Businesses today often have to do much more than provide their core services or products to survive. Society is asking us all to be more inclusive, more responsible, greener, safer and healthier. I’m a firm believer that being a responsible business and being a profitable business are not mutually exclusive. If we think about these challenges in the right way, we can come up with solutions that mean we all benefit.

But it takes time and resources to get it right. Resources that SME businesses might not always have access to. By being an ambassador for Heart of the City, I can contribute resources to the shared challenges that we all face. Some of the SMEs I’ve spoken with don’t know where to start, and some have so many ideas that they don’t have time to do them all! But what unites us all is a shared ambition to do good business.

Personally, I find being an ambassador very rewarding. It means I get exposure and insight into so many different industries, beyond those I’m used to working in. That challenges and excites me. One of the things that has been apparent is that whilst our industries may be different, when it comes to being a responsible business, those challenges are often shared.

I’ve supported Heart of the City members through encouraging Skanska’s own supply chain to be a part of the member network, by facilitating events and through peer to peer mentoring. Wherever Heart of the City members are on their journey to becoming a more responsible business, it’s rewarding to be able to provide some perspective and insight to help them along it.

Being an ambassador has also helped me add value to Skanska’s own SME supply chain. By building a greater understanding of what they need, it’s helped Skanska to establish how we can best enable them to achieve our shared sustainability objectives. We facilitate this through the provision of supplier workshops, learning events, and supply chain innovation showcases.

I would encourage others working in responsible business to become a Heart of the City ambassador. It’s a great way to expand your own network and insight, as well as having the opportunity to have a wider impact beyond your own organisation.

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