apprenticeship scheme, recruit locally and also work with the Prince’s Trust to support youth unemployment wherever they also deliver services. Currently 134 out of 316 staff employed at the Camden-run leisure centres work and live in Camden (42%). 8 Camden young people have been recruited for their Apprenticeship Scheme over the last 3 years and they aim to do more to encourage local young people to consider leisure and recreation as a career.

Santander is working with The London Community Foundation to make awards to social enterprises looking to grow their business and improve their local community. Staff from the bank help select the projects to support, visit the social enterprises to see the bank’s giving in action and provide business support to the winning charities.

Network Rail worked with Camden Volunteer Centre to put together a staff team challenge with a twist. In a day-long workshop Network Rail staff received mentoring training then helped long-term unemployed people to refine their CVs and gain valuable interview experience.

Waitrose John Barnes (Finchley Road), like all Waitrose stores, has a Community Matters scheme. You’ve probably seen the green tokens in your local stores. The store accepts applications from local voluntary organisations. Every month this branch will donate £1000 between three local good causes; customers vote the % split of the donation with their green tokens after checkout. The structured scheme allows a more significant contribution to be made to local community and voluntary organisations than through ad-hoc donations and fundraising. It also enhances the Waitrose brand in the local area. In July 2012, Keats Community Library received a donation of £250 from Community Matters which covers their broadband charges for 5 months. This is a fantastic example of a national company having a local focus and impact.

Protecting the Camden environment

Addison Lee is London’s largest minicab service and among the biggest employers in Camden. They have reduced their fleet’s carbon emissions by 30% between 2002 to 2009 (despite growth in their business) and are on track to achieve their 60% reduction target by 2025. Addison Lee funded a 4KW Solar Photovoltaic System for Netley School, their local primary school. This has helped reduce the school’s CO2 output and is educating children from the local community about sustainable energy and other current and emerging environmental technologies.

BMJ group joined Heart of the City’s programme and developed an internally focused Green Team to look at environmentally friendly travel, recycling facilities and reducing energy consumption for staff.

MIC Centre are a conference venue with charitable purposes based near Euston. They have reached ISO 14001 accreditation as well as follow a Green Procurement Code. They are an active member of the Camden Climate Change Alliance and their local community, often providing free or discounted venue space for events and activities.

Olswang, a medium sized law firm in Camden, run a varied and extensive range of CSR activities focused on environment and education. They provided pro bono legal advice for the Elephant Parade and involved students from Haverstock school in designing one of the elephants which was then displayed at Olswang’s offices. In conjunction with InMidtown, Olswang have also created an online portal to help businesses in the area share office equipment and divert from landfill.

The Pirate Castle is a water activities and community centre located on the Regent’s Canal in Camden Town. They work with local businesses and volunteers to create roof and canal-side community gardens to grow fruit and veg and encourage wildlife. They have an ambitious environmental programme for their own operations and actively seek to positively influence a large number of people as their venue serves a wide variety of other charities, groups and businesses. 

Warren Evans is a Camden based bed manufacturer and retailer. They were the first UK FSC certified bed company and are the only manufacturers in the UK that build all their range using FSC products. They sponsor and support a variety of environmental charities including Trees for Cities and Bug Life.

Diversifying your Camden marketplace

Sainsbury’s focuses on a responsible sourcing programme nationally as well as supporting local charities and organisations which are chosen by staff at individual stores.

Rydon, a local construction company, have been involved in local procurement and local employment initiatives to encourage and sustain local business.

A Camden-based filmmaker found five local charities that he liked on, donated £500 to each of them, and has also pledged to match any money they can raise online, up to £500 per charity. He is also donating his time, working with the charities to make short videos about their work, to help raise their profile and attract new donors.

A Camden restaurant has pledged to donate 1% of their profits into a pooled micro loan fund, which supports local entrepreneurs who can’t get finance from mainstream banks. The Fredericks Foundation finds the entrepreneurs and, as well as small loans, provides a comprehensive range of business support.

Tricycle Theatre gives tickets to its shows to the timebanking network Camden Shares, which individuals and charities ‘earn’ by giving their time or expertise to help others in turn. Other businesses give access to meeting and function rooms or welcome charity staff on training courses.

Motivating your Camden workforce

Nabarro and Speechly Bircham are both medium sized law firms on the edge of Camden. Both are involved in various volunteering and fundraising activities aimed at motivating employees, participating in different training environments and opportunities to demonstrate different skills and creating team building opportunities.

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