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Blog | neighbourly

We've announced new reporting features to support Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations SDG Business Forum in New York

SDG


Today we have added new features to our site, which will allow charities and causes to align their projects with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by the United Nations. As a result of this, businesses and corporations which contribute resources, time or funds through Neighbourly.com can automatically report on the impact of their activities in support of the SDGs.


The SDGs - or global goals - are 17 commitments outlined by the United Nations, aimed at targeting an array of global issues in the sustainability agenda, including ending poverty and hunger, providing clean and sanitary water, making cities sustainable and promoting responsible consumption and production.

Our new website functionality allows for charities to choose from a list of SDGs and are then displayed on their profile. Businesses looking to support certain global goals will then be able to use the site’s search function to find charities or causes aligned with particular SDGs. Once they have contributed, the reporting features of the site will provide a consolidated analysis of their investment and its impact aligned to the relevant global goals.

Nick Davies, founder of Neighbourly, is today addressing the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York. Speaking in a session entitled: Business Agenda for 2030, Davies will be explaining:

  • How Neighbourly has provided a platform for collaboration between causes in need and businesses which want to help.

  • The factors that determine successful partnerships between public and private sector.

  • The results that have been achieved by Neighbourly and its private sector partners.


nickNick has said that, "Business wants to help. We know this from our own experiences and the evidence of big brands wanting to make a difference is all over Neighbourly". Everyone at Neighbourly, not to mention Nick believes that, "the private sector also needs assistance to make connections to relevant causes in the local communities they want to reach. Neighbourly is all about making that task quicker and simpler. By providing reporting for accountability purposes, whether for the global goals or other corporate social responsibility measures, we help businesses to make their contribution.”

For more information on the UN SDG Business Forum:


SDG Business Forum website: http://www.sdgbusinessforum.com

USCIB’s Business for 2030 website: http://www.businessfor2030.org | tiny url: http://bit.ly/1NknTeD

UN’s High Level Political Forum website: http://bit.ly/1BSEj9K

 

Neighbourly.com

 

Jul 19, 2016

Neighbourly appoints Steve Haines as Head of Community Engagement

PRESS RELEASE

Neighbourly appoints Steve Haines as Head of Community Engagement

  • New role to build engagement with public bodies and accelerate grassroots social activation

  • Haines previously a director of Save the Children International, and an advisor to the UN


Steve 2 (2)

UK, 23 February 2015: Neighbourly.com – the social platform that connects local community projects with companies that want to make a difference – has appointed Steve Haines as Head of Community Engagement. He will play a key role in managing Neighbourly’s relationships with public bodies and third sector groups, and advising on its strategy to inspire social action at grassroots in local communities around the UK.

Haines joins from Save the Children International, the world’s leading children’s charity, where he was Global Campaign Mobilisation Director. He established the charity’s first global campaigning team and led the delivery of its priority global campaign, ‘EVERY ONE’, in 120 countries worldwide.  Haines has also spent time as an advisor to the United Nations, mobilising commitments for the UN Secretary General’s updated Global Strategy on Women's, Children's and Adolescents’ Health, ‘Every Woman Every Child’.

"I believe Neighbourly has the potential to revolutionise the way businesses and individuals connect to charities and community projects", Haines said. "I’m excited to be joining Neighbourly at a critical point in its development, and to help deliver its vision by engaging the public sector and other partners in this burgeoning movement."

In just over 18 months, Neighbourly has facilitated over £2million of funding, 9,000 volunteering days and 56,000 meals for community causes around the UK and Ireland. The business has also expanded to the Netherlands, brought a number of major brands onto the platform and been named one of the UK’s most innovative companies by Bloomberg.

Luke McKeever, CEO, added: “Attracting a campaigner with Steve’s experience is testament to Neighbourly’s continued momentum and huge potential. As the business continues to gather pace, strong relationships with public bodies and third sector organisations will play a key role in our mission to inspire positive social action within local communities on a larger scale.”

About Neighbourly

Neighbourly.com is the social platform that unites local community causes, projects and charities with businesses which can help by contributing time, resources or funding. Neighbourly allows causes of all types and sizes to publicise and gain community support for their purpose and needs. Businesses can easily find causes that matter to them, manage their contributions, generate and receive authentic content and measure the value of their participation, at both a local and a national level. By providing evidence that engaging in local activity is good for business, Neighbourly will increase corporate investment into communities.

