As a business that generated £2.4bn in 2012 in the UK, we've a responsibility not just to our clients and employees but to broader society. Our vision of doing the right thing for our clients, our people and our communities is, at the highest level, about giving something back through sharing our talent.
Our PwC in the Community programme is designed to make the biggest possible impact on behalf of our most significant community stakeholders, using the skills that are uniquely ours and which fit with our business aims. These aims are to:
We focus on developing long term relationships, where possible, so that we can make a lasting difference. And we offer a portfolio of support which includes financial donations, pro bono and discounted work and the skills or volunteering of our people.
This mix of activities offers our people a choice of ways to contribute so that as many of them as possible can benefit from the opportunities available.
Our community activities are underpinned by The PwC Foundation.
Opportunities and risks
There are few risks associated with our community involvement, although we're careful to make sure that no activities fall foul of our independence and compliance policies. But community activities provide us with a way of offering interesting experiences to our people, which strengthens our career proposition to potential recruits and existing employees.
The growing interest in measuring the social value of business activity, and in social enterprise as a way of tackling some of the toughest social issues in Britain, means there is increasing crossover between our community work and our work for clients in the public and not-for-profit sector. So our community programmes inform our client work and vice versa. And our community work engenders in our people a better understanding of value beyond financial accounting, as part of their overall awareness of sustainability.
To learn more see our case study, Beyond Sport.
Recognition for our achievement to date
In 2008, we were one of the first businesses to win the CommunityMark, a national accreditation developed by Business in the Community to recognise businesses that invest in their communities more effectively than others.
In 2011, we were one of only thirteen companies to be successful in retaining this award. As part of the submission process, we had to go through an in-depth independent assessment of our community investment and engagement efforts. The assessors asked our employees and community partners to scrutinise us to provide an additional source of evidence. Feedback from our community partners in particular was very positive and we were rated ‘best in class’ in several categories. The award is valid for three years.
Next generation community affairs
We've set our priorities so that we can make our programmes as relevant and impactful as possible for both our communities and for our business. We're focusing on addressing the challenge of unemployment in young people and disadvantaged groups through our extensive programmes to support academic attainment and job readiness in schools, and we're increasingly supporting social entrepreneurs to try new ways of tackling pressing issues in our communities across the UK.
For example, in 2011-12, our next generation community affairs programme included the creation of a hub for social and environmental change (The Fire Station), the opening of a social enterprise bistro and bar (Brigade), and the launch of our first knowledge exchange (the Centre for Social Impact).
Located in a renovated fire station near our office in London Bridge, the lower floors house Brigade bar and bistro, a joint venture social enterprise spanning the private, public and not-for-profit sectors and brings the complementary skills of PwC, De Vere Venues, The Homes and Communities Agency and social entrepreneur Simon Boyle to tackle homelessness and unemployment.
The upper floors host our community affairs programmes, and a new home for our main strategic community partners, the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and Social Enterprise UK. By concentrating skills and resources in this way we’ll be able to better share what we know and learn for the benefit of all the social entrepreneurs we support across the UK. For example, we launched a social entrepreneurs club and have been running social impact measurement master classes, as well as mentoring and business coaching.
In 2012, we’ve opened five more Centres for Social Impact, in Scotland, Leeds and Birmingham, creating a network of knowledge centres across the UK to engage with social enterprises near our large regional offices.
We’ve also mapped our volunteering activities to PwC’s core competencies, to help staff identify how volunteering can be part of their overall development and encouraged them to consider corporate sustainability as they set their annual objectives. This means we can now quantify the business benefits of our volunteering.
You can read more about all our activities this year in the 2012 Corporate Sustainability Annual Performance Update.