SME news in brief: Responsible Business Week

Responsible Business Week
Responsible Business Week

Lloyds to support Responsible Business Week

Lloyds Banking Group is set to show its support for Responsible Business Week, the high-profile annual awareness week that is dedicated to profiling the contribution of business on society.

Responsible Business Week 2016 (18 – 22 April), coordinated by the charity Business in the Community, was created to increase awareness of the powerful difference that business makes to the economic, social and environmental challenges the UK faces.

During Responsible Business Week, Group colleagues will demonstrate the difference they make to people, businesses and communities through a range of activities, including volunteering hundreds of hours as mentors across a range of Group initiatives, such as: Lloyds Scholars, School Governance, Social Entrepreneurs, Charities and Career Ready Mentoring.

Chief Executive of Business in the Community Stephen Howard said: “Responsible Business Week is an opportunity to raise the profile of business as a force for good and give some much needed visibility to the positive difference business is making to our communities, environment and economy.

By creating this space to share ideas that are working, we’re able to challenge and inspire many more organisations of all sizes to be part of a movement transforming the way business is done. We all know trust in business is a challenge. Responsible Business Week is also an opportunity to help business build dialogue with the public by being more transparent about how it does business.”

Zendesk partners Be My Eyes

Zendesk has announced a partnership with Be My Eyes to provide business mentorship, resources and a financial contribution to the socially conscious start-up, which connects the blind with a network of sighted people through live mobile video. The company is also committed to integrating Be My Eyes’ model of crowdsourced volunteering into Zendesk’s customer service platform.

“Be My Eyes represents a new generation of start-ups that is putting social responsibility at the core of the company at its founding,” said Zendesk founder and CEO Mikkel Svane. “We want to share our resources and experience so that even more socially minded entrepreneurs around the world can mobilise people to help others through technology and new business models.”

Banks called on to be more open about investments

Emphasising a rising demand for openness, 50% of consumers claim it should be standard practice for customers to be made aware of where their money is being invested or lent. Only 3% said they do not think it’s necessary for banks to disclose this information.

Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about how their savings and investments can affect the climate, and 55% believe financial institutions do not provide them with enough information on the issue.

The same proportion said that the environmental events that dominated news headlines in 2015 - including the Volkswagen emissions scandal, flooding in England and the Paris Climate Summit - have shown that more needs to be done to mitigate effects of climate change.

Triodos head of retail banking Huw Davies said: “The desire to know how funds are being used symbolises a shift in consumer awareness that investments can impact society for better or worse. Banks must respond to this increased awareness by becoming more transparent, enabling their customers to make informed decisions about their finances. Customers have the right to know more about how banks use the money they entrust with them.”

Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign

The European workforce is ageing fast. In the UK, 30% or more of the total workforce is already over 50 years’ old, while 60 year and older employees constitute 23% of the workforce, and this figure is set to rise to 30.7% by 2020.

This demographic trend creates significant challenges and opportunities for both employers and their workforces. That’s why the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) is launching the Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign. It is set to alert European employers to the urgency of the situation and the need to respond to it in a positive way.

The aims of the campaign are:

• promotion of sustainable work and healthy ageing and the importance of risk prevention throughout working life;

• assisting employers and workers of all ages by providing information and tools for managing occupational safety and health (OSH) in the context of an ageing workforce, and

• facilitation of information and good practice exchange in this area.