Organisations using Neighbourly include corporates such as Marks & Spencer and Starbucks, as well as many small and medium-sized businesses active in their local communities. Since launch in July 2014, Neighbourly businesses have pledged some £2,107,592, 9,091 volunteer days and 56,520 meals, and have already backed 481 causes. Visit www.neighbourly.com or follow @nbrly.

Feb 23, 2016

How businesses can get CSR right

Our founder, Nick Davies, recently shared his thoughts with Management Today on how a business can get CSR right – here’s a recap, and for the full piece head here.’

NickDavies_Colour

Today’s CEOs are being urged to reconsider their company’s role in society while at the same time killing off Corporate Social Responsibility. Whilst this seems counter-intuitive, one thing is correct: it’s time to scrap the tick-box CSR department. That doesn’t mean we should do away with CSR altogether – but now is the time for businesses to show they really mean it.

The general public’s trust of corporates hasn’t recovered since the last economic crash. In fact recent research showed that most people wouldn’t care if three quarters of all brands disappeared for good. Many sustainable business commentators are now suggesting that companies not making strides to operate ethically and transparently are unlikely to exist in 10 years’ time.

The challenge for today’s company leaders is that ‘10 years’ time’ isn’t an immediate problem. Restructuring a business to act with absolute authenticity from the inside out requires major investment. Add to this the demand for quarterly reporting and short-term rewards and the expectation of business to prioritise the needs of society seems out of reach.

And that’s the reason some CSR departments prevail – as a fix to defer this kind of overhaul away from the pursuit of profit. Of course it would be unfair to undersell the contribution of these CSR teams. Many have created programmes of real value for the communities they serve and have started to provide clear evidence that what is good for society can also be good for business. But their impact will be limited if companies continue to treat CSR programmes as an isolated nice-to-have.

Meanwhile boards are starting to feel the pressure from within. Employees are increasingly disgruntled against having to leave their personal values at home each day and none more so than millennials – any company’s future talent. They want to volunteer in their local communities, choose where and when, and do so on company time. They want to know that their employer’s values are aligned to their own. And if these don’t match up, staff are prepared to go and work for a competitor where they do, even on less pay.

How do potential employees and customers know what to believe? Reports and one-off CSR schemes are holding us back when it comes to working out if a company is really telling the truth. It’s time for companies to show, not tell. For those that do the right things and embed socially responsible practices right across the business, credibility will follow.

Responsible businesses heavy-weights such as Ben & Jerrys, Patagonia and Natura have been run in that way for many years. Behind the scenes, household names like IKEA and Kingfisher have also been treating CSR as a business mentality, not a one-off. At Neighbourly, we’ve seen M&S reap the benefits first hand, working with them to roll out their charity of the year and food redistribution activity through the platform. Programmes like these are supporting their pioneering Plan A strategy which has fundamentally changed the way the business operates since it was launched in 2007. By 2012, the company was citing Plan A as key to its rising brand value.

One interesting development is the ‘B Corporation’ movement. Certified B Corps meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability and unlike traditional corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on their shareholders, but also on their stakeholders. Over 1,400 companies from 130 industries and 42 countries have already joined – and vitally, big businesses like Unilever are beginning to throw their weight behind the campaign. Neighbourly recently become a founding member of the UK B Corp community - read more about that here.

It will be some time before we see a fully-fledged economic system that places equal value on people, planet and profit. But the first step is to abolish the need for a siloed, and often isolated CSR team. Even though some central support may be necessary, your whole business should be carrying out that function.

- Nick

Oct 26, 2015

Catchments and communities – building trust and providing value

Guest blog by David Baxter, Indepen

If you say catchment to a parent, they think: school. To me, catchment is our landscape, the water that flows through it and the people who live in it. Catchment and community are inseparable.

Since 1990, water companies in England and Wales have invested over £120 billion to clean up their act and clean up the water environment. This has helped the UK shake off the ugly, but deserved label, ‘dirty man of Europe’. That investment was hugely successful in taking out gross-sources of pollution, using concrete and process technologies.

Despite this, and an ongoing programme of investment by water companies, problems remain. Fewer than a quarter of England’s waters meet the long-term standards required. It is now clear that the causes of this failure are as much connected to our broader uses of land and water as they are to water companies. Nutrients, sediments, pesticides and slurries from farming (to meet our needs for affordable food) cause as many problems to our water environment as sewage. Physical modifications and drainage (to meet our needs for resilient infrastructure and economic growth) cause many more disturbances than abstractions of water for public supply. These problems are spread out, often with no specific individual polluter.

