Heart of the City’s 10th leadership breakfast

‘Today made me want to take the plunge!’ a business leader said on his way out of Mansion House this morning.

The event was the successful culmination of our 2014 business outreach campaign which started last September in the run up to the launch of our 2014 Newcomers programme later this month.

Each year, Heart of the City engages thousands of business leaders across the City and City fringes to enter the responsibility debate and take action with the support of their peers – the 800 strong Heart of the City business community. Today’s leadership breakfast was an incredible occasion to witness the momentum created by those conversations first-hand.

The purpose of this morning was straight forward – to encourage the top leaders of London companies to start doing CSR, today.

Our President and host, The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of the City of London said, ‘The long-term goal is to build a strong, healthy society – promoting the best of British trade and industry, nurturing talent, and helping those most in need.’

Our Chairman Harvey McGrath powerfully reminded delegates of the reasons behind our call to action, ‘Responsible corporate behaviour is all about creating trusting, beneficial, long term relationships between your businesses and the market they serve. […] Although I have been a long time believer in business doing well by doing good, at a time when trust in business, and not just financial services business, has rarely been so low, responsible corporate behaviour must go beyond just giving something back and seek to engender those trusting, mutually beneficial relationships.’

‘What is the real value of CSR?’ and ‘What does it actually achieve?’ Those questions were asked by Michael Skapinker, Financial Times Assistant Editor, Columnist and FT Special Reports Editor, to the leaders of three Heart of the City member companies including:

  • Gary Elden, CEO of SThree
  • Claire Paisley, Partner, Baringa
  • Fabian Somerville-Cotton, Managing Director, ADM Investor Services International

For Gary, a former CSR sceptic, acting responsibly is common sense and a crucial point on the senior management agenda. As a recruitment company, Sthree particularly focuses on raising aspirations to support a diversity of talents into their industry. For Claire, responsible business starts with the right culture. For example, Baringa knows to adapt to the changing needs of employees starting families, a characteristic which allows the company to retain the best talents over time.

Fabian Somerville-Cotton said: ‘With the support of the Heart of the City network, I have been able to articulate a cohesive long term strategy for our CSR activities. As a small organisation, we needed to focus our energies to make the most difference and working collaboratively with peers has been invaluable to us.’

55 businesses will be working with us closely over the next year, through our Newcomers programme due to launch later this month. To read more, click here.

Read delegates’ comments on twitter @HOTC_UK

‘I have a clearer understanding of how CSR can benefit the business.’

‘I realised the breadth and depth of CSR opportunity.’

‘CSR, even for an SME, is easily achievable.’

‘I realised that I can start small and grow.’

‘I can see the importance of CSR as a key value to both our community and our company.’

‘I can see the benefit of a network of businesses sharing ideas as to more effective CSR initiatives.’

‘Xceed won’t be able to make CSR a success without Heart of the City!’

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