Pictured above were Gillian Chamberlain, BT with Maarten Schuuruman, MD, HEINEKEN Ireland, Bernard Sheridan, Corporate Affairs Director, Central Bank of Ireland and Paul Downing, General Manager, Hovione.
The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer recently revealed that 75% of Irish people expect CEOs to take the lead on social change issues. Business in the Community Ireland has developed the Business Working Responsibly mark, the only independently audited standard for CSR and Sustainability in Ireland. The Mark can put your CEO and company at the forefront of social change, pioneering best practices in human rights and other social areas, and enabling others to follow suit. To date, 33 of the largest organisations operating in Ireland are certified to the Mark, and testimonials from their CEOs speak to the many benefits associated with certification.
“We want to attract the best talent and having the Mark is a clear demonstration of our responsible business practices and signals to existing and potential staff that we are serious about our corporate social responsibility” – Clive Bellows, Country Head, Northern Trust
“For our businesses in Ireland, being certified with the Business Working Responsibly Mark helps to convey to employees, customers, local communities and stakeholders that we are fully committed to managing our operations in a socially responsible and sustainable manner “- Oliver Mahon, Senior Vice President – CRH Europe North
So what are some of the benefits of achieving Mark certification?
1. Employee Engagement and Retention
In the last decade the workforce has changed, and with it the culture of the workplace. Together Millennials and Gen Zs make up more than half the world’s population and account for most of the global workforce. This new generation of workers places a much larger focus on social and environmental responsibility. Policies around diversity and inclusion, flexible working and rewards and recognition are being put under the spotlight, as the new workforce wants to work for companies that offer them a socially responsible purpose, without “sacrificing the flexibility to be who they are at work and live a fulfilling life outside of it”. This flexibility doesn’t just mean flexible work hours or locations, but a more inclusive workplace and fair and transparent opportunities for progression.
The Mark takes a focus across all of these workplace indicators and assesses company policies, practices and performance in achieving objectives. Achieving the independently verified certification can enhance your employer brand and help attract and retain employees.
2. Customer Relationships
Not only is flexibility in the workplace becoming an essential part of any recruitment package, but so is the impact that a business has on both society and the environment. Research shows that millennials are the most socially conscious generation since the 1960’s and climate change is topping their list of concerns . They are expressing these values both in the demands they make as employees and in the demands they made as consumers. Present day consumers are making socially conscious choices and choosing products that meet their ethical requirements. According to the recent Deloitte Millenial Survey, “42% of millennials have begun or deepened a business relationship because they perceive a company’s products or services to have a positive impact on society and/or the environment. Further, 37 percent said they have stopped or lessened a business relationship because of the company’s ethical behaviour.”
The Mark looks at the value chain of companies, and assesses whether their products and service are both socially and environmentally responsible. The certification process also examines the company’s environmental footprint, including waste reduction and carbon emissions amongst much more.
3. CEOs as Leaders of Change
Mark certification gives you access to Leaders’ Group on Sustainability, a collaboration between the CEOs of some of Ireland’s largest organisations, addressing pressing social, economic and environmental challenges. This year the Leader’s Group has produced the Low Carbon Pledge, with 49 of Ireland’s largest companies committing to lowering their scope 1&2 emissions by 50% by 2030, and the Social Inclusion Blueprint, a practical guide to create inclusive workplaces and reduce inequality in Ireland.
What does the Mark certification involve?
The Mark can help your company to raise your brand’s CSR profile and better recruit, retain, and engage your employees. Audited by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), and based on ISO 26000, The Mark will assess your responsible and sustainable business practices and provide your organisation with an assessment of how well positioned it is to address CSR risks and opportunities in the current business environment. The assessment addresses policies, practices and company performance across five pillars (Governance, Marketplace, Workplace, Environment, and Community which encompass 22 indicators, including Employee Engagement, Responsible Products and Services, Carbon Management and Climate Change Adaptation, and Community Engagement.
Achieving the Mark Certification provides independent verification that will enhance your employer brand, help attract and retain employees, support your corporate responsibility and sustainability credentials and support your organisation in leveraging investment potential.