Perversely, the cost of solving quality problems through land management, urban and rural, is often lower than it would be to use asset based, water company solutions. What is more, the additional benefits of catchment based solutions are widespread. These range from increased flood protection, more resilient water supplies, carbon storage and enhanced biodiversity.

DB1 DB2

Two catchment solutions in action. Micro-wetlands and swales can hold back peak flows and treat pollution from run-off. Flow deflectors can create habitat diversity and maintain fast flowing water when levels have dropped. Both are outputs from community catchment projects.

Water companies are alert to the fact that traditional, capital solutions are no longer the whole answer, particularly when the bill for future improvements will exceed £16 billion. Traditional approaches would lock their customers into repaying debt at interest rates that might not always be so kind. But more importantly, catchment based solutions could actually be £1 billion cheaper over the next 15 years and could unlock a further £5 billion of wider benefits to society.

Some final thoughts. Catchment management is not just about our environmental well-being. Catchment solutions are at the heart of enabling economic growth. There is a clear business case for connecting catchments, communities and businesses.

But to work in catchments, with communities, water companies (and other businesses) need to build trust in their brand. They need ambassadors and activists to broker deals and show water customers what catchment projects look like. In fact, what water companies need is to get on to Neighbourly. So congratulations to Wessex Water for doing that, and let’s hope that others follow suit.

 

About David

I work for Indepen (http://www.indepen.uk.com/index.html) a boutique management consultancy specialising in the economics, financing and regulation of the infrastructure sector, helping businesses succeed by building social and natural capital. Prior to that I worked in the Environment Agency for over twenty years, latterly being the lead for their approach to catchment management and implementing the Water Framework Directive. Water is the focus of my working day; I leave beer and wine to the evening.

Oct 26, 2015

Introducing neighbourly Food

The vision for neighbourly has always been to create a collaborative ‘one stop shop’ for businesses, organisations and individuals where all are empowered to work together to make their communities better, and stronger. Redistribution of useable surplus is an important part of this. Waste is bad for society, no-one benefits.

One of the topics that remains consistently hot is food waste. Despite reductions in recent years, in the UK we still continue to throw away significant volumes of food, in fact we’re one of the worst offenders in Europe. The amount of edible food being disposed of remains unacceptably high.

Looking at just retail and wholesale, the figures are relatively low compared with other areas – 0.25m tonnes out of a total of 15m tonnes of food lost or wasted each year. By comparison, preventable food waste by British households makes up 4.2m, with manufacturing at 3.9m. Despite this, we’ve found a great desire from retail businesses to change things, particularly at store level. Everyone agrees that food which is edible but surplus to requirements shouldn’t be thrown away.

The answer seems like an obvious one. Give it to those in need, right? But redistributing food, particularly fresh food, can be a logistical challenge. No single organisation can handle the volume of surplus being created. Donors need to find local outlets in a timely manner and recipients need to know what’s available for collection while still edible and safe. Even though there are hundreds of localised and well established charities that would benefit from free resources, there’s little transparency over who they are and what they need.

Neighbourly Food delivers a practical solution that creates transparency around the large number of redistribution charities and initiatives that exist. It consolidates and sign-posts all these different entry points for surplus in one digital hub. On one side businesses can set up timely ‘donations’ showing what’s available with location and expiry date. On the other side project teams can search or set up food alerts, accept the items online and arrange local collection.

In a recent pilot in the South West the tool helped to distribute over 2 tonnes of surplus food to communities where it was put to good use – organisations such as homeless charities and food education projects. Participating stores could see huge potential benefits, from a reduction in waste disposal costs to improved environmental impact and community relations.

We hope that by setting up this direct contact route, we can help divert thousands of tonnes of edible food away from landfill and into the hands of the most vulnerable.

Neighbourly food is available in all parts of the UK & Ireland. Charities and community groups interested in receiving food alerts can get started by creating a project page at neighbourly. It's simple to get started - just click here or visit neighbourly.com today!

 

Any donors with surplus edible food should get in touch with us via food@neighbourly.com.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/126516372

Oct 6, 2015

Proving the business case for corporate responsibility

A growing number of brands are getting a demonstrable financial return on investment from their corporate responsibility program, so much so that other internal budget holders are looking to get more involved.

