How responsible businesses can gain a competitive edge

Post author image. Nick Diamond

BITC Membership Director Nick Diamond discusses how BITC can help you realise your responsible business ambitions.

Members of Business in the Community (BITC) have unprecedented access to the expertise acquired through 40 years of leading the UK’s responsible business agenda. Today, BITC’s network of over 600 members across Great Britain and Northern Ireland can explore the ideas of pioneers from all sectors, and have the chance to make new connections, build new relationships and even secure potential leads.

‘Responsible Business’ is often described as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Corporate Responsibility (CR), sustainability, or, increasingly, within the parameters of Economic Social and Governance (ESG) criteria. Now more than ever we are seeing when a business develops its strategy, the way they embed responsible business is critically important to colleagues, communities and shareholders.

At BITC our people come from a range of diverse professional backgrounds. Some of us have extensive experience in delivering vibrantly effective community programmes, others have worked for decades for some of the UK’s largest businesses.

Membership Director Nick Diamond has been involved with BITC for almost a decade, sitting on our London Leadership Board, and being appointed Prince’s Ambassador in 2012. Since July 2018, Nick has led our expert Membership Team, working closely with businesses across the country to provide dedicated, personal support to help them exceed their responsible business ambitions.

We spoke to Nick to discuss his professional experience and reflect on the need for businesses of all sizes and sectors to be part of a network that is driving real and lasting change.

Nick, what first attracted you to Business in the Community?

I already had good knowledge of BITC as a customer and event attendee and was invited to become a Regional Board Member, and one of the Prince’s Responsible Business Ambassadors. In these roles, I met incredible people who were motivated to drive change not only within their businesses but in society too.

Through this experience, BITC really got into my blood, and I’ve always been very supportive of the purpose of the charity.

Having worked in banking for 30 years, in roles with Bank of America, HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Lloyds Banking Group, I took a career decision to leave banking and moved to support BITC in a consultative role. From there, one day turned into two, six months turned into a year, and before I knew it, I was working full-time alongside our Executive Team to help grow the UK’s largest and longest-established network dedicated to responsible business.

Why is now a vital time for a business to join BITC?

The seismic changes caused by, and amplified by, the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 18 months have brought unprecedented opportunities for businesses to drive positive, transformative change for everyone’s benefit. Today, if you want to remain competitive, to retain and expand your customer base, to attract leading talent, and to meet and exceed the requirements of your shareholders and stakeholders, you simply cannot afford to miss out on this unique chance to re-evaluate and reset.

We are witnessing huge investment inflows into socially conscious companies. And with accelerating reforms to pension portfolios, and dramatic changes to both fund managers’ and private investors’ asset allocations, this trend will not go away.

Being able to have real conversations with like-minded people, leaders, and businesses will put you in a stronger position to be a true agent of change. Whether you’re thinking about how best to recover from the pandemic, addressing race inequality, taking climate action, or re-engaging with your local community of customers and clients, BITC is the best place to help you bring this all together.

What excites me most is how the business approach towards responsibility has now truly changed.

Nick Diamond, BITC Membership Director at Business in the Community

What sort of service can members expect from you and your team?

From my commercial background, I’ve long been a believer in the power of relationship management. We never want anyone to feel like they are going it alone, and so our members know there is a real person taking responsibility for ensuring that we deliver in the right way to meet their needs.

Every member can expect the relationship managers in my team to invest the time to truly understand their needs and ambitions, so that we can give them honest advice that supports them most on their responsible business journey. We have decades of experience of helping businesses every step of the way, whether they’re just starting out, or are ready to lead and inspire others.

My expectation is that my team work closely with you to help you access our leading-edge resources, learn from best practice examples of peers, and introduce you to like-minded people from business, effective community organisations and potential partners. We are also on hand to offer bespoke advice or work with you to promote your achievements and thought leadership.

Looking ahead to a hopeful economic recovery following the pandemic, what developments do you think offer the most exciting opportunities for our network?

What excites me most is how the business approach towards responsibility has now truly changed. This used to be a side-of-desk ‘nice to do’, but has since moved to a more serious, central aspect of running a company, so that it is now something business ‘must do’.

BITC has been working towards this moment for nearly 40 years, really normalising what it means to properly look after staff wellbeing, to treat people with equity and respect, to credibly engage with local people and communities, to be climate-conscious in every decision. Our members and community partners recognise this, our public sector and government advocates see this too.

It excites me when I see businesses speaking about their purpose. Ironically, the pandemic accelerated this. We have seen a significant shift in momentum over the past 18 months, with more and more businesses recognising that thinking, behaving, and planning responsibly is essential for long-term success. This evidence base, and the trust in businesses doing good, will continue to grow.

Next steps

Whether you’re looking to start your responsible business journey or planning your critical next steps towards improvement, our friendly, expert team are here to support you on your way. Get in touch with us today to book a call with one of our team.