‘Social’ is often considered the hardest part of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) to measure and report on, but this is changing as telecoms service providers increasingly include volunteering and charity work days in employee contracts, in addition to their other initiatives for their business partners, and customers.
When it comes to service providers’ ESG initiatives – and there is currently a tsunami of them – the ‘easiest’ initial target is companies’ own carbon output, water usage, employee demographics and so forth, as these are relatively readily quantifiable. This, however, gets tougher the further you report up and down the value/supply chain.
On the other hand, social has its own challenges and advantages. Whilst it is harder to quantify beyond aspects like employee data, it has other ‘low-hanging fruit’ – notable amongst which has been the proliferation of volunteering and charity days offered to employees. This serves not only to improve brand image by making a positive difference to communities, but also helps when looking to attract talent in a competitive employment marketplace. It also has the advantage of being under the company’s control.
In addition, such schemes have further potential benefits: they reaffirm a commitment to ESG as a whole (all three aspects interlink), which is of ever greater importance with customers, regulators, and governments. Also, by exposing employees to external challenges, environments, and people, activities can serve to drive creativity and ‘left of field’ ideas from outside the corporate environment.
Volunteering – the feel good factor
UK charity Volunteering Matters points out that: “Almost 80% of volunteers stated that volunteering enhanced positive feelings about their employer and over 70% had an improved sense of purpose. When asking volunteers about the impact of the experience they also noted increased motivation at work, effective team building, improved communication, and a feeling of using their skills to make a difference.
Employee volunteering programs offer significant impact for employers’ objectives, and the wider community. They provide a transformative impact on good causes and people’s lives, while developing employees’ professional skills and team relationships. By creating lasting positive changes within their local community businesses can show their commitment to social impact.” Offering the opportunity for employees to volunteer as a recognized part of their professional role clearly makes both social and commercial sense.