Results fever has been gripping the nation these past few weeks and the feeling hasn’t passed me by! The latest corporate responsibility case studies and return on investment (ROI) analyses have been released and the results are even better than last year. Mirroring the pattern from this years’ exams results it seems the pass mark for the best grades is being pushed higher still by leading brands promoting the financial returns they are experiencing from well-managed corporate responsibility programs[1].
ROI blog

The recent Project ROI[2] report shows that some of the potential financial benefits realised from a well-designed and managed corporate responsibility (CR) program include up to a 20% increase in revenue, a 13% increase in productivity and an increase in market value of between 4% and 6%. Drawn from information from over 300 studies the findings suggest that it is time to move away from the debate over whether corporate responsibility creates value or not and onto how all businesses can prove the case for greater investment. Like other business functions the question now is how do we maximise our return on corporate responsibility? After all, if we are to make our efforts truly sustainable then they have to make business sense. I’ll come back to this question shortly but first we must explore how other companies have determined the ROI of their efforts.

To achieve results like this a company has to be fully committed to their environmental, social and governance programs and Project ROI has come up with a useful four point management framework to adopt for businesses to maximise their ROI. In short, businesses must ensure that their CR program: (1) matches their core function and stakeholders expectations, (2) receives full backing from the entire business, (3) is properly measured with results and goals published to show progress and (4) is highly visible to all stakeholders and communicated effectively to make a real connection.

We work with many brands which are at varying stages of their corporate responsibility journey but no matter which stage they are at they are continually encouraged by the results they are experiencing, especially with their work in local communities. Some are now getting to the stage when programs are becoming so successful internally that they are getting the attention of other departments, and other budgets.

Notably, the marketing department is viewing this activity as an alternative way to connect with customers and stand out from the crowd. After all the first point of the framework states the importance of matching CR objectives with business and customer interests, who else would better understand the latter than the marketing department? Enlightened marketers are now thinking about taking some of the underperforming advertising spend (10% or less) and allocating it to community engagement programs.

Various action groups[3] are also now in on this way of thinking and are lobbying companies like Coca Cola to put their $3BN global advertising budget to alternative use in tackling global social and environmental issues. With 91% of global consumers expecting companies to do more than make a profit[4] and social media mobilising millions, even billions, of consumers around the globe it’s easy to see why this idea is gaining momentum.

That’s not to say that these brands don’t have existing programs in place to make their business more responsible, Coca Cola has just announced that it is on track to safely replenish 100% of the water it uses in the production of beverages through community water projects by the end of this year[5]. But it is clear that both businesses and consumers want brands to be a highly visible agents of change and to motivate and inspire their staff, customers and business partners to do more.

Research has shown that customers are willing to pay more for socially and environmentally responsible products and services and it is important that financial metrics are more widely measured and shared to encourage everyone to keep up the good work.

Clearly, achieving a return on investment should not be the only reason a business chooses to become more environmentally and socially responsible. In a world of scarce resources doing the right thing by the planet and future generations is not just business sense, its common sense.

Lloyd Buxton, Head of Client Engagement, neighbourly

[1] Sustainable Brands – The new financial metrics of sustainable business: a practical catalogue of 20+ trailblazing case studies. [2] Project ROI: Defining the competitive and financial advantages for corporate responsibility and sustainability. [3] http://www.buytheworldahope.org/. [4] 2015 CONE Communications Global CSR Study. [5]http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/supply_chain/brynn_mcnally/coca-cola_says_its_track_being_water_neutral_end_2015?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=schtweets&utm_campaign=social

Graphic attribution:<a href='http://www.freepik.com/free-vector/business-man-start-up-success_802220.htm'>Designed by Freepik</a>

Aug 26, 2015

Engaging employees through CSR programs

With the majority of employees now wanting to work for a socially responsible company how do you leverage your CSR efforts to engage and motivate your staff?

The nature of work as we know it is undergoing fantastic change. People are getting used to the fact that they will have to work for longer and in this ‘generation bending’ [1] era we are witnessing amazing diversification in the workplace with Millennials working alongside Baby Boomers and Generation Z now entering the workforce.

So it stands to reason that if we are going to be working longer then we will start to apply a new set of criteria when choosing who to work for. Over the last ten years or so we have seen a big shift away from ‘money is the only motivation’ to ‘I want a balance between a decent wage and my welfare at work’. PwC research now shows that 65% of employees want to work for a socially responsible company[2].

