The Canary Wharf Estate is located in an area of London where many young people do not gain the skills required to move into the job market. As a consequence, Canary Wharf Group needs to create a long-lasting impact through indirect economic value.
This case study is based on the 2015 Sustainability Report by Canary Wharf Group published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link http://database.globalreporting.org/reports/40263/. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.
On the one hand, companies that identify their most important impacts on the environment and their stakeholders (that can hold them back from reaching their objectives), are able to take specific actions to minimize negative impacts and increase their positive impacts. With procurement, the most important benefit companies enjoy, is that they can gain or retain their social license to operate. Additionally, local sourcing can be a strategy to help ensure supply, increase efficiency in a local setting and maintain community relations.
On the other hand, local communities enjoy the benefits gained from this process, such as stability and growth in economic value. When companies support local companies in their supply chain they can indirectly attract additional investment to the local economy and increase employment.
In developing the Canary Wharf Estate, Canary Wharf Group strives to create economic opportunities for the people living in the areas surrounding its operations. In order to generate employment and create opportunities for local businesses in the Canary Wharf Estate, Canary Wharf Group took action to:
- support small and local businesses through a range of initiatives, such as the East London Business Place (ELBP) and the South London Procurement Network (SLPN)
- create jobs for local people
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With this case study you will see:
- Which are the most important impacts (material issues) Canary Wharf Group has identified;
- How Canary Wharf Group proceeded with stakeholder engagement, and
- What actions were taken by Canary Wharf Group to generate employment and create opportunities for local businesses in the Canary Wharf Estate
What are the material issues the company has identified?
In its 2015 Sustainability Report Canary Wharf Group identified a range of material issues, such as GHG emissions, tenant and consumer demand and supply, design and construction impacts. Among these, opening up economic opportunities to people living in the areas surrounding its operations within an area of London where many young people are failing to enter the labour market stands out as a key material issue for the Group.
Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the principle of stakeholder inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:
Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.
Key stakeholders groups Canary Wharf Group engages with:
|Stakeholder Group||Method of engagement|
|· Community Forums
· Corporate Social Responsibility Forums
· Transport Forums
· Security and Business Community Forums
· Recreational, social and cultural activities
|Employees and contractors
|· Staff Consultative Committee meetings
· Employee environmental awareness training
· Health and Safety Forums
· Performance reviews
|· Annual reporting
· Responses to individual queries
|Local government||· Planning Forums
· Planning process
· Advice and response to technical queries
|· Working Groups
· Communication programs
|Tenants, occupiers and retailers||· Sustainability Forums
· Regular meetings on a building-by-building basis
· Retail Tenant Forums
· Canary Wharf PR and Communications Forums
|· Meet the Buyer events
· Business Mentoring and Coaching
· Local Procurement Partnerships
In late 2015 and early 2016 Canary Wharf Group carried out a materiality assessment, to identify material issues. This materiality assessment included research into key issues identified by stakeholders and, also, a materiality workshop that involved important external stakeholders.
What actions were taken by Canary Wharf Group to generate employment and create opportunities for local businesses in the Canary Wharf Estate?
In its 2015 Sustainability Report Canary Wharf Group reports that it took the following actions for generating employment and creating opportunities for local businesses in the Canary Wharf Estate:
- Taking initiatives to support small and local businesses
- Canary Wharf Group helped establish the East London Business Place (ELBP) and the South London Procurement Network (SLPN), securing more than £1.2 billion worth of contracts for local communities. In 2015:
- The Fit for Legacy (FfL) programme helped:
- support 570 SMMEs (small, medium and micro enterprises)
- win £17 million of local contracts
- protect approximately 300 jobs and create 130 new jobs
- The Business Lab:
- helped support over 300 SMMEs through business mentoring and coaching
- gave direct access to apprenticeships and accredited training
- Local SMMEs secured more than £4.3 million in local contracts, through SLPN
- The Ready to Supply the City (RTSTC) programme supported SMMEs in competing for contracts with City-based businesses and their supply chains
- The Fit for Legacy (FfL) programme helped:
- Creating jobs for local people
- Through Skillsmatch and other initiatives almost 10,000 Tower Hamlets residents have been placed into jobs.
- In partnership with the East End Community Foundation (EECF) and Land Securities, Canary Wharf Group created the 20 Fenchurch Street Legacy Fund. The Fund will support, with annual grants of up to £20,000, non-profit organisations, helping people in Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and the City of London return to work.
- Canary Wharf Group donated £50,000 and 46% of schools in Tower Hamlets signed up to Code Club. Through Code Club, primary school children are taught coding. This is in order to gain the digital skills needed to find a job in the fast-growing tech sector.
Which GRI indicators/Standards have been addressed?
The GRI indicators/Standards addressed in this case are:
1) G4-EC8: Significant indirect economic impacts, including the extent of impacts – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 203-2 Significant indirect economic impacts
2) G4-EC9: Proportion of spending on local suppliers at significant locations of operation – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 204-1 Proportion of spending on local suppliers
1) This case study is based on published information by Canary Wharf Group Plc, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original please revert to the following link:
http://group.canarywharf.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/09/canary-wharf-group-annual-sustainability-report-2015.pdf (Canary Wharf Group Plc Sustainability Report 2015)
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