Responsible business is good business

Responsible business is good business

Business in the Community’s (BITC) Responsible Business Week 2016, which starts today, is a great opportunity for organisations of all shapes and sizes to showcase the work they are doing to help create a fairer society and a more sustainable future.

At Interserve, sustainability shapes every aspect of how we operate and this includes being a responsible business – for our people, customers, partners and supply chain.

SustainAbilities, our broad-based growth plan launched in 2013, sets out the positive outcomes we are targeting for both the near and long term. These include: reducing waste, minimising consumption, investing in skills, managing risk and providing responsible leadership to both suppliers and customers. The plan underpins our commitment to making positive contributions in natural, social and knowledge capital, while demonstrating that we are an organisation that values more than just money.

We have made great strides in integrating responsible business practices at all levels of the business in recent years. This is evidenced by our ranking in BITC’s annual benchmark of responsible business, the Corporate Responsibility Index, and in the FTSE4Good Index. It was also recently recognised in our winning of the PLC Awards Sustainability Achievement award.

We have made great progress on a number of fronts in the last year:-

  • Advancing the cause of social value (particularly in public sector procurement) by working closely with Social Enterprise UK, sponsoring the annual Social Value Summit and rolling out our social value mapping tool
  • Recognising the role we need to play in our local communities by launching the ‘arc’ social enterprise support programme in Yorkshire with BITC, which aims to create 1,000 jobs, in the region.
  • Improving our environmental impact and proving it is possible to reduce resource consumption while delivering strong financial results (in 2015 we cut CO2 emissions by 4.6 per cent and grew revenues by 10 per cent) and by reducing our construction waste by 21 per cent
  • And by investing in the workforce of the future by more than doubling the number of work placements we offer; increasing the number of apprentices, graduates and trainees within the business by 49 per cent; and helping our sponsored academy school out of ‘Special Measures’ to a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating.

We do these things, and many others besides, not just because we have a social conscience (which we do); or because we are a business with a strong culture and values (which we are); but also because it makes good, sound business sense. We truly believe that being a responsible business strengthens our brand as an employer and supplier; enhances our returns and reduces our risks.

To celebrate Responsible Business Week we will be publishing a case study every day this week on our SustainAbilities hub http://sustainabilities.interserve.com highlighting responsible business in practice across Interserve’s global operations. I hope you enjoy these examples and I urge you all to remember that responsible business is good business!

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Tim Haywood

Tim Haywood is Group Finance Director and Head of Sustainability, Interserve Plc.

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