As non-statutory welfare schemes become more mainstream (flexi time, health insurance, assistance programs, not forgetting the recent pensions reform!) employers are struggling to ‘stand out’. With 79% of employees considering corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments when deciding where to work[3] employers are increasingly leveraging their CSR programs to engage the workforce.

Millennials and Generation Z typically have the strongest views on social and environmental responsibility and the tools to research and vent their opinions via social media. The enthusiasm of youth is highly infectious (keep shining bright young things!) and this generation is having a profound impact on the baby boomers and others alongside whom they work. If you’re reading this at your desk now take a minute to look around. I’d bet you can see each generation well represented in your office, working shoulder to shoulder and influencing those around them with their social and environmental views: bicycle helmets on desks, diligent recycling habits, re-useable water bottles, the list goes on!

It works both ways…

Looking to the future, HR strategy is developing to attract the top talent and is capturing younger generations’ aspirations and views on employment, including building new talent strategies matching their organisations social conscience with the beliefs of their employees[4].

That’s because engaged employees are happy employees! Improved motivation increases attendance, reduces sick days and increases tenure of staff. This is clearly to the benefit of all but especially to HR. An effective CSR strategy can reduce the company’s staff turnover rate by up to 50% and increase productivity by up to 13%[5]. I’ve seen employee targeted CSR programmes increase average tenure by 30% in the retail sector, imagine what a 10% increase would mean to your business? After all, nothing is sustainable unless it brings business value too. 

Strategic vs tactical methods for leveraging CSR to engage the workforce

You may be lucky enough to work for a pioneering brand who has decided that CSR deserves a place at board level and is a key strategy to run a more sustainable business, differentiate your brand and survive for the long term. Brands such as Marks & Spencer’s, Ecotricity, Google and TOMS are  some examples of brands widely recognised as leading the way on this front and so communicating this to employees is an easier task.

Having said that, it is easy for an employee to feel disengaged if the business aspirations don’t match their own. You could argue that they need to find a better match (!) but often it’s a lack of tangible results which drives down engagement. Employees will get a sense of pride when their business backs a good cause but that sense of pride and motivation can really swell if they actually chose the cause themselves, especially a cause which matters to them locally, and one which they can share the outcomes amongst their social following.

Alternatively you may work for a brand which is on the journey to become a pioneer in this space and is not quite ready to make this strategy public. You may need to look at more tactical ways of leveraging your CSR efforts to engage employees and that’s where staff giving programmes can be highly effective.

Photo 29-07-2015 12 18 32

Staff giving programmes

We meet with many fantastic businesses who run great giving programmes and the two most popular types are match funding and volunteer programs.

72% of European companies surveyed by CECP offered an employee matching program in 2014[6] (this can be as generous as £6,000 per employee!). Most employees go for the classic raising money for an established larger charity but fewer will raise cash to do something at a more grass roots level and be directly involved in the outcomes. This could be raising cash to buy materials to fix the local sports pavilion or to take a local youth group on a day trip.

Very few initiatives will involve a larger group of employees getting involved and the kudos, quite rightly, only goes to the individual who did the ‘leg work’. It’s great their employer matched the cash but do they really care?  Companies are giving away millions of pounds to great causes but are not being associated with the positive outcomes. It’s this lack of visibility that often makes staff question how socially responsible their employers are. There is also a question of sustainability in these programmes – your staff can only go to their friends and family so many times to ask for sponsorship and once this generous resource is exhausted there isn’t anywhere else to go.

Perhaps a better way to encourage team building and really get momentum behind some good causes is to run a volunteer week. This can have a profoundly positive impact on staff morale - 83% of staff at Aviva say that volunteering improved their motivation[7]. The best of these programmes provides an intranet site with a pre-selected list of projects for staff to choose to be involved with. Giving time, and more importantly, matching specialist skills to a recognised need in the community around your stores or offices is often more appreciated by local projects as the value donated is seen as so much higher. Providing an after school club some help from your accountants with managing their books will stick in the mind longer than a donation of cash. As the saying goes: better to teach a man to fish than to give him fish for the day.

The issue is that these programs are often only run once a year and are driven from HQ presenting pre-defined options for volunteering. This leaves staff feeling less engaged in a project they do not resonate with. This is perhaps why, according to CECP, only 30% of employees volunteering is the average[8]. Also there is a big anti-climax after the week of activity – what happens next? Will I get to see the project next year? What impact did I have? Do I need to wait a whole year to get involved again!?

Back to the future?

