Scotland Awards 2015

Scottish Business in the Community (as the organisation was known before merging and becoming Business in the Community Scotland) held its 2015 annual celebration on Tuesday 23 June.

The Scottish Business in the Community (SBC) Awards took place in the spectacular surroundings of Prestonfield, Edinburgh in the presence of our President, His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay.

Comedian Fred MacAulay kept the audience entertained throughout the evening, the Prestonfield team looked after guests beautifully and William Grant and Sons delivered two fantastic drinks receptions. Supported by Asda, Barclays and Virgin Money, this celebration of the best of Scottish CSR was the jewel in the crown of the Scottish business events season . Read about our winners below.

The Winners

Asda – SBC’s Large Company of the Year 2015

Asda – SBC’s Large Company of the Year 2015

Retailer Asda continued to be a leader across all facets of responsible business practice in Scotland. One of the many highlights of the company's approach was its food redistribution partnership with FareShare, which helps to alleviate food poverty. This has resulted in the equivalent of 265,000 meals going to more than 140 good causes in Scotland in 2014, preventing several hundred tonnes of good food going to waste.

The company aims to tackle key social issues in some of Scotland’s most deprived communities. One of its initiatives is an alcohol education outreach programme in Dundee, delivered by alcohol and drug charity Addaction, which has delivered 3,812 youth interventions, while a further 511 young people have received specialist substances misuse support.

Recognising the importance of supplier development in Scotland, Asda has developed a supplier development academy, which goes beyond the company’s own supply chain and so helps food and drink businesses to grow and expand, with resulting benefits for jobs and the wider economy. Currently Asda sources from more than 150 Scottish suppliers, who supply approximately 1,200 product lines to its stores, and it invest £1.1bn with Scottish suppliers every year.

The introduction of the carrier bag tax in Scotland in the past year has prompted retailers to create a strategy for how monies are spent. For Asda this has meant a new charity partnership with Social Investment Scotland and Foundation Scotland to distribute the proceeds through loans and grants, particularly to social enterprises.

The judges of this award felt that Asda was a “game changer” in the field of sustainability and in empowering stakeholders and suppliers to follow suit.

Vegware – SBC’s SME of the Year 2015

Vegware – SBC’s SME of the Year 2015

Vegware is a manufacturer of completely compostable eco packaging – the only compostable foodservice packaging firm operating globally. Unlike most food service packaging, Vegware can be recycled simply after use. The company began in Scotland and whilst it remains a modest operation in size with 54 employees, it now operates in UK, USA, South Africa, Australia, UAE and Hong Kong, with distribution throughout Europe and North America.

The company invests time, expertise and capital to develop plant-based compostable versions of the most used foodservice packaging. Its pioneering work to join up the waste and packaging sectors is reducing the environmental impact of catering disposables, and creating ground-breaking support services to drive the UK foodservice sector towards zero waste.

All of the packaging is plastic-free, low-carbon and made  from entirely recycled or annually renewable plant materials. It is delivered with a sustainable and traceable supply chain and can break down in less than 12 weeks.

Sustainability is at the core of how this business operates. Vegware has grown by 919% over the last five years (Deloitte Fast50 2014). and is an example to all businesses of how sustainability and commercial success mix well together.

The SBC judges commended the company’s unique story not only in achieving success for its own business but for providing direction to others on their sustainability practices. Vegware’s food waste network, for example, offers free and impartial assistance to match any UK business with its ideal food waste recycling partner, diverting compostable waste away from landfill.

Vegware has also set up a community fund to ensure they support sustainability in its widest sense, and gives monthly grants for non-profit community projects around the world, as well as product donations. A new recipient is added every quarter as the company continues to grow. Vegware is a true Scottish success story.

State Street – SBC’s Volunteering Company of the Year 2015

State Street – SBC’s Volunteering Company of the Year 2015

State Street is a leading provider of financial services to institutional investors including investment servicing, investment management and research and trading. The corporation’s headquarters are in Boston with a significant presence in London and Edinburgh.

State Street has a long history of volunteerism. The company’s approach is primarily one of employee engagement, with some strategic programs in key focus areas, such as board training and mentoring. Volunteerism should be truly “voluntary” so the company does not impose quotas on employees, or force them to volunteer with causes for which they have no passion.

The company relies on local employees to determine what social issues are most important in their locale, as well as what projects would be a good fit for volunteering.

