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CSR – Small Changes Can Make A Big Impact

Our CEO & Collector, Craig Vickery, was recently invited to write an article for the IFSD, Glasgow’s International and Financial Services District. Craig, pictured below, chose the topic of corporate social responsibility.

I grew up in a family that believed in putting others before oneself and it’s a mindset that I’ve carried throughout my life. As CEO & Collector of The Merchants House of Glasgow, I can combine my desire to make a positive difference in people’s lives with my professional background in finance and membership organisations.

In the UK, the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) began in 1971 when the Committee for Economic Development introduced the idea that companies function and exist because of public consent and therefore, companies should contribute to the needs of society. 50 years on CSR is still high on the agenda proving that it’s more than a buzzword. It is a necessity which is rewarding for employees, employers, and charities alike.

For many companies, the new financial year begins in April with senior management teams focusing on profit and growth, attracting and retaining talent, and creating a culture that is forward-thinking and inclusive. Yet in the current economic climate, how can CSR remain a priority when budgets are tight, and employees have demanding schedules? And does charitable CSR have to involve a huge commitment of time, effort, and money? Do you need to run marathons or give up your evenings to be involved? The simple answer is no.

Below are two examples of CSR that take very little time but when adopted as a regular habit, can raise significant funds for charity.

1. When hiring an external venue for meetings, networking events or dinners, choose a local not-for-profit venue that donates income from venue hire to good causes.

2. Order your next team lunch from a social enterprise like Launch Foods on Bothwell Street, which provides hungry kids with nutritious after-school meals in some of the city’s most deprived areas.

Personally, I was drawn to my role at The Merchants House because it donates to multiple charities across Glasgow and the West, many of which I was unaware of before starting this role. It genuinely feels good to know that the work we are doing makes a positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable people in our society.

In the last 3 years, the House awarded grant funding of over £650k to local charities including those providing bereavement services for children, combatting loneliness for isolated older people, or offering safe spaces for homeless people. We also awarded funding to food banks, social activities for youngsters from disadvantaged areas, community arts projects and support for young carers.

There’s a high chance that those working in Glasgow’s financial and business services district will have contributed towards that grant funding by attending a meeting, conference, or social event in our historic building opposite Queen Street Station. We welcome thousands of visitors every year and are very grateful for the support of the local business community and of our membership.