50 years ago the workplace was very different. Work was more of a vocation for most and you stayed in a role for your entire career. To a large extent what you did shaped the person you were, be it a farmer, builder, factory worker, seamstress, baker, etc. Careers and skills were handed down through generations and defined entire families.

Perhaps what we are witnessing is a shift back to these values. Your job title will not define you but your choice of employer will as it increasingly aligns with your personal views on social and environmental responsibility.

As an employer your CSR strategy is becoming more and more important to your workforce. By providing staff with easy access to, and greater visibility of, your social and environmental programs you can create a culture of engaged, happy employees for whom work is more than just a pay check. Businesses that win will be those who can clearly articulate their CSR vision to a highly diversified workforce and offer everyone the opportunity to get involved in something they care about, making sure they see real outcomes and can continue their great work year in year out.

Lloyd Buxton, Head of Client Engagement, neighbourly

[1] Generations at Work, Herman Miller, [2] PwC survey of 10,000 member of the general population based in China, Germany, India, the UK and the US, [3] 2015 CONE Communications Global CSR Study, [4] PwC survey of 480 HR professionals from across the world, [5] Project ROI, Defining the Competitive and Financial Advantages of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, [6] CECP Giving around the globe 2014 edition, [7] Raconteur Corporate Philanthropy Report: http://raconteur.net/corporate-philanthropy, [8] CECP Giving in Numbers Brief Infographic: http://cecp.co/pdfs/giving_in_numbers/GIN_8x11_HighRes.pdf

Jul 31, 2015

4 trends which will make your colleagues care more about CSR

Research over the past few years has shown that your customers are paying more attention to your CSR strategy when buying, are you still having a hard time convincing colleagues that you need to be more visible in your efforts?

If you are reading this it’s likely that you are already well plugged in to social and environmental responsibility topics and are well versed in the latest research and evidence of why this is so important to consumers, employees, businesses and shareholders alike. You probably know that 84% of consumers try to purchase socially responsible and environmentally friendly goods and services whenever possible[1]. You fully appreciate that the future success of business will not be measured on profit alone and as Millennials and Generation Z make up more and more of your workforce and your customers, CSR will become a differentiator for your products and services, a reason for staff to work for you and the reason you are still in business in ten years’ time.

These arguments are far from being old hat and I believe there is still a long way to go to educate businesses in making the most of their CSR strategies and practices, but if you are still trying to convince someone in your workplace as to why they should care about these issues and start to change the way they do business perhaps these 4 trends may finally help you achieve the lightbulb moment. product

  1. Your competition is already using CSR as a differentiator


Perhaps this is obvious when you review such brands as Unilever, Patagonia and Marks & Spencers (Plan A) who are each already well on their way to becoming world leaders in their respective fields for social and environmental responsibility. Your colleague may not budge when regarded next to these brands as they are leaders and too far ahead to catch. But, if you look closer there is a much larger group of aspirational brands who are making fantastic public pledges to make their business more responsible.

Take Levi’s for example. They are embracing the cradle to cradle model for their jeans and you can now take any of your old clothes to Levis stores in the US and they will reuse, repurpose or recycle them with their partner I:CO[2]. They are considering product lifetime value alongside customer lifetime value to effectively shift consumer behaviour towards a more circular economy.

Or how about Heineken. They have committed to buying 50% of their raw materials from sustainable sources by 2020. Better still they have launched a digital campaign to inform their customers called Legendary 7 which follows seven farmers from across Europe who produce sustainable barley and hops[3].

  1. Powerful social media companies are influencing your stakeholders more than you think


It’s no surprise that companies such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and Pandora are shaping new marketing strategies which leverage the power of the social graph, particularly people’s communities, their beliefs and interests. Director of Operations and Strategy at Snapchat, Steve Hwang emphasised this last week:

“Authenticity is really important, and I don’t mean in terms of pretending to be someone’s Facebook friend. There is a ton of opportunity for brands to be more involved on a more local level in the real world”.[4]

As these companies ‘compete’ more intensely with one another they will increasingly come up with new ways of leveraging their social, local and mobile strengths and set the tone for engaging with communities at all touchpoints, including CSR.

