‘You can all make a difference’
This was the message from keynote speaker, Nicholas Cheffings, partner at law firm Hogan Lovells at our business leaders’ breakfast event last Friday.
100 business leaders and CSR experts from across London joined us at the Mansion House as Nicholas outlined how employee and customer expectations are changing: they expect to see companies today do more than simply making a profit.
Our other speakers Sir Harvey McGrath and the Lord Mayor agreed that employees feel proud of working for a responsible business, while clients increasingly ask what a company is doing to tackle issues such as inequality or climate change.
Panellist James Stones, partner at Beck Greener, outlined how their programme now engages employees from all parts of the business. Andrew Walker of Module Media described his small company’s policy of supporting apprentices and how this helped them create a pipeline of new talent.
Candidates now ask about responsible business activities when they apply for roles, according to Fiona Clark of David Miller Architects, and all the panellists agreed that either directly or indirectly their responsible business activities helped them to win more work.
Being a small business can be a real advantage in developing a responsible business programme: smaller companies can engage their entire staff team and quickly evolve their culture to embrace responsible business. Heart of the City helps SMEs to set up a programme with ready-made resources and expert support and our speakers and panellists agreed you don’t need a big budget or a dedicated team to really make an difference.
More detail on speakers
Nicholas Cheffings – Nicholas served as Chair of Hogan Lovells from 2012-2018. Nicholas joined Heart of the City’s Council of Members in 2014. He is also a diversity champion and Chair of PRIME. Nicholas is also a member of the Profit-with-Purpose Working Group for the UK National Advisory Board for Impact Investing.
James Stones – James is Partner at Beck Greener, a Camden based firm of patent attorneys, and IP Litigators. Beck Greener completed the Foundation Programme back in 2015 and over the past three years, have developed an innovative programme ‘STEM: Branching Out Project’ to encourage young people from unrepresented backgrounds to consider science, engineering and technology. Beck Greener won the Heart of the City Award at the 2018 Lord Mayor’s Dragon awards.
Fiona Clark – Fiona is Practice Director at David Miller Architects – an architectural practice based in Westminster with 25 employees. David Miller Architects are committed to placing social value at the core of their practice and are currently taking part in the 2018 Foundation Programme. David Miller Architects were recently recognised for their outstanding work experience programme, winning the ‘Inclusive Employment’ award at the 2018 Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards and they received an inaugural Westminster Lion Award for responsible business also in 2018.
Andrew Walker – Andrew is Managing Director at Module, a branding studio based near Blackfriars, that he founded in 2001. Module Media completed the Foundation Programme back in 2016 and remain with us as Advanced members. Apprenticeships and internships feature heavily as key element of their responsible business programme – providing work experience, career support and opportunities to those that don’t have the necessary work experience or qualifications but show real potential.