Twelve figures from the Scottish business community talk about what responsibility means to them.
GLOBAL RETAIL DIRECTOR AT SCOTTISHPOWER
“We launched a three-year partnership with Cancer Research UK in 2012 with the aim of raising £5 million. Two years later it had smashed this fundraising goal and now, having extended the partnership last year, has reached a £10m milestone. The vital funds have been generated through a wide range of creative initiatives and events including sponsorship of the Race for Life, Shine and Stand up to Cancer campaigns, sales of a bespoke Help Beat Cancer energy tariff and everything from bake-offs to bikeathons. Our customers and employees have shown amazing support for Cancer Research UK and their willingness to get involved in the fight against cancer has been inspiring.”
KEEPER OF THE REGISTERS OF SCOTLAND
“At RoS, we are in the midst of a three-year business transformation programme, based on the increased use of digitisation, which has placed the focus firmly on the customer. Our user experience panel has allowed customers to feed directly into our product development process, enabling us to build our services around their specific needs. This customer-focused and responsible approach allows us to identify and agree priorities, and to develop and road-test solutions.
Another area of responsibility for us is our commitment to the protection of the environment, and, to that end, we have cut paper usage by almost a quarter, while electricity consumption is down by around 10 per cent.”
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF CONFOR
“For Confor, being a responsible business is second nature, both for staff and the people and businesses we deal with in the forestry sector.
In the 1980s, forestry experienced a backlash against government-driven policies to establish timber-growing plantations that paid little attention to wildlife and people.
In response, forestry businesses developed a world-leading sustainability standard which secured the support of UK and international environmental organisations.
Forestry is now an exemplar in sustainability, with the added opportunity to soak up significant amounts of carbon and mitigate climate change.
Confor also supports an industry health and safety initiative, promotes industry best practice and has Investors in People accreditation. For us, engaging and supporting people and marrying environmental impact and business is what defines the forestry sector. It is also what motivates the Confor team.”
FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF EDEN SCOTT
“As business owners we have three areas of responsibility. Firstly, for our staff. We have a responsibility to create a truly inspiring, dynamic workplace and a profitable business that supports them, their families and their success. Secondly to our customers. We have a responsibility to operate in an ethical and professional way so our clients can be confident in the way we represent their brand and our candidates can be assured we will manage their career to the best of our ability.
And finally, to the economy. We have a responsibility to be successful; to offer employment in our local economies and to support other businesses to grow through programmes like Talent Spark, which offers advice and help to small and medium-sized enterprises across Scotland.”
HEAD OF HUMAN RESOURCES AT MARTIN CURRIE
“Our corporate responsibility programme helps connect us to the wider world and is, we believe, extensive for a company of our size.
Because of the substantial returns they bring, we view our community activities as an investment.
The benefits include the satisfaction of helping others, the opportunity to share new experiences, learn new skills, improve our health and wellbeing, and to have fun.
A proud achievement of ours has been the success of the Martin Currie Charitable Foundation and its flagship fundraising event – the Martin Currie Rob Roy Challenge, which has raised more than £3 million in aid of great causes and has been an inspirational event for all would-be adventurers out there.”
FOUNDER OF THE THREE CHIMNEYS RESTAURANT, SKYE
“Integrity is my top priority in everything I represent in business. Being true to our ethos and maintaining high standards at all times, through thick and thin, is what I strive to maintain every day. This is not always easy and has been threatened at times of recession and business stress frequently over the past 32 years.
Our remote location goes hand in hand with difficult challenges. But our location is also integral to our business ethos. Staff retention and working hours is our greatest challenge. We strive continuously to improve in this aspect of our responsibility for our team, as they are also at the core of everything we exemplify.”
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF VISITSCOTLAND
“Scotland is an inclusive, welcoming destination where barriers to visiting are broken down though our accessible and social tourism initiatives and communities in every corner of the country benefit from jobs and economic growth. As the national tourism organisation, we have a responsibility, not only to the millions of people who visit this country each year, but to our staff. VisitScotland is a living wage employer and believes that everyone working in the tourism industry should be rewarded fairly for their contribution to the visitor economy. We also aim to make Scotland a sustainable destination through promoting environmental accreditation to all tourism businesses.”
MANAGING DIRECTOR OF VIRGIN TRAINS EAST COAST
“It’s about recognising the bigger role that business plays in society. As a business, Virgin Trains is about providing fantastic rail journeys.
But we also help people cut their carbon footprint by choosing a low-pollution form of travel; we help people who might be struggling to find work develop meaningful careers; we support local businesses up and down our routes who are part of our supply chain.
And we look after our people because we know they give great customer service when they’re enjoying the work they do.”
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AT CHIVAS BROTHERS “We’ve found that making a positive contribution is a real passion for our employees, so we create ways for them to turn that motivation into action. In addition to our commitments on promoting responsible drinking and protecting the planet, we empower our employees to give back to their communities. By volunteering as part of our Chivas Spirit of Support programme and Pernod Ricard’s annual Responsib’ALL Day, they support community projects. On top of that, we encourage our employees to vote for their charity of the year, which we then support with both time and donations.”
SKIPPER AND OWNER OF PETERHEAD-BASED AMITY FISH COMPANY
“As a fisherman, responsibility comes with the job, whether it’s being responsible for your crew or for the way you fish. My passion for Scottish fish and seafood has been there all my life. Spending more than 40 years at sea has given me the knowledge of the best fishing grounds and technique, however it also now means I have a responsibility to teach new generations of crew and skippers. Two things motivate me to source the best for my customers; provenance and quality. Scottish waters boast some of the freshest, most-desirable seafood in the world and I am proud to be part of an industry which supplies the world with the best.”
PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND
“Responsible business in the legal sector means a well-managed, regulatory compliant and profitable practice. Its employees should have a clear understanding of the business goals and the individual roles they are expected to play in achieving those goals. The business will have a diverse workforce, reflecting the diversity of the local talent pool, and be managed by a partner group or board trained in modern management with regard to leadership styles, equality and sound financial practice. This responsible business will have a learning and development culture and clear guidance on conflict of interest, anti-money laundering and client engagement. The interests of its clients will be paramount and in turn it will have great client loyalty and good staff retention.”
FOUNDER OF ETEAKET, EDINBURGH
“Being a responsible business means looking at the bigger picture, ensuring our tea comes from ethical and sustainable sources, treating our team with respect and working with integrity to ensure our customers get a fair deal. All of these things have to be in balance to create a truly good business that my team and I can be proud of and feel fulfilled and excited to work in. We’re proud of our Cuppas for Causes initiative where we work with Aberlour Children’s Trust, provide education support to disadvantaged children in Parijat Academy in Assam and give mentoring support to young people at Craigroyston High School in Edinburgh.