  1. Government spending cuts means less money available for community spaces, and businesses will be expected to step in to the breach


Without politicising the point too much, it is clear that the overriding message for this next parliament is to reduce an individuals’ reliance on the state and ask that businesses do more to support their workforce. This is highly evident with the living wage legislation but also with a comment from the Prime Minister during the election campaign stating that employers should provide days off for staff who wish to do voluntary work. Legislation exists in the form of Section 106’s which require developer contributions to the community to make a development proposal acceptable in planning terms, and if further evidence is needed to illustrate the shift towards businesses supporting communities it’s the 2020 ‘graph of doom’[5] which shows Government discretionary spending on services like parks is set to fall by 60% in the next decade.

More powerfully, public opinion is also swaying towards businesses doing more in the communities in which they operate. With the majority of consumers expecting companies to do more than make a profit it stands to reason that one of the ways they can do this is to support the communities in which they operate and provide funding for projects which used to come from the Government.

  1. The rise of collaboration


There is some wonderful research from Clay Shirky which highlights just how much free time we have in our modern lives to commit to collaborative projects. It is estimated that there are 1 TRILLION hours of free time globally which Shirky calls a cognitive surplus and can easily be put to better use. It’s not that we have more free time, but we allocate our free time to things like watching TV which can be better utilised for doing well in our communities.

True, it will take a big incentive to persuade people to take some of this ‘me time’ and allocate it to other projects but we have seen this happen with Wikipedia and more and more collaborative projects (people offering free translation of web pages for example) are becoming mainstream. Another thought leader in this space is Dean Kamen who argues that free cultures get what they celebrate. If we begin to better reward civic value then collaborative projects will really start to take off and change society.

From a corporate perspective business leaders recognise that they need to work together if they are to make a measurable difference in society and I believe we will see greater collaboration in the future between corporations to tackle the biggest issues of our time. It’s not hard to imagine a clothes manufacturer committing to cutting down the amount of water used in production teaming up with a washing detergent brand and water company to reduce the impact of harmful chemicals in our waste water and educating people with better water management practices. We hear from leaders all the time that this approach is ‘pre-competitive’ and as such usually guarded corporates will be open to transparent and collaborative partnerships.

A varied audience needs a varied argument

As stated dear reader, you are the enlightened one. You are the change maker who is taking on the challenge of educating your colleagues and making social and environmental responsibility more visible throughout your organisation. We appreciate that in any given company these issues sit somewhere between PR, Operations, HR, Marketing and CSR departments each with their individual success criteria for your efforts. The fantastic news is that through greater visibility, transparency and collaboration you can bring these departments together and prove the benefit of social and environmental responsibility for all. And if you still need to convince certain corners of your organisation about amplifying your work perhaps one of these four trends may just help. I wish you the very best of luck!

Lloyd Buxton, Head of Client Engagement, neighbourly

[1] 2015 CONE Communications Global CSR Study [2] www.levistrauss.com/unzipped-blog/2014/01/lets-progress-with-less-together/ [3] www.theheinekencompany.com/media/features/heineken-legendary-7-campaignt5 [4] http://kingkong.com.au/top-makreting-insights-from-facebook-snapchat-twitter-and-pandora/ [5] www.publicsectorexecutive.com/Public-Sector-News/from-graph-of-doom-to-full-bloom

Jul 31, 2015

M&S Launches Spark Something Good

We are excited to announce the newly created M&S Spark Something Good programme, developed to inspire and motivate employees and customers to donate their time, not just their money, to local communities. On Wednesday 29th July in London, M&S, its customers and employees, along with members of local communities (and some of the neighbourly team) worked on completing 24 community projects in 24 hours! You can keep up to date with each project on their neighbourly pages!
  1. Kids Venture
  2. St. Raphael’s Edible Garden
  3. Sanctuary Housing Association
  4. Dress For Success
  5. The Winch
  6. Share Community
  7. Achievement for All
  8. Artbox
  9. Sound Minds
  10. Thames Reach
  11. Body & Soul
  12. Grays Inn Community Roof Garden
  13. HustleBucks Fashion Show
  14. Burgess Park Food Project
  15. Mini Cooking Club
  16. Brixton Soup Kitchen
  17. Uncover Theatre
  18. The ClementJames Centre
  19. St. Mary's Hospital
  20. Brandon East Allotment Development
  21. BeyondAutism
  22. CAYSH
  23. Wide Horizons
  24. The Limes Zest Kitchen
The launch will kick off projects in a further 24 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland over the next 24 months. Led by Joanna Lumley and CEO Marc Bolland, the company aims to spark its 34 million customers into action by showing just what can be achieved in just one day when people come together united by a common goal.

Jul 28, 2015