I’ve mentioned Corporate Social Responsibility a few times recently so I’d better explain what CSR means to me, to Sage and to our Accountant’s Division based (mostly) at Salford Quays. I bet that when I was appointed everyone in the office thought it meant that cycling to work was going to become compulsary. I have previously mass mailed the office as the ‘Self Appointed Sage Manchester Cycling Tsar’ so I can understand why people would be thinking that way.
I’m proud of what Sage does on the CSR front and with a full time CSR Co-ordinator at Newcastle they have been able to do some wonderful stuff already. As ‘Champion’ (a title I negociated myself) I need to ensure company wide initiatives are rolled out to my site as well as connecting with the local community and dealing with local issues such as transport.
The 2011 CSR plan for our office which I put together for the Senior Managment Team’s approval included the following good stuff…
1 Unlocking Talents which is a program of nightschool type classes, initially sourced externally but ultimately I hope to employ the talents of our own staff (Samba workshop anyone?) . Hope to start with Yoga for relaxation (which I have always wanted to try) and some language classes.
2 Right to Read A programme of 1 to 1 reading support for local primary schools which has been run successfully at Newcastle. Already found loads of potential volunteers and crucially someone to co-ordinate it as I was worried this would fall on me. I think this is the most important thing we will do this year.
3 Forces For Good We have employees from our Accountant’s Division based at the head office in Newcastle and the FFG organisation have been given space in our warehouse the city up there as a first form as support. We hope to promote what they do and support them in a number of ways to maximise their resources and their capacity to help ex-servicemen.
4 Carbon footprint At the moment we are still measuring it rather than reducing it. In Manchester we have a landlord therefore less control over what we can do. Having said that the Manchester site seems to stand up well against all the other sites but there is much we can do with regard to travel to the office.
5 Travel Plan: Our landlords have employed travel consultants and already have a suite of schemes and incentives to tempt us out of our cars. The main opportunity is a car sharing website which I need to push, push, push. We have a waiting list for car parking space and cars are clamped regularly. Public transport to the Quays is expensive and inconvenient especially as so many in the office commute long distances (ridiculous in some cases). Cycling to the office with a regular or folding bike might be a good idea ;o)
6 Charity Day: Though we don’t like to talk about it Sage has a nominated annual charity and we have a charity day in June. Efforts in Manchester have been limp over the years in comparison to Newcastle where the place turns into a funfare (I almost won the rodeo competition a couple of years ago). Last year one of the Support managers raised most of the cash by performing the usual limp managers car washing event whilst wearing a Borat style mankini. I have massive respect for Mo (as well as photos to support future blackmail opportunities) but I’m anxious for this not to be repeated. I’ve suggested some bigger events to inspire, entertain and bring us all together: AD’s Got Talent (hopefully using my inside knowledge of the programme), a Come Dine With Me style safari lunch and Dragon Boat racing around the Quays.
7 Social Enterprise This excites me the most as there are massive opportunities here and if Sage and other forward looking FTSE companies promote them we could help make a social/political difference. Just over a mile from our office there is a Social Enterprise call Social Adventures which was the 100th Social Enterprise to be established alongside stuff like the Eden Project. They are an organisation established to address social, health or environmental needs, run as a series of standalone business entities with all profits re-invested to further their objectives. I found the Angel healthly living centre via a Salford Cycle Forum meeting where a Cycle Hire Hub was being promoted. This month we will be doing a Community Larder project with them and I’d love for us to build a lasting relationship and support Social Enterprise bootcamps and Dragon’s Den type events where our business expertise and a bit of money enables young Social Entrepreneurs turn their ideas to help their own local communities into a reality.
So there you go, that’s why I’m so excited and have been leaping out of bed before 5am most mornings!