Corporate Social Responsibility
We believe that a commitment to the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) not only makes good business sense but also complements our core business strategy and corporate values. For us, CSR is not just a marketing ‘fad’, it represents a genuine desire to be better. It reflects the way we like to do things and it has become a part of our business culture. As one of our Directors says “It’s why we do what we do.”
For many years we have been interested in ethical and sustainable business practices and have tried to make a positive impact in the local community. In February 2018 we formalised this commitment to being a socially responsible business by developing a CSR policy (see below). We set up a core CSR team with the specific purpose to review and improve our actions and practices related to social responsibility. In forming this team and setting out our policy, we aim to deliver gradual but continuous improvements in our performance every year. As a result, our approach to CSR continues to evolve as we learn lessons along the way.
There are four main strands to our CSR activities:
1. People (health, well-being and development of our employees and others)
We recognise that our employees make us who we are. We encourage professional development, support employee health and well-being and actively foster an environment of openness and understanding of mental and physical health issues. As part of this, we recently launched a staff well-being campaign and organised a seminar for all staff on the topic of ‘Managing Stress’ by a qualified therapist. It was so well received that we plan to do more.
Disabled access has always been important to us and as such our offices have disabled facilities for wheelchair users and other disabilities. We recently extended our facilities for the hearing impaired and now have a portable loop to use in our meeting rooms. Our Reception and First Response teams also received ‘Deaf Awareness Training’. For further information about disabled access, or if you need extra help, please contact us on 01244 312306.
We are committed to helping and encouraging the next generation to pursue careers in law. We understand that work experience can be pivotal to shaping the future of people in education and so are committed to offering work experience at our firm every year.
2. Environment and estates
We recently invested in a new energy efficient climate control system to cool and heat our office more efficiently and new energy efficient lighting for our office. In addition, we swapped our paper hand towels for hand dryers in all of the toilets and provided reusable glasses (instead of disposable plastic cups) at our water dispensers, reducing the amount of waste that we produce. All of our waste is sorted and, where possible, recycled. Any non-recyclable waste is burnt to create energy. The ash from this process is used in the construction of buildings so nothing goes to waste. We are proud to say that none of our waste goes to landfill!
We never lose sight of the fact that we have a responsibility to support the community which we serve, and we always look for ways to make this responsibility a practical reality. We actively support local businesses, sponsor community initiatives and encourage staff volunteering.
For two years we have been proud sponsors of AmaSing – a community initiative that works with educational establishments to enhance children’s well-being, confidence and self-esteem through singing, music and the arts. We have also sponsored Foamtastic Colourblast – a local fun run that raises money for the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, an organisation that has supported a number of our staff and their families through particularly difficult periods in their lives.
We aim to build a culture that promotes employee volunteering and actively provide our staff with volunteering ideas and opportunities. This year our current team volunteer days have included: West Cheshire Foodbank Tesco collection days; Hospice of the Good Shepherd Foamtastic Colourblast and Amputation Foundation Supermarket Bag Pack. According to ‘Business in the Community’, a good goal to have for staff volunteering is around the 18 to 20% mark. We are proud to state that last year 39% of our staff were actively involved in volunteering activities.
We recognise that we have a valuable service to offer and throughout the years we have provided our skills and expertise pro bono to local community initiatives for the benefit of others. This has taken many guises from ad hoc legal advice to entire business services for charitable organisations. We are particularly proud of the work we have recently done for the Blacon Community Sports Hub and the support we have given local charities through their Free Will Schemes.
4. Charitable giving
Oliver & Co has been involved in charitable giving throughout it’s history and we are proud to sponsor and donate to both national and local charities. We support staff fundraising events and activities wholeheartedly. Throughout the course of last year our staff raised over £4300 for a variety of charities including British Heart Foundation, Stroke Association and Chester Voluntary Action. Each year we choose a charity of the year and we raise money for them through cake sales, dress down days and other staff team activities. In 2019, we are donating money to three main charities:
West Cheshire Foodbank
West Cheshire Foodbank is our Charity of the Year for 2019 and we have been raising funds for this charity through our monthly dress down days. We have raised enough money to buy them a much needed defibrillator for their office and warehouse. We also have food collection points in our office for staff, clients and the public to donate food. To date we have collected 140 kg of food and this figure is still rising.
West Cheshire Foodbank provides emergency food to people in crisis. Non-perishable, in-date food is donated by schools, churches, businesses and individuals through community collection box schemes and through supermarket collections at Tesco’s stores in the local area. You can find a list of the foodbank’s most needed items here.
Macmillan Cancer Support
Many of our staff members frequently work with people suffering from cancer and we understand the huge role Macmillan Cancer Support plays in supporting them through their diagnosis and beyond. We are committed to continue supporting Macmillan as we have in the past. We have been supporting Macmillan Cancer Support for 11 years and in that time we have raised an amazing ££36,938.64. It is thanks to our employees, friends and clients that we have been able to achieve this. We had some exciting fundraising events this winter including a Macmillan Coffee Morning in September and a charity gig in November with local band Eskimo Spies featuring our very own Industrial Disease solicitor James Cameron. We were delighted to raise an amazing £1,026 and all involved had s great time.
The Amputation Foundation
The Amputation Foundation is a new, unique charity which supports amputees and medical professionals in giving amputees the best start. Oliver & Co has established personal injury and medical negligence departments and, as such, we help amputees to claim compensation. As a result of our work, we understand the important role this charity has in supporting amputees as they adjust to life after amputation.
Cheshire Business Awards – Finalists in Corporate Social Responsibility category
This year we are proud to announce that we were runners up in the 2019 Cheshire Business Awards in the category for Corporate Social Responsibility. One of our directors says, “The formation of our Corporate Social Responsibility team has been a good move. Now we have a more formal way to measure and grow our CSR capabilities. We recognise we still have improvements to make but are enjoying the challenge we have set ourselves and are learning from others as we go. That said, we are proud of what we have achieved so far and are looking forward to seeing improvements in the coming years.”
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