Putting Ethos Into Action – SG launches Impact Assessment Project

By Jodie Affleck | July 13, 2021

As we discussed in our June blog, awareness of the climate crisis is central to our work as a construction specialist PR agency. However, as our company grows, we recognise the need to not only engage with the issue professionally but to put environmental and social responsibility at the heart of all our decisions.

To do this, we have launched a 12-month Impact Assessment and Reporting Project. This has been designed to not only define and celebrate where we are right now, but to give us a clear indication of where we need to improve. We know we are far from perfect, but we want to recognise our flaws and share the journey we are embarking on in response to them in the hope that it will inspire other businesses—regardless of size— to join us in creating a fairer, more conscious world.

Why now?

Impact reporting is something we have discussed for a long time and have always had informal discussions on the things we want to do to take our business to the next level. However, as both our team and our client portfolio has grown, we have become increasingly aware that this action cannot be ad hoc. Instead, we needed a clear strategy to measure our current impact, and to use this data to drive continuous change for good.

And then the pandemic happened.

Of course, this hit business hard— and SG was no exception. However, as we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, many businesses are still using the turbulence of the last year as an excuse not to focus on CSR, sustainability, and equality in their operations— aided by decisions such as the government’s ‘holiday’ on reporting gender pay gap data. But we believe the events of the last year have made these things more pressing, not less. Far from dampening our passion for being a business that acts with integrity, the pandemic has fuelled it, bringing us closer together as a team and making us even more aware of the dichotomy of fragility and resilience in the world around us.

We’d be lying if we said this wasn’t also driven by the fact that ensuring a positive environmental and social impact also makes good business sense. Reducing waste, creating a happy and diverse workplace, giving back to the local community are all things which can really make a difference to a business’ profitability and desirability when it comes to attracting the best talent and clients.

Building on this momentum (bolstered by some excellent online training events and webinars), we put our heads together to outline what is now our Impact Assessment Project.

Our approach

Over the next 12 months, we will be working to set up the internal structures and processes we need to make CSR reporting a standard part of our business. We are approaching this in 4 defined stages.

Stage 1 – Discover (currently in progress)

We are starting to undertake some clear benchmarking activities (both internal and external), which will help us define targets and report progress throughout this campaign. We will be reporting on where we are at in the coming months, so look out for that!

Stage 2 – Define

With all our benchmarking data, we will then begin to define our goals and also our approach. We will also try to quickly enact any simple changes, such as setting up process to formally monitor things that we are already doing but don’t necessarily keep track of. We will also be looking at how we can use our brand platforms, such as our website, to better define our aims and values.

Stage 3 – Develop

This is where we will take on the background work for some of the heftier changes we need to make and where we will review our progress since the beginning of the campaign.

Stage 4- Demonstrate

We will produce our first annual impact report, communicating the first 12 months of this journey to our stakeholders and create an action plan for the next year. We will also be exploring third party accreditation to verify our position and progress to our clients and the industry, and ways we can share our journey to inspire others to do the same.

To ensure continuous momentum, the campaign is being driven by a small Impact Focus Group, with contributions from the whole team along the way.

We are not here to bullsh*t.

This is not a tick box exercise or a short-term PR campaign.

This is work that we, as a team, are deeply invested in and care about, and which we believe will highlight all the best bits about our brilliant company and open up opportunities for us to do and be even better.

This is the starting point for long term, sustainable development of the business. For this to work, we are committed to:

  • Setting clear, realistic and data driven targets
  • Holding ourselves accountable through regular, transparent internal and external reporting
  • Having fun and getting passionate— because if this is going to be a long-term thing, it has to be done in a way which aligns with who we are!

Creating a stronger SG

Our business has always had an excellent organisational culture that prioritises staff wellbeing and ethical practices. We hope by undertaking this work and communicating about it with complete honesty, we will formally embed this culture and provide a means of harnessing it as a tool that we can use to demonstrate what is possible to our clients and the wider market.

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