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Birmingham Business Pledge launched by leading city businesses

22 Nov 2021

A contingent of the city’s largest professional employers has launched the ‘Birmingham Business Pledge’ (the Pledge) as a declaration of intent to support the city’s future.

The impact of Covid-19 has led some to question the long-term sustainability of major city centres such as Birmingham’s, where 180,000 people work within the ring road.

The Birmingham Business Pledge has been launched in response and direct proactive result to Colmore Business District’s Future Business District Report, a study that looks at the long-term recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and offers direction and best practice for central business districts across the UK.

The Pledge is a positive statement from 19 leading Birmingham employers about the city centre’s future. Its aim is to achieve a way forward for a more sustainable and economically and socially productive city centre through collaborative action.

The Pledge is built upon five pillars. They are:

  1. To contribute to the sustainability of the city – recognising the challenges of climate change and committing to working with the authorities to find practical ways of accelerating a net zero journey, improving transport links, and creating more pleasant, safer public realm environments
  2. To be inclusive leaders – ensuring businesses reflect the communities they serve, and seek opportunities to consider how equality, diversity, and inclusion can be better promoted
  3. To create and sustain spaces for people to grow – to harness hybrid working, expanding the physical and virtual talent pool while encouraging staff to collaborate, innovate and come together in the city centre
  4. To embrace the city’s unique offering – seek to find new ways to support the character of the place, the independents, the artists, and the cultural venues
  5. To celebrate the city – do more to promote the strengths and opportunities that this city presents to staff, customers and stakeholders.

Signatories to the Pledge include: Avison Young, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, Deloitte, Ernst & Young LLP, Eversheds Sutherland, Gateley, Gowling WLG, HSBC, JLL, KPMG, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest, Pinsent Masons LLP, PwC, Shakespeare Martineau, Shoosmiths LLP, Squire Patton Boggs, Trowers & Hamlins LLP and Wesleyan.

Alex Bishop, partner and co-head of law firm Shoosmiths’ Birmingham office, said: 

 “As a business community, we want to come together with a declaration of intent in support of our city’s future. The last 18 months has seen unprecedented change. While there have been challenges, this unique time represents an opportunity for us all as business leaders to think about what more we can be doing to stimulate economic growth in the hybrid working world, create stronger, diverse communities and enhance our public realm space.

“Along with the local authority and other public organisations, it is also incumbent on businesses to do what they can to breathe life into city centres, and by meeting regularly to share best practice, ideas and our progress around these pillars, through collective action, we can make a real difference.”

Yetunde Dania, Partner and Head of Birmingham office, Trowers & Hamlins, said:

"We are proud to support the Birmingham Business Pledge and we look forward to playing our part in shaping the future of our wonderful city. At Trowers, we are passionate about influencing positive change across our communities, our business and our people. Over the ten years since we opened our office we have become an integral part of the business community in Birmingham and we see huge value in continuing to connect and build strong relationships.

“The Birmingham Business Pledge is synonymous with our focus on building sustainable cities through real placemaking and inclusivity and echoes our drive for placing societal value at the heart of what we do.

“There is lots on the horizon, huge investment and exciting plans for Birmingham, the most imminent being the Commonwealth Games which will provide countless opportunities for our diverse talent pool and will provide a real boost to our local economy. Through initiatives such as this we can ensure that we as businesses work together to utilise everything that is on offer for our communities and really position Birmingham on the global stage."

Matthew Hammond, Midlands Region Leader, PwC said:

“We are delighted to be supporting the pledge. It’s important for the business community to come together to support this commitment, inspire others to also do so and empower the communities in which we all work in a diverse and inclusive manner. I’m pleased the pledge will give us a platform to demonstrate this in such a tangible way through our various pledges.

“Sustainable, vibrant, economically and socially productive cities benefit us all. By protecting our business districts we can ensure the benefits from this recovery and growth are fairly shared across people from all social backgrounds. Having been hit hard by the pandemic, people want to see businesses actively stepping up and making social mobility a central part of rebuilding our economy.”

Birmingham businesses are being called upon to make their own pledges, ensuring a more sustainable, economically and socially productive city centre. For more information visit Colmore Business District.

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