In 2014 employees in Edinburgh engaged in a wide range of activities, from community regeneration and development, to environmental and skills-based volunteering. This year the company proactively encouraged staff to share professional and business expertise to create longer-term impact in the community through the delivery of CV workshops, mock interviews, mentoring, literacy programmes, strategic advice and business planning.

The company supported a variety of local community partners, including Natural Heritage Service, North Edinburgh Arts, Muirhouse Youth Development Group, Leonard Cheshire Foundation, Ferryhill Primary School, Stepping Stones, St Columba’s Hospice, The Rock Trust, Edinburgh Women’s Aid, The Prince’s Trust and Street League, with Edinburgh employees donating over 2,700 volunteer hours (an increase of 68% on 2013).  In addition, staff continued to leverage from State Street’s Matching Gift Program to donate almost £18000 (a significant increase of 170% vs. 2013) in matched funding to Scottish charities.

Scottish Widows (part of Lloyds Banking Group) – SBC’s Volunteering Team of the Year 2015

Scottish Widows (part of Lloyds Banking Group) – SBC’s Volunteering Team of the Year 2015

Scottish Widows is the UK’s leading retirement solutions and protection provider. The company is actively involved in Paired Reading, a programme offered by Scottish Business in the Community which brings together business volunteers and schools, working to improve standards in literacy.

Volunteers from Scottish Widows site at Dalkeith Road in Edinburgh make regular visits to Prestonfield Primary and Preston Street Primary to conduct reading sessions. This helps support the schools through listening to children read and assisting the children to improve their reading. These children may lack confidence or receive little support at home, or just need a friend to work with regularly.

The children involved have gained confidence, improved their literacy and have learned to love reading. Volunteers have reported great personal satisfaction from their involvement in the scheme as well as improved communication skills, and the school values the extra support and benefits brought to the children.

Many staff are so enthused with the project that they go on to take part in training sessions to share their experience with other colleagues looking to join the group. Various skills have been gained by individual members of the group including logistics, planning and project management.

The schools often comment that this is a valuable service to them, and as a result Scottish Widows volunteers are seen as an important resource for the local community. This is a volunteering team that has come a long way in the last few years and made a positive difference to pupils’ lives.

Emma Blaikie, John Lewis Partnership -SBC’s Employee Volunteer of the Year 2015

Emma Blaikie, John Lewis Partnership -SBC’s Employee Volunteer of the Year 2015

Emma Blaikie is a Selling Assistant at John Lewis in Edinburgh whose commitment to volunteering beyond the workplace – coupled with her leadership skills – stood out amongst the other high quality applicants. Emma has always been involved in volunteering and is always first to offer her own time to any fundraising project in her branch.

Emma received a Golden Jubilee Award from John Lewis, which allowed her to take on a secondment with her chosen charity, Bloodwise, while still remaining a John Lewis employee. She was driven by her own experience of illness and her need to give something back, so she set about to share her skills and raise public awareness of blood cancer research in the community.

After successfully applying for the Award, her main project was to plan and execute a new fundraising Winter Walk for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. The result was 100 participants raising nearly £9K. The real success cannot be fully measured; the amount of time Emma has devoted to social media, highlighting the work of the charity and posting so many positive stories is just as important as the money raised.

Emma is a highly motivated and selfless individual whose drive and tenacity impressed the judging panel.

DWF – SBC’s Closing The Education Gap winner 2015

DWF – SBC’s Closing The Education Gap winner 2015

DWF LLP is a top 20 business law firm with almost 2,500 people working across 13 locations in the UK, Ireland and Middle East.

The company is passionate about engaging with schools to tackle the negative impact of one in five children in Scotland growing up in poverty. The company does this through a strategic focus on education and activity that raises aspiration, confidence and resilience in young people – providing a solid foundation to enable children to reach their potential.

DWF developed the 5 STAR Futures programme to stop social background predicting a young person’s success by focusing on confidence and employability skills to help young people become work-ready. The company partner with schools that have a higher than average percentage of pupils who receive free school meals and this helps them close the achievement gap - supporting local communities in living healthy, productive and rewarding working lives.

The strategy is to maintain a focus on those areas where they have a visible presence – currently 12 locations, including Edinburgh and Glasgow – where there are persistent pockets of deprivation, lower than average skills levels / formal qualifications, poorer health levels and lower levels of employability. The focus is on supporting and enabling those furthest from employment to raise their aspirations, academic attainment and confidence, so they leave education with the skills and qualifications that are valued by employers.

The judges found DWF’s approach inspiring to others and were heartened to hear that the company plans to expand the delivery of 5 STAR Futures to more schools through collaboration with clients, SBC members and DWF’s own supply chain.

The Crown Estate – SBC’s Environmental Leadership joint winner 2015

The Crown Estate – SBC’s Environmental Leadership joint winner 2015

Established by Parliament to manage the hereditary estates of the Crown on behalf of the nation, The Crown Estate proactively manages a diverse portfolio including office, retail and industrial premises, housing, farmland, forestry, over half the foreshore, and almost all the seabed around the UK. The revenue earned is paid to the Treasury for the benefit of the nation.

In its position as an experienced land manager with significant expertise and reach, The Crown Estate is well placed for the facilitation of sustainable growth and investment and is a proactive leader and innovator in this area.

The Crown Estate does this through direct investment, initiation of projects, promotion and demonstration of good practice, education, research and delivery of direct environmental enhancement and conservation projects. This involves:

  • Initiation of numerous habitat and species management projects;
  • Promoting environmental awareness through innovative education programmes;
  • Embedding environmental sustainability in commercial development projects;
  • Promoting green workplace practices;
  • Driving natural capital accounting and ecosystem services business management approaches;
  • Playing a leading role in developing partnerships, drawing down and match-funding investment for landscape and conservation initiatives;
  • Initiating, promoting and funding environmental research;
  • Establishing pioneering community engagement and environmental protection schemes.

Sustainability is at the centre of all that The Crown Estate does, guiding decisions and creating significant value beyond financial return. The core values of commercialism, integrity and stewardship are the foundation for all business decisions that are made.

Élan Hair Design – SBC’s Environmental Leadership joint winner 2015

Élan Hair Design – SBC’s Environmental Leadership joint winner 2015

Established in 1971, Élan is a ground-breaking salon in Inverurie town centre, currently employing 13 people.  It has recently had a £250,000 refurbishment with sustainability rooted firmly at its heart. Run by the Milton family, the salon has adopted a dynamic, unique approach to addressing environment concerns resulting in significant commercial benefits.

The family’s eco-friendly approach is highly imaginative and proactive, covering a huge and diverse range of initiatives and actions.  A few of these are:

  • Minimising water, heat and power consumption;
  • Using only the most eco-friendly products and suppliers. The company has also engaged with numerous UK-wide brands and suppliers that share the same environmental ethos;
  • Actively sourcing products that can be recycled;
  • Developing an environmental action plan. The salon has monitored a wide range of business operations and established processes to significantly reduce its environmental impact;
  • Developing a carbon management plan, endorsed by the Carbon Trust, that has reduced carbon emissions by 94% – equivalent to 110 tonnes overall;
  • Reducing water consumption by 82% – an annual saving of £1,168.

Élan is a unique salon, one that even sends its discarded hair and other biodegradable waste to be spread as compost on local farmers’ fields. It is a pioneering salon – the first in the UK to embark on many initiatives – and an inspiration to other businesses both locally and nationally.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car – SBC’s Working Better winner 2015

Enterprise Rent-A-Car – SBC’s Working Better winner 2015

Founded in 1957, Enterprise Rent-A-Car has developed into an internationally recognised brand with a culture based on values that have set the tone for the company’s business practices. Enterprise is fully committed to providing every employee with an inclusive workplace that offers respect, training and opportunities to succeed. The company’s has “Our doors are open” as its founding principle and holds a deep-rooted belief that diverse companies perform better.

Diversity is a central goal in all areas of Enterprise’s business, and the company’s commitment extends to every employee, customer and business partner. It is Enterprise’s goal to create a culturally-aware work force and a culturally competent organisation that mirrors the makeup of the communities it serves.

Some brief highlights of the company’s practice include:

  • Being a member of Opportunity Now (now BITC's Gender Equality Campaign) an organisation that helps businesses create a more inclusive workplace for women;
  • Running a Diversity/Career and Family Focus Group that helps in the recruitment, retention and development of the workforce;
  • Engaging with a diverse supplier base – Enterprise has implemented an intensive three-day diversity training course for all employees which will help and support employees to understand the reasons behind the firm’s commitment to engage with diverse suppliers;
  • Promoting and supporting employees who volunteer their time with a variety of different charities.